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How to Calculate Protein RDA

author image Nicole Turner-Ravana
A nutrition expert, Nicole Turner-Ravana has been writing for public health and food industry groups since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Pepperdine and a Master of Science in nutrition communications from Tufts. Turner-Ravana specializes in turning scientific details into user-friendly and engaging prose.
How to Calculate Protein RDA
A woman is using her laptop in her kitchen. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The RDA, or recommended dietary allowance, for protein is specific to both your age and gender. In general, adult women need 46 g of protein per day, and adult men need 56 g per day. A specific amount can be calculated on an individual basis. This number is based on your weight, so it is unique for everyone. A quick calculation will determine how much protein you need each day.

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Step 1

Get an accurate body weight. It's most accurate to weigh yourself at the beginning of the day with an empty bladder, and average your weight readings over a few days to minimize the effect of temporary fluctuations in your weight.

Step 2

Convert the weight from pounds to kilograms. There are 2.2 lb. per 1 kg. So if you weigh 150 lb., divide 150 by 2.2, to get 68 kg.

Step 3

Plug the weight in kilograms into the conversion calculation. Sedentary adults should get 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, while endurance runners and strength training athletes need up to 1.4 or 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram, respectively.

For the 68 kg calculated above, multiply 68 times 0.8, which equals 54.4 g. Thus a sedentary 150-lb. person needs about 54 g of protein per day.

Step 4

Look at how the total protein RDA calculated compares to the protein gram amounts in foods you eat on a regular basis. Check the nutrition labels on your food to determine the amount of protein found in a each serving. Calculate your daily protein intake by writing down your food for the day, looking at the corresponding nutrition labels to determine its protein content, and adding up the amount of protein you consumed in each meal.

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