Whenever you read high protein diet on this site, understand that we mean ideal protein diet – a diet in which your protein consumption is calculated based on your individual goals and needs instead an absolute amount of protein per day.
What is a High Protein Diet?
If you look at our guide to macronutrients and micronutrients, you’ll notice that we recommend a 40:40:20 or 40:30:30 ratio of Carbohydrate to Protein to Fat. The first of the two ratios (40:40:20) would be considered a high protein diet.
Example: If you’re following a 2000 calories per day high protein diet, then you would need to eat 200 grams of Carbs (800 calories, 40% of total), 200 grams of Protein (800 calories, 40% of total), and 44.5 grams of Fat (400 calories, 20% of total) per day.
As you can see, 200g of Protein per day is really high! Hence, high protein diet.
Benefits of High Protein Diet
There are many benefits to high protein diets. Not only are proteins such as meats and fish quick, simple, and easy to cook, but they have the combined effect of helping you lose weight from fat and at the same time preserving (or helping build) lean muscle mass. Unlike carbohydrates with high glycemic index and glycemic load, protein gives you sustained energy and keeps you full – making it very easy to control your appetite over long periods.
Unlike fats which also contribute to satiety, lean proteins are less calorie-dense and are harder to over eat.
Best Sources of Protein
You can learn more about the best protein-dense foods by browsing through our list of high protein meats, fish, cheeses, and even vegetarian foods. All the information is presented per 100 grams of the food so you’ll need to calculate the actual amount of protein consumed based on how much of the food you’re actually eating.
How Do I Calculate My Protein Requirements?
To calculate your minimum recommended daily intake of protein use the following formula:
1. Take your weight in pounds (lb) and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms (kg).
2. Then, take your weight in kilograms (kg) and multiply it by Harris-Benedict equation multiplier (explained in The Easy Diet) to get the total grams of protein you should consume per day.
Example: I weigh 125 pounds / 2.2 = 57 kg. If I exercise 3 times a week, my Harris-Benedict equation multiplier is 1.55 so I take 57 x 1.55 = 89 grams of protein per day.
Another method you can use is: calculate the range of protein consumption. You do this by:
1. Calculate the total number of calories you should consume per day (from The Easy Diet).
2. Then divide those calories over a macronutrient ratio (from essential macronutrients and micronutrients)
Example: I have a daily caloric requirement of 2,332. If I’m following a 40:40:20 ratio (carbohydrate to protein to fat), that means I should consume 233 grams of carbohydrate, 233 grams of protein, and 52 grams of fat. If I’m following a 40:30:30 ratio, that means I should consume 233 grams of carbohydrate, 175 grams of protein, and 78 grams of fat.
Note: There are 4 calories per gram in Carbohydrates, 4 calories per gram in Protein, and 9 calories per gram in Fat. That’s how I came up with grams per macronutrient in the example above.
Based on these calculations we get a range of 89 grams of protein per day (minimum), 175 grams of protein (based on 40:30:30 ratio – 30% Protein), and as many as 233 grams of protein (based on 40:40:20 ratio 0 40% Protein). Always increase protein intake slowly until you are aware of how your body will respond to a higher protein diet and never eat more of one macronutrient at the expense of another – keep your ratios in check.