The Best Protein Intake Calculator
The AGN Roots Protein Calculator™ is like no other calculator available online and serves as a great starting point for optimizing your macro protein intake.
This protein intake calculator will guide you toward an ideal range of protein intake for your training days and your recovery days. The spectrum of values allows you to account for factors unknown to the calculator, which you believe justify working to either the upper or lower bound of the provided range.
Completing the daily protein intake calculator input takes about 45 seconds. Click here to try it -
What makes the AGN Roots Calculator™ different?
The AGN Roots Protein Intake Calculator™ is custom-built to combine the latest, well-researched publications on the following disciplines:
- Exercise Physiology
- Strength & Conditioning
- Exercise Nutrition
- Protein Metabolism
The diversity of factors applied to your individualized input serves all ages and varying goals to determine a protein macro intake starting range that best suits you.
Who is the AGN Roots Protein Calculator™ Designed For?
The calculator considers any person who is curious about discovering how much protein per day is needed to build muscle, lose weight, or maintain a healthy living standard.
If you found yourself asking any of these questions lately, this quick calculator is for you -
- How much protein do I need?
- How much more protein should I be taking on training days?
- How much less protein should I be taking on rest days?
- How much whey protein should I be supplementing?
Why is the AGN Roots Protein Calculator better than the typical recommended “Daily Value” seen on food and supplement labels?
Until January 2021, the Daily Values you see on food and nutrition product labels are still primarily based on the values developed in 1968.
To understand more in detail about the history of our severely outdated dietary & nutrition guidance of the FDA, we put together a high-level timeline around the history of the recommended “Daily Values” (DV) you see on all Nutrition Facts Paneling. The history and origin of “DV” are quite interesting going back to WWII.
- 1941 - The advent of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) by the Food & Nutrition Board became adopted to provide superior nutrition for civilians and military personnel, so they included a "margin of safety". Because of food rationing during the war, the food guides created by government agencies to direct citizens' nutritional intake also took food availability into account.
- 1950 - United States Department of Agriculture nutritionists made a new set of guidelines that also included the number of servings of each food group to make it easier for people to receive their RDAs of each nutrient.
- 1968 - The first regulations governing U.S. nutrition labels specified a % U.S. RDA declaration based on the RDA values at that time.
- 1974, 1980, and 1989 - The RDAs continued to be updated; however, the values specified for nutrition labeling on food remained the same.
- 1993 - FDA published new regulations mandating the inclusion of a nutrition facts label on most packaged foods and introduced the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) to be the basis of the new Daily Values (DV). The RDI is used to determine the Daily Value (DV) of foods and relies heavily upon and defines RDA values), which is printed on nutrition facts labels (as % DV) in the United States and Canada, and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- 1994 – The advent of the Dietary Health & Supplement Education allowing the supplement industry to have free reign to market untested products with unsupported claims; the result has been an explosion of the supplement industry flooding the marketplace with useless products and false claims. Unless it's a mineral or vitamin, don't buy it if it claims itself a "dietary supplement." It's critical to note that protein powders represented as "dietary supplements" have not been proven safe against a recognized food or drug safety standard of any kind.
- 1997 - The introduction of Dietary Recommended Intake (DRIs) values to expand upon and evolve the pre-existing system of RDAs.
- 2007 - The Institute of Medicine held a workshop where numerous subject matter experts presented the case proving that Dietary Recommended Intakes (DRI's) were not based on statistical evidence but rather opinion. Although universally agreed upon, the only DRIs to have been revised are vitamin D and calcium since the meeting.
Why is the Recommended Daily Value for Protein Accurate?
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) represent the daily dietary intake level of a nutrient considered sufficient by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. "Sufficient" is a subjective term, albeit in this usage, represents a food's ability to meet the needs of 97.5% of healthy individuals in each life-stage and sex group in 1941 with only minor adjustments made since 1968.
The idea that our recommended nutrition intake is bound to periods of rationing and war times in which general health was the only goal leaves a little too much on the table.
Today, we are allowed to tailor our diets for performance nutrition for active lifestyles. If you are looking for baseline survival nutrition, basing your diet off of daily values set by nutritionist 80 years Daily Values is the way to go.
However, if you are looking for target protein macros to maximize your life goals of health & longevity, our calculator incorporates the latest nutrition and science-based research.
How Much Protein Powder Should I Take per Day?
It's important to consider that everyone is different, and every protein source has associated nuances in terms of amino acid profiles. At AGN Roots, we recommend if it's possible to get 100% of your protein needs through whole foods.
