Do you know how much protein you need each day, whether you exercise or not? How do you know if you're reaching that daily goal? Don’t worry, most people don’t either--so we’ve broken out the steps for personalized nutrition below.
Why Calculate Your Daily Protein
You need daily vitamins and minerals, right? Well it’s the same for protein. Whether you’re working toward a fitness or weight goal, or sitting at a desk or in bed all day, you still need to get your daily dose of protein. That’s because the amino acids in protein are your whole body's building blocks and much more! But do you ever really notice how much protein you're getting in each meal? Or know when you've reached your daily needs? It's ok, you're not alone.
Plant-Based Eaters and Athletes Have Higher Protein Needs
If you’re one of the nearly 23 percent of people in America who follow a vegetarian or vegan-based diet, you probably already know that going meatless means tons of health and environmental benefits. But did you know that if you're on a plant-based diet, you require slightly more protein than your meat-eating peers? Vegans and vegetarians typically need 10% more protein than those on meat-eating diets. Here's 4 reasons why.
Whether running long distance, lifting weights or playing a sport, athletes and pro athletes use up more energy than the average person and require additional nutrients including protein to help maintain muscle and recover from intense physical activity. The American College of Sports Medicine and Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on training (more on this below).
How to Figure Out and Fill Your Protein Gap
If you aren't getting enough daily protein, then you have a protein "gap". Here's how to figure out how big that gap might be and how to fill it.
#1 NEED Calculate how much protein you personally need each day by filling out the form below. Remember, these numbers are estimates and you should plan to add 10% more if you're mostly a plant-based eater. If you're an athlete or have a strenuously active job, make sure to switch it from "General recommendations" to "Recommendations for Sport" when using the calculator.
Please note, the number generated by WHO/FAO only takes body weight into account and does not take physical activity levels into account. It shows the minimum amount of protein needed per day for general health. The USDA number takes both weight and physical activity into account and recommends a range of protein. You should aim to get at minimum what the WHO recommends and go on the higher end of the range of what USDA recommends if you're are very strenuously active.
#2 EAT Calculate how much protein you eat on an average day. Check out this list of common protein sources and then jot down how much protein you're getting from each meal and snack on a typical day. Alternately, you can use an app* to plug in your typical daily meals and snacks and auto-generate your daily protein intake. An estimate is OK.
#3 GAP Calculate your protein gap (Subtract amount #2 from amount #1)
#4 FILL Make up the difference! At 15g per serving, our plant protein powders are an easy and convenient way to fill your protein gap. (Scoop as little or as much protein as needed.) Also, it's OK to go over your daily needs, as long as you aren't going excessively over and don't have any kidney problems. If you do have kidney problems, please talk to your health care professional before adding a protein supplement to your diet.
• My FitnessPal
• Protein Tracker
• Muscle Gainer
• MyNetDiary PRO
• Fitocracy Macros
• MyPlate Calorie Tracker