How to calculate how much protein you need

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South Africans eat up to 81 grams of protein a day while Americans and the British eat over 100 grams a day.  While according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention the recommended daily average for protein is between 46 and 56 grams.  But how much do you really need?

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg
2. Determine your protein number; Mildly Active = 0.8, Regularly Active = 1.5, Heavily Active = 1.8
3. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.

Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Example: 140lb female who is mildly active:
140 lbs/2.2 = 63kg
63kg x 0.5 = 51 gm protein/day

Sources:
American Heart Association. “High-Protein Diets“. Accessed: Sept 22, 2009.http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/High-Protein-Diets_UCM_305989_Article.jsp
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. “Protein“.  Accessed: Aug 20, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html
exercise.about.com. “Calculating Your Protein Need“. Accessed: Aug 20, 2013. http://exercise.about.com/cs/nutrition/a/protein_2.htm

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