Are You Calculating Your Protein Requirements Correctly?

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Discount Supplements is ‘How much protein do I need a day’? Well, there are a number of things to consider when answering this, but one of the main reasons people get it wrong is the simple mix – up of units. What I mean is this… the best way to estimate your protein requirements is to take your weight in kg, and multiply that by a set figure, usually 1.5- 2. This basically means you should consume approx.. 1.5-2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight, the problem with this is that people can often get the units wrong i.e. kg and lbs (kilo’s or pounds). The implications of this mean you could heavily overestimate your protein requirements by confusing kg with lbs. 1 kg is approx. 2.2lbs right, so if you get the kg and pounds wrong you could be doubling your protein estimation…not ideal. If you wish to estimate protein using lbs, then try 1g protein per lb bodyweight, this will be fine also.

Seeing as we live in the UK, and most of the evidence behind protein requirements use metric, I would suggest using approx. 1.5-2g per kg bodyweight. Example:


An average 70kg male would do the following…

70 x 1.5 = 105g protein per day

70 x 2 = 140g protein per day


154lbs x 1= 154g protein per day


So from the above, it’s clear to see how much of a difference to protein requirements a simple error with units of measurement can make. Should the individual have accidentally used the ‘2g per kg’ equation, and yet accidentally used lbs instead of kg, the persons estimation would come out at 308g of protein per day…which is a lot for someone training 3-4 times a week and only looking to achieve a general level of conditioning.

The consequence of consuming such a large amount of protein for a 70kg frame is weight gain…but not necessarily the type of weight gain you’d hope for. An excess of protein (amino acids) will be surplus to requirements, as a result the body converts it to glucose via gluconeogenesis for a readily available source of energy. Problem is, the glucose that’s produced will also be surplus to requirements, so guess what, and excess glucose is converted to adipose tissue (fat stores) via a process called lipogenesis.

So in the interest of getting muscular and toned, be sure that your units are correct…you’d be surprised how many people get this wrong.


About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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