Protein is among the three main macronutrients found in food that you consume daily. It is found throughout the body—in your muscles, skin, bones, hair, and every other body part or tissue you can think of.
It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. At least 10,000 different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way.
Protein is produced from twenty-plus fundamental building blocks called amino acids. Because we don’t store amino acids, our bodies make them in two different ways: either from scratch or by modifying others.
Nine amino acids—histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine—known as the essential amino acids, must come from food.
Therefore, it is important that you maintain a healthy balance of protein in your diet.
When you have specific goals like — muscle gain or weight loss, the protein requirement in your diet also changes.
Please note that the daily protein intake calculator below is for reference purposes and you must consult your doctor and/or nutritionist before making any drastic changes in your diet.
Daily Protein Intake Calculator
|age should be in 14 to 80 range|
You should take ...... of protein per day
Activity Levels Explained
- You do less than 30 minutes a day of intentional exercise and you don’t do anything that can be considered moderate or vigorous
- The exercise needs to be intentional. Daily common activities like walking your dog, shopping, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, or gardening don’t count as intentional exercise
- You spend most of your day sitting
- You do intentional exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. The baseline for this is walking for 30 minutes at 4mph – this is walking at a brisk pace
- You can also do exercise for a shorter period of time provided the exercise is vigorous. An example of vigorous activity is jogging or resistance training.
- You will also usually spend a large part of your day on your feet
- You do intentional exercise every day that is equivalent to briskly walking for at least one hour and 45 minutes – briskly walking is walking at 4mph
- Alternatively, you can do exercise for a shorter period of time providing the exercise is vigorous. An example of vigorous activity is jogging, weight training, and resistance training i.e. you would need to jog for a minimum of 50 minutes to be regarded as moderately active.
- You will also probably spend a large part of your day doing something physical – examples include being a mailman or waitress
- You do intentional exercise every day that is equal to briskly walking for at least four hours and 15 minutes – briskly walking is walking at 4mph
- You can also do exercise for a shorter period of time providing the exercise is vigorous – an example of vigorous activity is jogging and resistance training – you would need to jog for a minimum of two hours a day to be considered very active.
- You will also probably spend most of your day doing something physical – examples include carpenters or bike messengers
Important facts about protein
- Approximately 18-20% of the body weight is due to proteins.
- There are about 100,000 different types of protein in the human body. The lifespan of most proteins totals two days or less
- Protein helps make a meal more satiating and makes us feel less hungry, helping us maintain a healthy weight.
- Hair and nail are made up of a protein called keratin and these have sulfur bonds. More curly the hair the more sulfur links they have.
- Protein provides about 10 to 35 percent of the calories needed every day.
- High protein intake in people with kidney disease may cause difficulty in eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.
- Some high-protein diets may have high-fat content that can also increase your cholesterol level.
- High-protein diet sometimes may replace carbohydrate intake leading to nutritional deficiencies and causing health problems like constipation.
- Plant proteins may not have some of the essential amino acids but they may be healthier than animal-based proteins as they contain less fat, no cholesterol, and plenty of dietary fiber.
How much protein do I need?
The amount of protein that your body needs daily is dependent on many conditions, including overall energy intake, growth of the individual, and physical activity level.
It is often calculated based on body weight, as a percentage of total caloric intake (10-35%), or based on age alone. 0.8g/kg of body weight is a commonly cited recommended dietary allowance (RDA).
This value is the minimum recommended value to preserve basic nutritional requirements, but consuming more protein, up to a certain point, may be beneficial, depending on the sources of the protein.
The recommended range of protein intake is between 0.8 g/kg and 1.8 g/kg of body weight, dependent on the many factors listed above.
People who are highly active, or who want to build more muscle generally consume more protein.
Some sources suggest consuming between 1.8 to 2 g/kg for those who are highly active.
The amount of protein a person should consume, to date, is not an exact science, and each individual should consult a specialist, be it a dietitian, doctor, or personal trainer, to help calculate their custom needs.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein, age-based
|Age Group||Protein Needed (grams/day)|
|Age 1 – 3||13|
|Age 4 – 8||19|
|Age 9 – 13||34|
|Age 14 – 18 (Girls)||46|
|Age 14 – 18 (Boys)||52|
|Age 19 – 70+ (Women)||46|
|Age 19 – 70+ (Men)||56|
Extra Protein Requirements for Pregnancy and Lactation
(grams / day)
|Pregnancy trimester 1||1||375||0.04|
|Pregnancy trimester 2||10||1,200||0.11|
|Pregnancy trimester 3||31||1,950||0.23|
|Lactation First 6 months||19||2,800||0.11|
|Lactation After 6 months||13||1,925||0.11|
Protein consumption has large variation based on geography and demographics too. The kind of diet one consumes has cultural aspects and it may be deficient or adequate in protein.
For example, globally, protein consumption is on the rise, averaging around 68 gm per person per day. India has the lowest average protein consumption (at 47 gm per person per day) as compared to other Asian countries as well as developed nations.
Iceland at around 141 gm per person has one of the highest protein consumption per capita.