When this becomes a struggle, and the convenience of whey protein becomes too great to forgo, we suggest a maximum of thirty-five percent of your total protein intake represent the upper end of your daily whey protein powder goal.
Sticking to thirty-five percent ensures you achieve a diverse protein macro amino acid profile and aren't forcing any unnecessary gaps.
What are the Macros and Micro-Nutrients associated with AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder?
The break down is this - 29 Grams Total Serving of Powder Yields:
0.05g Carbohydrates (lactose)
< .75% Sunflower Lecithin (0.20 g)
< 6% moisture (water) (1.75g)
< 1.5% Total Fat (.43g)
< 0.5% Saturated Fat
< 0.1%% Trans Fatty Acid
< 3.5% ash/minerals (1.00g)
Learn More: Nutrition Facts & Amino Acid Profile
Can I Consume too Much Protein?
Generally speaking, this is not something most of the population views as regularly posing a challenge when it comes to dieting. Overeating protein is not exactly an easy task. The truth is, for the general public, it’s the exact opposite, whereas not getting enough protein is the primary concern.
Listen to your body, it will let you know if you are consuming too much protein as well as if you are deficient in the other macro-nutrients needed to reach optimal health.
Does Protein Help with Weight Loss?
If your goal is to lean out and lose fat, eating too much protein will get you there faster than eating too many fat or carbohydrate macros. Fat intake is a tricky one, however the best rule of thumb is to stick with those healthy fats such as, avocados, almond butter, coconut or MCT oil.
Signs of Consuming Too Much Protein:
Bad Breath – Most often associated with the body being in a state of ketosis.
Constipation – With high protein intake, be sure to balance the increase with the addition of fiber.
Kidney damage – A widespread myth about protein supplementation; however, there is no evidence to back this falsity.
Heart Disease – Related closely to the quantity of red meat and high diary fat diets. Stay lean with your choice of proteins to ensure your risk of coronary heart disease remains unimpaired.
What is Considered Healthy Protein?
- Wild fish
- Eggs from pastured hens
- Grass-fed and low-fat organic dairy
- Whole grains
Can Excess Protein Make Me Fat?
Yes, too much protein in your diet over time can easily cause a shift in your body composition. Excess protein beyond the requirements to serve physiological needs such a muscle repair is likely to be stored as fat.
To ensure you don’t pack on the fat stores, listen to your body, and adapt accordingly. If you notice you are working out and gaining undesired weight, the choices are to either workout harder and increase the extent of your muscle growth & repair, or to cut back on protein consumption.
Learn More: Can Too Much Protein Cause Weight Gain?
Is it better to go over on protein macros rather than carbohydrates?
As mentioned above, if excess protein in your system ultimately gets stored as an energy source like a carbohydrate, does this mean surplus protein and carbohydrates are equivalent?
Although a logical connection between excess protein and carbohydrates exists, the difference becomes the amount of processing energy exhausted by the body to break down extra protein versus fat or carbohydrate.
The body exhausts roughly twenty-five percent of the protein (calories) to process it through the digestive tract properly—a stark contrast to the energy expenditure needed to digest carbohydrates and fats.
- Processing Fats - the body burns minimal calories ~ one and a half percent of the fat caloric value is what the body burns to break it down.
- Processing Carbohydrates - the body burns about seven and a half percent of the carbohydrate caloric value to digest it.
Now you can understand why, when talking about excess macros, siding on the side of too much protein provides a little more forgiveness in terms of unintentional weight gain.
Focusing on body composition, if the goal is lean and trim, sticking to healthy protein is a can’t-go-wrong strategy. Consuming an extra 200 calories of carbohydrates can happen in a blink of an eye over a fruit plate. Simultaneously, there aren’t many 200 calorie protein meals that go unnoticed as they are typically heavy and filling.
I’m Taking Whey Protein but Still Not Gaining Muscle
There’s no shortage of terrible marketing information online about gaining lean muscle by taking whey protein. An idea of consuming more protein alone as a solution to overcoming a high metabolism, especially if you are a young male 16-21 years of age and considered a hard-gainer is almost laughable.
In the most simplistic terms, there are two areas to focus on when the mission is to gain lean mass. The first area is stimulating muscle growth through training. It’s not that easy, though; there is a catch to this first focus area. After all, activity is fun, working out and chasing that daily pump is addicting.
There is a catch; if you don’t put every waking moment into the second area of focus, there is a chance that training will result in muscle mass getting leaner, denser, and yes, smaller, albeit substantially more strong.
The most critical component of gaining lean muscle mass is the recovery. Recovery defined is how you treat your body every minute you are not in the gym. Nine out of ten failures to gain muscle are not eating, sleeping, and not staying hydrated.
