Setting Intake Goals for Protein

Setting Intake Goals for Protein

The Food and Nutrition Board has established goals to help ensure adequate intake of the essential amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrate. The daily goals for adequate intake for adults follow:


Protein 56 grams 46 grams

Fat: Linoleic acid 17 grams 12 grams

Alpha-linoleic acid 1.6 grams 1.1 grams

Carbohydrate 130 grams 130 grams

Protein intake goals can be calculated more specifically by multiplying your body weight in kilograms by 0.8 or your body weight in pounds by 0.36. (Refer to the “Nutrition Resources” section at the end of the chapter for information for specific age groups and life stages.)

To meet your daily energy needs, you need to consume more than the minimally adequate amounts of the energy-providing nutrients listed above, which alone supply only about 800-900 calories.

The Food and Nutrition Board provides additional guidance in the form of Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs). These ranges can help you balance your intake of energy-providing nutrients in ways that ensure adequate intake and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

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The AMDRs for protein, total fat, and carbohydrate are as follows:

Protein Total fat Carbohydrate 10-35% of total daily calories 20-35% of total daily calories 45-65% of total daily calories

To set individual goals, begin by estimating your total daily energy (calorie) needs. If your weight is stable, your current energy intake is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight at your current activity level. Next, select percentage goals for protein, fat, and carbohydrate. You can allocate your total daily calories among the three classes of macronutrients to suit your preferences; just make sure that the three percentages you select total 100% and that you meet the minimum intake goals listed. Two samples reflecting different total energy intake and nutrient intake goals are shown in the table below.

To translate your percentage goals into daily intake goals expressed in calories and grams, multiply the appropriate percentages by total calorie intake, and then divide the results by the corresponding calories per gram. For example, a fat limit of 35% applied to a 2200-calorie diet would be calculated as follows: 0.35 x 2200 = 770 calories of total fat; 770 4 9 calories per gram = 86 grams of total fat. (Remember that fat has 9 calories per gram and protein and carbohydrate have 4 calories per gram.)

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