Debbie James, RDN, helps answer a reader’s question about hair loss and the best nutrients for re-growing lost hair.
I have 150 lbs. of lean mass and burn 1800 calories. How much protein should I take in?
– Troy B.
Your true protein need depends on your age and physical goals in addition to your weight and caloric rate. To get a rough estimate, start with a gram of protein for each kilogram of lean body mass (68.2 kg in your case) then increase per your activity level:
- Sedentary – add 10%
- 68 + 7 = 75 gms
- Light activity (e.g. walking) – add 30%
- 68 + 22 = 90 gms
- Moderate (30 min. of vigorous activity 3 days/week) – add 50%
- 68 + 34 = 102 gms
- Active (1 hour per day 5 days/week) – add 75%
- 68 + 52 = 120 gms
- Very Active (10 hours of vigorous activity/week) – double
- 68 x 2 = 136 gms
If you maintain weight and thus consume only 1800 calories, it’s likely that the highest factor you need to use is the moderate level. If you have a goal of increasing muscle (requiring more calories), you’ll want to move to the next level higher. Likewise, for those dieting — protein should increase to preserve lean mass when caloric intake is restricted.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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