Daily Protein Requirements
As you would expect, the total amount of proteins, carbs and fats a person requires is specific to each person and their circumstance. Dr Barry Sears, the founder of the Zone Diet (a diet that seeks to optimize the proportions and total intake of macro nutrients), provides a useful calculator for determining your daily protein requirement in grams. Once you know how much protein you need to maintain or increase your lean body tissues, you can use that information to calculate how many grams of carbs and fats you optimally require.
Use the Zone Diet Body Fat Calculator to determine your daily protein requirement:
Daily Fat and Carb Requirements
Once you know your daily protein requirement, you can calculate the other macronutrients using the ratio we discussed in “Creating a Healthy Balance:” 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is:
- first determine how many total daily grams you require of ALL three macronutrients using the known values for protein: total protein grams and protein percent of total (30%)
- calculate the percent of total for the carb and fat macronutrients
Let’s look at an example:
Suppose, using the calculator, you learned that your daily protein requirement is 96 grams. You can calculate total grams for all macronutrients by DIVIDING the 96 grams by the protein ratio (30%): 96 / .3 = 320.
Now, you can calculate the daily carb and fat requirements by MULTIPLYING the total grams (320) by each percentage: Fats 320 x .2 = 64 and Carbs 320 x .5 = 160.
With the total daily grams for each macronutrient known, you can calculate how many grams of each you need at each meal. If, for example, you anticipate eating three meals a day, then you would divide each macronutrient total by 3:
- 160 / 3 = 53 grams of carbs per meal
- 96 /3 = 32 grams of protein per meal
- 64 / 3 = 21 grams of fat per meal
If you anticipate having a snack each day, say, in between lunch and dinner, you would estimate the number of grams of each macronutrient in your typical balanced snack and subtract those first from each macronutrient total before calculating the number of macronutrients in each full meal. If you anticipate have two snacks each day, you would subtract the grams for both snacks before calculating grams per meal.