Protein Calculator

This protein intake calculator has been designed to help you find your optimal protein level based on your goals and activities.

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It was created by me, Sports Nutritionist James LeBaigue MSc. I have a Masters Degree in Sport and Exercise Nutrition and am a registered Nutritionist on the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) as part of the British Dietetic Association.

I coach amateur and professional clients of all levels, and specialise in weight loss, triathlon and Ironman events.

With this calculator I have taken all kinds of sports and goals into consideration, along with the latest studies on protein, to ensure the numbers suggested for you are accurate and optimal.

How I created the optimal protein ranges and calorie count

To set the ranges of protein for this calculator, I have used the most recent scientific evidence, as well as data from working hands-on with my clients.

The same goes for the minimum amount of protein needed to avoid protein deficiency.

Protein intake is usually based on grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is because, in general, the heavier someone is, the more muscle mass they have – and this requires more protein to maintain it.

So why isn’t it the same for everyone?

Well, at higher levels of body fat this artificially skews the protein levels and means that an erroneously (and therefore not particularly useful) high protein intake is suggested.

My calculator is different to others as it also uses a BMI cap to give a more realistic protein value in line with calorific and physical requirements.

Whilst someone’s total daily calorie requirements might be slightly greater if they are overweight compared to someone in a healthy weight range, their protein needs are not significantly higher and this is taken into account in the calculator.

The American College of Sports Medicine – Optimal Protein Intake For Muscle Maintenance

Expert Review Published Article in “Nutrients” – Current Perspectives on Dietary Protein

British Nutrition Foundation – Macronutrient Daily Recommended Values

Important Note

It is important to note that it can sometimes be difficult to reach the highest levels of the protein ranges recommended, either as an omnivore or someone following a vegetarian plan.

This is especially true at lower calories levels, and without using supplements like protein shakes. However, do not fret about this – even getting close to the lowest levels recommended in this calculator will stand you in great stead!

And a final note on calories. Even if your recommended calories are below 1300kcals, it is rare I would ever suggest that to a client, especially to begin with. You would likely be hungry, grumpy and lacking energy with anything lower than 1300kcals per day.

Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more details.

If you (or someone you know) needs high-protein vegetarian food ideas you can sign up for our newsletter here. We send pretty awesome stuff.

💡Why is it useful?

A protein intake calculator can help anyone to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain a healthy weight by understanding how much protein is needed for each goal.

Since the human body does not store protein in the same way it stores carbs and fats, ensuring a consistent intake of this macronutrient is vital.

Adequate protein consumption supports the repair and growth of lean body mass (muscle building).
It also plays a crucial role in the structure and function of cells, and is involved in numerous other physiological processes.

Spreading out protein intake over the day is also shown to have positive effects.

A calculator, fruits and measuring tape on top of a diet plan sheet | Hurry The Food Up

🏋️‍♂️Protein requirements for different individuals (athletes, sedentary individuals, etc.)

Individual protein needs can fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors, such as one’s level of physical activity, age, and specific health goals.

Athletes, for instance, may need between 1.4 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to support the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, with some studies suggesting even higher intakes for those involved in resistance training.

In contrast, sedentary individuals typically require less protein, although it still remains a crucial part of their diet to maintain muscle mass and ensure proper bodily functions.

Pregnant women, older adults, and those recovering from illnesses may also have increased protein needs.

💪Health & fitness goals – benefits of meeting protein requirements

Your unique fitness goals and your exercise routine also significantly impact your daily protein needs.
Protein is crucial for muscle development, recovery post-exercise, and as a factor for increasing satiety, which helps manage weight.

In terms of body composition, a protein-rich diet can be a powerful ally in weight management by enhancing feelings of fullness and helping to preserve lean muscle mass during weight loss.

If muscle gain is your objective, consuming higher amounts of protein can be beneficial, and endurance athletes may also benefit from increased protein to aid in recovery.

This calculator differentiates allows you to choose whether your target is to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain it.

Various protein sources in a muscular arm outline | Hurry The Food Up

🍽️Daily protein intake recommendations

The general benchmark for protein intake for healthy adults is at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight daily.

For more optimal results most people will actually want 1.2g – 2.2g per kilogram of body weight, depending on their goals.

This calculator will take this into account for you, along with your goals, and will provide you with a minimum and maximum target you should aim for. Being anywhere in the range is absolutely fine.

