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Protein Requirements for Adults


Protein Requirements for Adults
Based on Body Weight (per kilogram)


Protein Requirement

Normal nutrition, 19-50 years old

0.8 g/kg/day

Normal nutrition, >50 years old

0.8 g/kg/day*

Pregnancy and lactation

1.1 g/kg/day

Critically ill or injured

1.5-2.0 g/kg/day

COPD, if malnourished

1.5-2.0 g/kg/day


1.2-1.5 g/kg/day

Hepatic failure

0.25-0.5 g/kg/day

Renal failure, nondialyzed

0.6-0.75 g/kg/day

Renal failure, hemodialyzed

≥1.2 g/kg/day

Renal failure, peritoneal dialyzed

1.2-1.3 g/kg/day

COPD=chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, g=gram, kg=kilogram

*Many experts believe that the dietary reference intake (DRI) guidelines for those >50 years of age should increase to 1 g/kg body weight.

References and recommended readings
Chernoff R, ed. Geriatric Nutrition: The Health Professionals Handbook. 3rd ed. Sudberry MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2006.

Committee on Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2005.

Mahan KL, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co; 2008.

Piland C, Adams S, eds. Pocket Resource for Nutrition Assessment. Consultant Dietitians in Health Care Communities, American Dietetic Association; 2009.


Review Date 11/10


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