Recommended Nutrient Intakes

Nutrient requirements depend on activity levels, goals, age, bodyweight and lean body mass. Learn how much of each macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) you need.

Protein Intake

Learn about protein needs and sources.
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Carbohydrate Intake

Learn about carbohydrate needs and sources.
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Fat Intake

Learn about fat needs and sources.
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Recommended Protein Intake

You should aim for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight. This will cover the needs of most individuals. For example, if your goal weight is 130 lbs, you will need to eat 130 grams of protein per day.

Salmon Steak

To give you an idea of the amount of protein you can find in certain foods, check out the following list:

  • 1 cup 1% milk…8 grams
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese…7 grams
  • 3 ounce sirloin steak…21 grams
  • 1 poached egg…6 grams
  • ½ cup peas…5 grams
  • ½ cup kidney beans…9 grams
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter…7 grams
  • 1 ounce (handful) almonds…6 grams
  • ½ cup cooked squash…1 grams
  • 1 serving of wheat bread…3 grams
  • 1 medium baked potato…4 grams

Recommended Carbohydrate Intake

You should get at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, upping it to 170 grams if you weight train.

Generally, low carbohydrate diets are not recommended due to the negative effect on brain function. If you do decide to go on a low carbohydrate diet, we recommend seeking the guidance of a nutritionist.

Bread basketHow many carbohydrates are in the food you normally eat? Use this table to get an idea:

  • 1 cup 1% milk…13 grams
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese…0 grams
  • 3 ounces sirloin steak…0 grams
  • 1 poached egg…0 grams
  • ½ cup peas…13 grams
  • ½ cup kidney beans…20 grams
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter…6 grams
  • 1 ounce (handful) roasted almonds…6 grams
  • ½ cup cooked squash…11 grams
  • 1 serving of wheat bread…12 gram
  • 1 medium baked potato…37 grams

Recommended Fat Intake

The recommended fat intake for all individuals is 20-35% of daily calories [Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005]. An example is below.

Susie is on a 1200 calorie diet, she needs to eat between 20% and 35% of her 1200 calories in the form of fats. We can calculate the proportion of her total calories from fats as follows:

0.20 × 1200 = 240 calories 0.35 × 1200 = 420 calories

So Susie needs to eat between 240 and 420 calories worth of fat. We divide fat calories by 9 in order to get grams of fat:

240/9 = 27 grams and 420/9 = 47 grams.

As a second example: If Megan is on a 2500 calorie diet, she will need to eat 56 to 97 grams of fat.

Olive oil

How much fat is in the food you normally eat? Use this table to get an idea:

  • 1 cup 1% milk…2 grams
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese…9 grams
  • 3 ounces sirloin steak…13 grams
  • 1 poached egg…5 grams
  • ½ cup peas…0 grams
  • ½ cup kidney beans…0 grams
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter…16 grams
  • 1 ounce (handful) roasted almonds…14 grams
  • ½ cup cooked squash…0 grams
  • 1 serving of wheat bread…1 gram
  • 1 medium baked potato…0 grams

Additional Reading