Although unlikely, protein deficiency is also possible, and this calculator also shows you the absolute bare minimum protein you should aim for every day.

Please note that the protein intake calculator provided on this website is designed to serve as an informative guide only. While it is based on scientific principles and research, the results offered by this tool should not be interpreted as personalised nutrition or medical advice. Every individual’s health and nutritional needs are unique, and many factors can influence these requirements.

This calculator does not account for specific health conditions, dietary restrictions, or medical complications that may affect your protein needs. We strongly recommend consulting with a registered sports nutritionist, dietitian, or healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or specific dietary needs.

The information provided by this calculator is intended to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and their existing healthcare providers. Use of this calculator and any resulting recommendations are at the user’s own risk.

⚠️Health concerns with high protein diets

With regards to the consumption of high levels of protein, there is currently no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a “high protein” diet.

Typically, intakes in the range of 1.4-2.2g/kg (0.64g-1g/lb) of body weight are considered high.

Multiple studies* do not suggest any adverse effects from consuming protein within this range, with the exception of individuals with specific health conditions like chronic kidney disease.

For these individuals, a tailored protein intake might be necessary upon medical advice.

*Study 1 (High protein diet), study 2 (One-year crossover), study 3 (safety).

Here is a minimum of protein to aim for each day.

🥚Sources of Protein

There are many ways to get protein. Vegetarians and vegans may have a slightly tougher time than omnivores as many of the top sources of protein are meat.

But never fear, there is a high-protein meal plan for vegetarians right here!

🥩Animal-based protein sources

Animal-based protein sources include meats like beef, pork, and lamb, as well as poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.

These sources are rich in essential amino acids, which are termed ‘complete’ proteins because they supply the body with the full range of amino acids required for the various physiological functions.

  • Eggs: Often referred to as the gold standard for protein, eggs provide an optimal mix of essential amino acids, and their versatility in cooking makes them a popular choice. Interestingly, the German word for protein is ‘Eiweiss’ (egg white).
  • Poultry: Chicken and turkey, especially the breast portions, are high in protein content and low in fat, favored by those aiming for weight loss or muscle building.
  • Fish: Varieties such as salmon, tuna, and shrimp not only offer heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids but are also rich in protein.
  • Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt offer an ample amount of protein, with options like Greek yogurt providing a creamy addition that’s both high in protein and probiotics.

These animal-based foods are convenient and can be easily incorporated into meals to meet daily protein requirements.

🌱Plant-based protein sources (vegan)

For those following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or who simply wish to reduce animal product consumption, there are ample plant-based protein sources available:

  • Legumes: A category that includes beans, peas, and lentils, legumes are a hearty source of protein and fiber.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Options like almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds present not only protein but also beneficial fats and vitamins.
  • Whole Grains: Quinoa and whole wheat are grains that contain a fair amount of protein per serving.
  • Meat Alternatives: Tofu, tempeh, and products like Beyond Meat cater to those looking for high-protein options that mimic meat in texture and flavor.
  • Protein-Rich Vegetables: Spinach, kale, and broccoli contain higher protein content relative to other vegetables and offer numerous additional health benefits.

A list of vegetarian protein foods can also be found here.

Animal-based and plant-based protein sources | Hurry The Food Up

✅Complete vs. incomplete proteins

Understanding the difference between complete and incomplete proteins is key when planning a nutritious diet:

  • Complete Proteins: Commonly found in animal products, these contain all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Foods such as fish, eggs, and dairy products are prime examples. Soy products are also usually fortified to include all amino acids and therefore become a complete protein source.
  • Incomplete Proteins: Typically sourced from plants, these may be deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. However, when different plant foods are eaten together, such as rice and beans, they can provide a complete amino acid profile.

📊Keeping track of protein intake through food journals or apps

You can monitor protein intake through the use of food journals or mobile apps. You can also follow meal plans like this.

It is also worth noting you will actually require an even higher amount of protein if you are over 70.

Typical protein amounts in regular foods. More foods can be found here, from the US Department of Agriculture.

High Protein Recipe Ideas

Aubergine and Lentil Moussaka

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

High Protein Omelette

Blueberry Power Smoothie

Scrambled Eggs with Cheese

Healthy Mac and Cheese

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Pizza Pancakes