Updated: Feb 6
Protein is an essential macronutrient required for vital aspects of life including:
energy production (as a fuel source)
immune system health
blood sugar balance
hormone + enzyme production
tissue formation + cell repair
But if you've ever tried to calculate your daily protein needs, there's a chance you've come across conflicting information which can make it difficult to know where to start!
How Much Protein is Recommended?
.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is the Recommended Dietary Allowance suggested healthy, but sedentary adults.
For example, a 150 POUND (68 KG) person would require ~55 grams of protein per day.
However, while this may be sufficient for some inactive individuals, many health professionals advocate for a higher RDA due to it meeting only the MINIMUM amount of protein required to prevent deficiency and meet basic needs.
Additionally, the protein RDA also does not take into account important individual factors such as age, height, weight, activity level, etc., often making the RDA more of a “baseline” than total requirement for most.
In fact, some people may need as much as 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day based on their individual needs and goals.
For example, a 150 POUND (68 KG) person would require ~82-136 grams of protein per day.
Recommended protein intakes for active individuals, those looking to gain muscle mass and strength, & those aged 50 and older) are based on activity level, such as follows:
MINIMAL ACTIVITY: 1 gram of protein/kg body weight
MODERATE ACTIVITY: 1.3 gram of protein/kg body weight
INTENSE ACTIVITY: 1.7 gram of protein/kg body weight
Extremely active or athletic individuals may even choose to increase intake to upwards of 2+ grams of protein/kg of body weight. However, chronic intake of ? 2 grams of protein per/kg of body weight may result in abnormalities and is not suggested.
So, How Much Protein Do YOU Really Need per Day?
For the average joe, it's not uncommon to require MORE protein than RDA standards, but LESS protein than recommended more active or older individuals.
With this, you may find it more helpful to instead follow the protein Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) which recommends consuming 10%-35% of your total daily caloric intake from protein.
How to Calculate Daily Calorie (+ Protein) Requirements
Step 1. Decide what percentage of protein (between 10%-35%) you feel is optimal for
Note: The more active you are, the more additional protein your body typically needs.
If you’re unsure, you may find it helpful to aim for 15%-20%.
Step 2. Calculate your estimated daily energy requirements using an online calorie calculator (such as this one HERE).
Note: Often, the more information required (such as daily activity level, workout quantity, etc.) the more accurate the calculation will be.
Step 3. Once calculated, multiply your total daily calories by your desired protein % to determine your estimated protein intake in calories.
For example, if your caloric needs are 2,000 calories/day and you are moderately active, you could use 20% as your protein goal:
2,000 total calories X .20 protein goal = 400 daily calories from protein/day.
TIP: 1 gram of protein = 4 CALORIES
To convert from calories to grams, divide your protein calories by 4.
For example: 400 protein calories divided by 4 grams of protein = 100 grams of protein/day.
Take this with a grain of salt.
With all that being said, please note most people go their entire lives without knowing their daily estimated protein requirements and go on to live long, happy lives!
While tracking intake can be helpful for short periods of time or to help some individuals reach specific goals, it's not intended to be used indefinitely — or AT ALL if it causes you any amount of stress or feelings of unease and/or unenjoyment around food.
This post is intended only to help you become more knowledgeable on the overall importance of dietary protein and offer general information to support that.
Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com for questions, more information, or help figuring out your calorie and/or protein requirements if interested!
Disclaimer: Information found on this site is for informational or educational purposes only; and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.