Rules of Thumb for Lean Muscle Mass Building
Stay hydrated –
Without proper hydration protein synthesis (MPS - the process of triggering the genes of muscle development) will be sub-optimal and noticeable muscle growth requires optimal repair and daily. Also, its very difficult to effectively stimulate muscles for growth when the body is focused on telling you to drink fluids. To operate at full capacity to get the most out of every muscle, hydration is key.
Schedule your meals –
If you feel hungry, you are not staying fueled and are likely shrinking with every passing moment. To avoid starvation mode, break up your protein macros to give your body a constant fuel source throughout the entirety of a typical training day.
Although there is mixed scientific evidence about the existence of a post-workout window, the nutrition community consensus is that 30 grams of a high-quality whey protein within 20 minutes of your last exercise is beneficial for recovery.
We recommend your post-workout protein selection by whey protein, due to the non-appetite suppressing impacts. Despite the satisfaction of a 30-gram whey protein smoothie, the most effective recovery resides with the full meal you need to consume within 90 – 120 minutes after your training session.
Train for Muscle Growth –
There is a great reason why professional sports athletes of the same sport typically carry similar body compositions. Runners are lean and long, whereas football players are more compact and built. The body responds to what you tell it.
For targeted muscle growth, we want to lift for muscle growth stimulation. Suppose you can stick to the major compound exercises and ensure proper rest between sets (90 seconds – time for some box breathing). In that case, this will optimally tax the creatine phosphate system and essentially program your body for power.
Younger Athletes Need to Eat More to Gain Weight –
"How much more protein does my son need to start getting big"? A common question we get asked, especially in the high school football national hotspots.
The answer is never clean-cut, but is always the same, "until the indication of weight gain diminishes the caloric deficit." Young athletes, especially late teenage males, are consistently over-training while consistently under-eating.
Even if the protein is sufficient, available calories may not be.
When you are in a caloric deficit, your body will use the protein for energy rather than for muscular repair and growth regardless of your protein intake. Step 1 as a parent of a child trying to gain weight for a sport - EAT.
To Learn More: Complete Guide to Gaining Healthy Weight.
The secret is Oats & Whey!
Sleep is a massively important aspect of recovery. You stress and breakdown muscle in training that rebuilds when you recover outside of the gym. If you are not sleeping well, your muscular growth will be severely limited.
What is the Most Protein I Should Eat at One Time?
Based on the latest research, to maximize protein synthesis (soft tissue repair), the target protein intake across any giving meal should average between 0.4 g/kg - .55 g/kg.
Deciding where in this range you need to be will depend on how sensitive your body is and your ability to listen to what your body is telling you.
As far as the science behind these numbers, consider the amino acids most closely linked to muscle protein synthesis, we call them Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The three amino acids are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. Of any amino acid, Leucine has the most significant impact on MPS, which is the limiting agent in defining the maximum amount of protein you should consume at one sitting.
AGN Roots contains the highest BCAA content due to its sourcing. Although other brands may round-up or claim hyperbolized numbers, a simple request for formal verification reveals claims for what they are, hollow. Our amino acid profile batch to batch shows that 25 grams of protein (one single serving of AGN Roots Grassfed Whey), there are 6.53 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids.
6.53 grams BCAAs per 25 grams of whey isolate represents a BCAA density that is 10% greater than the next best profile in the industry. The amount of Leucine within that 6.53 grams of BCAAs happens to be the amount proven to be most optimal for MPS (3+ grams).
Sourcing matters; 25 grams of AGN Roots contains just over 3 grams of Leucine. However, if your protein originates from domestic US farms, you may need closer to mix a 40-gram protein shake to make up for the lack of BCAA density.
Learn More: BCAAs and Grass-Fed Whey
How Much Protein Per Day To Build Muscle?
A question Alexa hears a lot – and one that is associated with unlimited wrong answers.
Depending on your lifestyle, activity levels, and current health, the quantities of protein the body needs can vary and is undoubtedly different for everyone.
Building muscle, as you probably have heard before, is easier said than done. A growing lean body is a proven art that requires fine-tuning and finesses rather than something that takes a brute force like lifting big and eating pies. Everyone is different, and thus the solution varies from athlete to athlete.
A common myth about growing lean muscle mass is the fixed association with growing in size and increases in strength. The reality is, plenty of athletes over train and under eat, thus lose volume but gain density & strength.
Another fact to be aware of is most bodybuilders are not power-lifters and visa versa. Remember, the body is a fantastic machine; it will output a reflection of the input. If you can find that magic input in training, eating, and sleeping, the amount of growth becomes a measure of scale and time.
