Protein Calculator: How Much Protein Do You Need?

How much protein should you eat per day to build muscle, or to keep your lean mass when losing fat?

Use our calculator to find your daily protein requirement!

Protein Calculator:

Check the buttons to have your protein need calculated!

Protein Calculator
Unit of weight:
Your current goal:
Your current body fat level:
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Protein intake

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Protein per meal

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g of protein per meal

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How Does This Calculator Work?

This calculator is based on training studies and meta-analyses investigating the effect of different protein intakes on body composition.

When you eat sufficient amounts of protein, you build more muscle while minimizing fat gain. On a weight-loss diet, a high protein intake makes you lose more fat and retain more muscle mass.

Here are the assumptions the calculator makes, including the sources:

  • Muscle Gain: 1.6–2.2 g/kg. A daily protein intake of at least 1.6 g/kg is probably enough to maximize your muscle growth. If you are already very muscular or lean, you might benefit from increasing your protein intake up to 2.2 g/kg.1 2
  • Fat Loss: 1.8–2.7 g/kg. When you are in a caloric deficit, a high protein intake makes you lose more fat and keep more of your muscle mass. It also maintains a high resting metabolism; that is, your resting energy expenditure). Aim for 1.8 g/kg. If you are very muscular, lean, or in a large caloric deficit, a protein intake of up to 2.7 g/kg might be beneficial.3 4
  • Overweight/Obese: 1.2–1.5 g/kg. Because your lean mass primarily determines your protein requirement, your protein intake relative to your whole-body weight decreases if you are overweight or obese. A protein intake of 1.2 g/kg is likely enough to maximize muscle growth in a caloric balance. During weight-loss, a protein intake of 1.2 g/kg is likely enough to maximize both your fat-loss and muscle retention. Up to 1.5 g/kg might be beneficial if you have a large muscle mass or are in a large caloric deficit.5 6 7 8

Note that these numbers are minimum recommendations and that nothing bad happens if you exceed them, as long as you still hit your other nutritional and caloric goals. As of yet, there is no known harmful upper limit for protein intake.

More Reading:

References

  1. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Mar;52(6):376-384. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults.
  2. J Nutr. 2017 May;147(5):850-857. Indicator Amino Acid-Derived Estimate of Dietary Protein Requirement for Male Bodybuilders on a Nontraining Day Is Several-Fold Greater than the Current Recommended Dietary Allowance.
  3. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S29-38. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation.
  4. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Nov 1;28(6):580-585. Effects of High Versus Low Protein Intake on Body Composition and Maximal Strength in Aspiring Female Physique Athletes Engaging in an 8-Week Resistance Training Program.
  5. Obes Facts. 2012;5(3):460-83. Prevalence, pathophysiology, health consequences and treatment options of obesity in the elderly: a guideline.
  6. Nutr Rev. 2016 Mar; 74(3): 210–224. Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  7. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):260-74. Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: a meta-regression.
  8. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1281-98. Effects of energy-restricted high-protein, low-fat compared with standard-protein, low-fat diets: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.