According to the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, the average person needs 0.32 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That means a 180 pound person would need to take in about 58 grams of protein every day.
But that's not the final word, there are several other variables. If you're a vegetarian, the number goes up. If you engage in endurance training, the number goes up. If you lift weights, the number goes up.
Enter your weight in the field below and we'll calculate how many grams of protein you need daily, based on your lifestyle. A full explanation of each number is provided below the calculator.
If more than one category fits, choose the HIGHER one. For example, if you engage in endurance activities AND strength activities, you should eat the minimum grams specified for strength training because that's higher.
About the Numbers
ENDURANCE TRAINING (running, jogging, swimming, biking, etc.) can dramatically increase the required amounts. .55 to .64 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. So now that 180 pound person should take in 99 to 115 grams of protein every day.
STRENGTH TRAINING (moving weights) bumps it up even further. .73 to .78 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. In this category that 180 pound person would need 131 to 140 grams of protein each day.
ENDURANCE &TRENGTH TRAINING is the same as strength training. .73 to .78 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. In this category that 180 pound person would need 131 to 140 grams of protein each day.
If you're a VEGETARIAN it is suggested you increase your protein intake above suggested levels by another 10%. The increase is because plant proteins are considered lower quality and they don't have as many of the essential amino acids that animal proteins do. The 10% increase is to make up for those deficiencies. (There is one exception. Soy protein does contain all the essential amino acids.)
PREGNANT WOMEN generally need an extra 10 grams of protein per day above suggested levels.
WOMEN WHO ARE NURSING typically need 15 grams a day extra the first 6 months, dropping to 12 grams a day extra the second six months.
Supplement companies suggest much higher levels of protein consumption, from 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Unfortunately, these higher levels are based on anecdotal evidence and not controlled clinical trials.
How much protein is too much?
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine suggest that if more than 35% of you total daily calories are protein, you're probably eating too much. Excess protein can't be stored in the body (like fat and carbs) so eating too much may put a strain on the kidneys and liver.