Determining Your Protein Needs
How Does The Protein Calculator Work
Our calculator uses formulas to determine daily protein intake based on individual variables such as the ones mentioned above.
But before it can spew out your protein needs, it must first determine your recommended daily calorie needs. To do this, it uses the Harris-Benedict equation to calculate your basal metabolic rate or the number of calories your body needs at rest to sustain basic life functions . BMR is determined by your gender, weight, height, and age.
Then, the calculator factors in how many calories you burn from daily activities to determine your recommended maintenance calories, or calories needed to maintain your bodyweight. To do this, it uses an activity multiplier formula of which weve provided below using bullet points.
Based On Lean Body Mass
An additional method of figuring out how much protein you need takes into account activity level and lean body mass. Some experts feel that this is a more accurate technique since lean body mass requires more protein for maintenance than fatty tissue.
Lean body mass is the amount of bodyweight that is not fat. It includes bone, water, muscle, organs, and other tissues. There are different ways to determine your lean body mass, but the easiest is to subtract your body fat from your total body mass.
First, you’ll need to determine your body fat percent. There are different ways to get the number, including body fat testing with skin calipers, BIA scales, or DEXA scans. You can also estimate body fat with this calculator.
Next, calculate your total body fat in pounds. Multiply your body weight by the body fat percentage. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and your fat percentage is 30, then 45 of those pounds would be fat .
Lastly, calculate lean body mass.Subtract your body fat weight from your total body weight. Using the same example, the lean body mass would be 105 .
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How To Determine How Much Protein You Need
This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS. Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 118,352 times.
Protein is used by just about every part of the body, from the individual cells to the immune system. It’s also responsible for building new muscle tissue. Knowing that your body needs protein is good information, but knowing how much protein you need can help you achieve a well-balanced diet and a healthier body.
Can I Eat Too Much Protein
Now that Ive drilled it into your head that you should be eating plenty of protein, a natural question will arise:
How much protein is too much protein?
Weve got good news for you: as long as youve got a healthy liver and kidneys, you can eat lots of protein with no ill effects.
As Examine points out in its research on protein:
Higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people,**
**Of course, if you have specific kidney or medical issues with regards to protein intake, PLEASE go with your doctors recommendation for required protein consumption!
Go ahead and aim for the high end from our protein calculator.
One final note: if our current recommendation for protein is a lot higher than what you normally do, ease into it.
Dont go from minimal protein intake to woofing down steak and eggs while chugging a protein shake.
Studies have found that immediately doubling protein intake can have negative effects.
Increase your intake gradually, a little more each day, and youll be fine!
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How To Calculate The Rda For Protein
The averages discussed above are meant to provide general guidance, but for information tailored to you, it is a good idea to learn how to calculate your RDA for protein. If this seems overwhelming, consider speaking to a registered dietitian who can help figure out how much protein you need
For adults over the age of 19, in order to calculate your RDA for protein, follow these quick steps:
/ 2.2 = weight in kilograms
x 0.8 = RDA for protein
x 0.36 = RDA for protein
How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day
Protein is essential to good health. The very origin of the word from the Greek protos, meaning “first” reflects proteins top-shelf status in human nutrition. You need it to put meat on your bones and to make hair, blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and more. Its common for athletes and bodybuilders to wolf down extra protein to bulk up. But the message the rest of us often get is that our daily protein intake is too high.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, its the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.
To determine your daily protein intake, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator. For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds woman and who is sedentary , that translates into 53 grams of protein a day.
But use of the RDA to determine how much protein you need daily has actually caused a lot of confusion. “Theres a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,” says Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “People in general think we all eat too much protein.”
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Calculating Your Protein Needs
While the above guidelines give you a good sense of where your protein intake should fall, calculating the amount of daily protein that’s right for you can help you fine-tune this further.
To determine your protein needs in grams , first, calculate your weight in kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.
Next, decide how many grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is appropriate for you.
- Use the low end of the range if you are in good health and are sedentary: 0.8g per kg.
- Use a higher number if you are under stress, pregnant, recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.
Then multiply your weight in kg times the number of protein grams per day.
154-pound male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights, but is not training at an elite level:
- 154 lb/2.2 = 70 kg
- 70 kg x 1.7 = 119 grams protein per day
Protein Intake How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day
Few nutrients are as important as protein. Not getting enough of it will affect your health and body composition.
However, opinions regarding how much protein you need vary.
Most official nutritional organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.
The DRI is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This amounts to:
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
This may be enough to prevent deficiency, but the amount you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, and overall health.
This article examines the optimal amounts of protein and how lifestyle factors like weight loss, muscle building, and activity levels factor in.
Proteins are the main building blocks of your body. Theyre used to make muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and various molecules that serve many important functions.
Proteins consist of smaller molecules called amino acids, which link together like beads on a string. These linked amino acids form long protein chains, which then fold into complex shapes.
Your body produces some of these amino acids, but you must obtain others known as essential amino acids via your diet.
Protein is not only about quantity but also quality.
If youre eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, youre likely getting enough protein.
Protein is important when it comes to losing weight.
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What Are The Best Sources Of Protein
There are a lot of good quality protein sources to choose from, and we recommend that the majority of your protein intake comes from these foods. We recommend that you focus on quality before quantity as clean, healthy sources are going to be the best option.