Because you are looking to increase muscle, let us assume that living sore from your active lifestyle isn’t the weak link in the chain stopping you from achieving your goal of getting swollen. When you have completed the AGN Roots Protein Calculator™ and are aware of the range of protein intake values based on your inputs, the focus now needs to become –
How to Maximize My Muscle Protein Synthesis?
Earlier in the article, we illustrated that the body's excess protein is stored like a carbohydrate. Although this is true, consider eating a combination of diverse sources of protein, all with different mechanical and chemical processing times.
Twenty-five grams of whey protein may be the most protein you should take at one time if you are using AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey, but let's say you mix it with a full glass of organic whole milk.
The single glass of whole milk is the equivalent -
- 2 grams of whey protein
- 6 grams of casein protein
Learn More: Milk Protein Percentage Image
Casein's nature around mechanical stickiness hinders the digestive flow and takes more time to release the embedded Leucine into the bloodstream.
In a sense, you just consumed twenty-seven grams of Whey (instant BCAA & insulin spike) along with six grams of time-released BCAAs.
Do we believe that this is a waste of protein? The answer is, it's only a waste if it doesn't work, and that depends entirely on you and your body type.
Learn More Here: What is My Body Type?
Net Protein Balance
The term “Net protein balance” serves a critical function in the efficiency of growing soft tissues. If your goal is to Gain Muscle mass, the calculator may result in up to 2.7 grams of protein per Kg of body weight. For this type of eating, planning meals is the most challenging obstacle.
Do your best to spread out the protein macro intake and stay conscious of carbohydrates and fats, both of which are critical in providing the body the tools needed to use the protein effectively.
Foods with High Protein
Complete proteins which contain all the ideal ratios of essential and non-essential amino acids most often come with eating whole foods. If not opposed to meat and dairy, some of the foods highest in protein include -
- Chicken & Turkey
*Foods that offer a wide spectrum of lean and fatty options. Consider the difference between Greek yogurt and your typical yogurt.
Plant-Based Foods High in Protein
Generally, it is common to combine several sources of plant-based proteins to create a complete protein snack. The drawback with plant-based protein powders isn't the lack of protein or the approach, but rather the lack of processing power globally, which forces 99% of all plant-based powders, especially pea protein, to be processed in mainland China.
As a result, these plant-based protein powders have become a beacon for heavy metal contamination. In theory, however, the best plant-based sources of protein include -
- Chia Seeds (Chia seeds are not a complete protein)
- split Yellow Peas
- Legumes & Beans
Learn More: Heavy Metals in Protein Powders
What Impact Does Age Have on Building Lean Muscle Mass?
As you will notice, our calculator's last input has to do with age. Did you know that athletes over the age of fifty have more significant anabolic resistance to convert similar protein synthesis process levels?
Being anabolic resistant means that if the goal to put on lean muscle mass doesn't evolve as you age, the amount of protein you are consuming has to increase.
As you age, MPS naturally degrades and becomes less efficient; this is why consuming more protein when you are older is what is needed to replicate the body's response of your younger days.
If you are approaching fifty years of age, we suggest leaning towards the higher end of the protein intake spectrum range provided. At 50 years old, let's not kid ourselves; there's a good chance you are in your prime, and life is good!
Does Protein Intake Timing Matter?
While it's essential to keep your protein intake consistent throughout the day as per a healthy diet regimen, it has become widely accepted as beneficial to consume protein both before and after a training session when your activity goal is to build strength and grow mass.
What is the Anabolic Window?
This theory depends on the premise that there is an ideal time frame for protein intake that exists shortly after working out while the muscles are still hot (pumped). During this window of 15-60 minutes, the body is supposedly able to utilize and distribute the protein's benefits more optimally to your muscles than if protein intake occurred outside of this window.
Is the "Anabolic Window" a Myth?
Yes, the "Anabolic-Window" is nothing more than a myth promulgated by the same brands that sell you plastic tubs of empty promises. About building lean muscles, the timing of your protein intake is not a factor. The key to growth is consistency. Your body should always have access to dietary proteins if your goal is to grow body mass.
Consistently Clean - The Optimal Diet of a Grower
Although the nature of a clean-eating generality may not resonate as common sense, the clamor of the scientific dispute over the years has abated. We are comfortable accepting this assertion as an empirical fact; the cleaner you can eat, the better off you are.
Leveraging a clean and pure protein powder can be ideal both before and after your workout. Especially true if a protein-rich meal has the potential to create feelings of an unsettled or bloated stomach.
Learn More: Why Whey Protein Upsets the Stomach?