Health & Fitness Calculators
Protein Calculator

Protein Calculator

Relying on certain statistics and recommendations, this free protein calculator predicts how much protein a person needs each day to be healthy.


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American Dietetic Association (ADA) At least 80 - 144 grams/day
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 64 - 224 grams/day (10-35% of daily caloric intake)
World Health Organization safe lower limit 67 grams/day

Table of Contents

  1. What exactly are proteins?
  2. How much protein should I consume?
  3. Protein RDA (recommended dietary allowance) depending on age
  4. Pregnancy and Lactation Protein Requirements
  5. Protein-rich foods
  6. Protein content in typical foods

Protein Calculator

The Protein Calculator computes how much protein adults need daily to be healthy. Children, physically active people, and pregnant and nursing mothers need more protein. You may also use the calculator to track protein consumption for people with renal illness, liver disease, diabetes, or other disorders where protein intake is essential.

What exactly are proteins?

Proteins, alongside fats and carbohydrates, are among the three primary macronutrients that supply energy to the human body. Proteins are also responsible for a significant percentage of the work performed in cells. They are required to construct and operate tissues and organs and their regulation.

Proteins are composed of amino acids, which are essential building blocks for the body’s healthy functioning and form the foundation of body tissues. There are 20 different amino acids that can be incorporated into proteins, and the specific sequence in which these amino acids are arranged determines the structure and function of each protein.

The human body is capable of synthesizing certain amino acids internally; however, there exist nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. These essential amino acids must be obtained through one's diet. A deficiency in any of these essential amino acids can have severe health consequences, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions. Foods that are considered complete proteins provide all nine essential amino acids and are crucial for a balanced diet. Such sources include both animal-derived foods (like meat, dairy products, eggs, and fish) and certain plant-based options (such as soybeans, quinoa, and buckwheat).

Specialists classify proteins according to the role they perform in the body. The following are some examples of proteins:

  • Enzyme: proteins forming new molecules and many chemical reactions occurring throughout the body.
  • Antibody: proteins attaching to foreign particles such as viruses and bacteria to defend the body.
  • Structural component: proteins functioning as cell construction blocks, allowing the body to move.
  • Transport/storage: proteins transporting chemicals around the body
  • Messenger: proteins conveying messages throughout the body to sustain body processes.

As you can see, proteins play various crucial roles throughout the body. Therefore, it is critical to give adequate nourishment to the body to maintain protein levels.

How much protein should I consume?

The amount of protein the human body needs daily depends on various factors, including total caloric intake, individual development, and exercise habits. It is frequently assessed depending on body weight, as a proportion of total calorie intake (10-35%), or just on age.

0.8 g/kg body weight is the generally recommended dietary allowance (RDA). This is the lowest recommended value to meet basic nutritional needs. Protein consumption needs to be between 0.8 g/kg and 1.8 g/kg body weight, depending on the parameters described above.

People who are physically active or want to gain muscle need to ingest extra protein. Some sources recommend consuming 1.8g/kg to 2 g/kg body weight of protein for highly physically active persons.

Scientists have not yet determined the exact amount of protein a person should consume. It is helpful to visit an expert, such as a nutritionist, doctor, or personal trainer, to assess the individual needs.

Protein RDA (recommended dietary allowance) depending on age

Age and gender Protein Needed (grams per 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

Pregnancy and Lactation Protein Requirements

Time period Safe Intake (grams per day) Additional Energy Requirement (kJ/day)
Pregnancy trimester 1 71 375
Pregnancy trimester 2 71 1,200
Pregnancy trimester 3 71 1,950
Lactation First 6 months 61 2,800
Lactation After 6 months 58 1,925

The "Additional Energy Requirement" refers to the amount of extra energy that a person, specifically a pregnant or lactating woman, needs beyond their normal caloric intake to support the physiological changes and additional demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes significant changes that require extra energy. This includes energy to support the growing fetus, placenta, and related structures, as well as the increased workload on the mother's body systems. The additional kilojoules (kJ) per day are meant to cover this increased energy expenditure. Kilojoules are a unit of energy and are often used interchangeably with calories, though they are different: 1 calorie equals approximately 4.184 kilojoules.

For lactation, the additional energy is needed for the synthesis of breast milk. Producing milk is an energy-consuming process, and the body requires extra calories to ensure that there is enough energy available both to make the milk and to keep the mother healthy.

To sum up, the "Additional Energy Requirement" in the context of pregnancy and lactation is the additional amount of energy that should be consumed to maintain both the mother's health and the health and development of the baby. It is usually calculated based on the average energy costs of pregnancy and lactation and then translated into an additional daily intake recommendation.

Protein-rich foods

You can meet the protein consumption requirements by eating a variety of dietary compositions. Many individuals get a significant part of their protein from meat and dairy. Still, several plant-based protein choices are also available.

To reach the RDA and have a varied diet rich in nutrients, a person should ideally eat a wide range of meat, dairy, and plant-based meals. Eating meat and dairy helps you reach your RDA for protein, but overeating can harm your health. It is possible to gain adequate protein while adhering to some nutritional limitations you may have.

A complete protein contains sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids present in the human diet. If possible, it is recommended to consume a variety of complete proteins. Complete protein-rich foods or meals include:

Examples of meat/dairy

  • Chicken breast
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lean beef
  • Milk
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Turkey breast

Examples of vegan/plant-based foods

  • Beans and rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Edamame beans
  • Hemp and chia seeds
  • Hummus and pita
  • Peanut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Spirulina
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are excellent protein sources. Incomplete proteins are present in nuts and seeds, legumes, grains, and vegetables. There is nothing improper with incomplete proteins, and many nutritious, high-protein diets contain incomplete proteins.

Suppose you consume a sufficient variety of incomplete proteins to get all the amino acids you need. In that case, there is no need to consume foods with complete proteins specifically. In fact, for example, some high-fat red meats, which are a common source of complete protein, can be unhealthy.

Below are some examples of high-protein foods that are not complete proteins:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chia seeds
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Green peas
  • Grapefruit
  • Lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds

You can consume several foods to fulfill an individual’s RDA of protein. The above examples attempt to present a list of healthier protein options.

Protein content in typical foods

Food Products Protein Amount
Nuts (1 cup/92 g) 20 g
Hamburger (McDonald Medium) 20 g
Seafood (2 oz) 16 g
Corn (1 cup/166 g) 16 g
Dry Bean (1 cup/92 g) 16 g
Meat (1 slice / 2 oz) 14 g
Pizza (1 slice/107 g) 12 g
Milk (1 cup/8 oz) 8 g
Bread (1 slice/64 g) 8 g
Egg (1 large/50 g) 6 g
Rice (1 cup/195 g) 5 g
Fruits and Vegetables (1 cup) 0-1 g

Balance is vital in everything, and the examples above contain healthier sources of protein that should be consumed in moderation.