Some example of good quality protein sources include:
- Grass-fed meats
- Soy protein
- Low-fat dairy products
- Nuts/nut butters
- Beans and legumes
- Protein supplements
How Much Protein Should I Eat To Lose Weight
If youre looking to lose weight, eating plenty of protein will be an important part of the equation.
Why is protein important for weight loss?
Think of it this way: protein is the only macronutrient you dont store.
- Carbs are stored as muscle glycogen.
- Fat is stored as body fat.
Your body can use either as a fuel source while its in a calorie deficit.
Not so for protein.
Meaning most of the protein in your body is currently doing a job: building muscle tissue, making enzymes, strengthening bones, etc.
If you dont eat enough protein, your body will turn towards your muscles for its needs.
So if youre not careful when youre losing weight, you could lose muscle AND fat.
Obviously, from a health and physique standpoint, this is not good.
Thats why you need to eat plenty of protein and strength train when youre in a calorie deficit so you lose fat while retaining your hard-earned muscle mass.
The other important point about protein and fat loss: protein will help you stay full.
If youre trying to lose weight, keeping your hunger at bay will be critical. Luckily, studies have found that those on a high-protein diet tend to eat fewer calories overall.
If you cant seem to lose weight, start eating plenty of protein!
Are you currently on a weight-loss mission?
We can help!
Here are some resources to get you going:
You can also download a Free 10 Level Diet Guide too when you join the Rebellion and sign up in the box below:
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Daily Protein Requirement Guideline
The generally recommended daily protein intake is 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight for adolescents and 0.8 grams per kg of body weight for adults . You can use our protein requirement calculator to do the math for your weight with a high accuracy. This is a minimum that you should not fall below, while the protein calculator here can estimate how much protein you will need to maintain a specific diet. If the recommendation produced is lower than the recommended minimum, then you may need to reconsider your diet, especially if you plan to adhere to it for a longer period of time.
A balanced approach would be to eat about 25% of your calories in the form of proteins. However, each person is different – with a specific health condition and fitness goals and your diet should be decided on accordingly, taking all factors into consideration.
For building muscle mass and for maintaining muscle mass through a positive muscle protein balance, an overall daily protein intake in the range of 1.42.0 g protein/kg body weight/day is sufficient for most exercising individuals, according to a 2017 critical review performed by the International Society of Sports Nutrition . In the same statement they posit that “higher protein intakes may have positive effects on body composition in resistance-trained individuals “. Additionally, the report suggests an optimal intake schedule of several doses of protein spread 3-4h apart evenly during the day.
How We Calculated Your Protein Intake
Theres a difference between avoiding a nutrient deficiency and eating the optimal amount of a nutrient.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations daily value for protein is 50 grams, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, which is 10 percent of your total calories. A protein deficiency can cause muscle wasting and a greater risk of bone fractures, among other issues.
But if you want to maximize the amount of muscle you can build and minimize the amount of fat youll gain? Or if youre eating in a calorie deficit, if you want to maximize muscle retention and fat loss, then just about every expert and non-expert will recommend anywhere from 0.5 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Heres what the data says on setting your own intake.
Whats A High Quality Protein
One often hears of proteins being separated into categories of high or low quality. This refers to the sources content of amino acids, the building blocks of protein: animal sources contain all nine essential amino acids, meaning the ones the body cant make on its own. Vegan sources of protein typically dont, with the exceptions of soy, quinoa, buckwheat, and a few others.
Generally, people worry about this more than they should. Research suggests that if youre eating a varied diet, youll effortlessly get all your amino acids throughout the day, which is more important than getting them all at every meal. Its also easy to combine plant-based proteins like legumes and rice, an extremely popular combination throughout the world and this forms a complete protein on its own.
How To Use Our Daily Protein Calculator
This is an instruction on how to use our daily protein calculator:
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Guidelines For Special Populations
Many sources that suggest protein guidelines provide numbers for adult men and women. But there are certain populations that may need more or less protein to manage a medical condition or facilitate growth.
- Pregnant and lactating people need more protein than people who are not pregnant .
- Older adults need more protein than middle-aged adults .
- People with liver or kidney disease need to decrease protein intake .
Consult a doctor or dietitian to determine your ideal daily protein goal.
Food Sources Of Proteins
Dietary sources of complete proteins are mainly eggs, milk, meat, fish, and poultry. Eggs should be noted for providing the optimal mixture of essential amino acids. Here are the protein ratings of some common foods, reflecting how good of a source they are:
As you can see, both animals and plants produce proteins containing essential amino acids, but whereas animal sources usually provide a complete amino acids mix, individual vegetables usually offer only a limited set of amino acids, therefore food variety is more important when it comes to plant sources. There is no difference in the same amino acid, if it is derived from an animal or vegetable source. Reliance on animal sources for protein is associated with higher intake of cholesterol and fatty acids.
Despite being key for muscle building, simply eating a lot of protein will not automatically result in muscle gains, so don’t opt for a diet with a very high protein percentage when using the protein calculator thinking that you will become the Hulk. In fact, proteins that are not immediately needed will be transformed or discarded. Consuming too much proteins is not harmless, too, as this would put a strain on your liver and kidneys, which will struggle to process and excrete the excess.