Calories and Survival

How Many Calories do You Need to Survive?

We hear a lot of theories about how many calories a person actually needs to survive. It’s a concerning factor in how much food you need to store in your survival supply, so we’ve decided to get down to the bottom of it.

According to the US Army Survival Handbook, a person needs between 600 and 1,000 calories a day in order to live. Where you stand in this range depends on a few things. If you are less active and able to reserve your energy, you can get away with eating closer to 600 calories, whereas if you are very active and putting out more energy than you’re taking in, obviously you will be needing more calories to power your efforts.

A lot of people think you need at least 2,000 calories a day. This is true for a normal daily  routine, for complete wellness with a good amount of physical activity. However, you can survive on much less, and a lot of people do.

Understanding the average amount of calories you burn in a day can help you figure out how many calories your body needs, and therefore, how much food you should be storing in case of an emergency. There are three factors that attribute to how many calories your body burns:

Activity: The energy you put out through physical exertion has a great effect on how fast and how much you burn. This is part of why we recommend that you stay inside and hide out until the storm passes. Save all the energy you can, your body needs it in order to survive. If you have to be active in an emergency, minimize the effort, and remember that doing so can burn up to 50% of your daily calories. We encourage you to reserve all that you can and lay low.

Metabolism: Calories play a vital part in the working system that keeps your body going. Most of the nourishment you get goes to pumping your heart, steadying your temperature and working your brain. Even when you’re sleeping your body needs something to run on. The majority of the calories you take in will go to maintaining your body’s wellness, up to 70%. Some people have faster while others have slower metabolisms, this plays a part in where you fall in the range of necessary calories .

Digestion: Digestion doesn’t really account for much, but does typically use up 5-10% of your calories.

The comfort of consuming thousands of calories in a day is enticing, but it’s important to realize that in an emergency your main priority should be prolonging your rations as best you can and preserving energy, rather than trying to stay in routine with normal non-emergency life. Keep all of this in mind and know your specific metabolism, digestion and activity levels to help determine how many calories you want to have stored for long-term, in case of an emergency. While you might not need 2,500 calories a day, it is still important to prepare with a little more than you need to safeguard your survival.