I have a question about protein recommendations. I am obese, and was told by a dietitian several years ago that I should use my “adjusted weight” to calculate calorie and protein needs. So they’re a lot lower, like a 30 gm difference for protein. Is this right? – Crystal
Great question Crystal, and yes it is more accurate to use an adjusted bodyweight if you are overweight or obese. This is because excess weight which is fat tissue doesn’t have the same calorie and protein requirements as lean tissue.
To find your adjusted bodyweight, calculate your “ideal bodyweight” (IBW) first. For women, IBW = 100 lbs for the first 5 feet of height, plus another 5 lbs per inch (so for 5’5″ tall it’s 125 lbs, for 5’6″ it’s 130 lbs, etc.) For men, use 106 lbs for the first 5 feet of height plus 6 lbs per inch above that.
**Note that “ideal bodyweight” is not MY OPINION of what is an optimal body weight, it’s just the calculation we use in medical nutrition therapy. Please don’t send me hate mail anyone – I am not saying YOU need to be that weight.**
To find your adjusted bodyweight, you take your ACTUAL weight minus the IBW (to find out how much extra weight you have) and multiply that by 0.25, then add it back to the IBW. So it’s essentially taking into account one quarter of your extra weight as being metabolically active.
Example: If I were 5’6″ and 240 lbs.
My ideal bodyweight would be 130 lbs, and the difference between by current bodyweight and ideal bodyweight would be 110 lbs. (240 – 130 = 110)
Multiplying that by 0.25, I get that one quarter of my excess weight equals 27.5 lbs. (110 x 0.25 = 27.5 lbs.)
Adding that to my ideal means that my adjusted bodyweight is 157.5 lbs. (130 + 27.5 = 157.5)
So if I were estimating my protein needs, I’d use 157.5 lbs instead of my actual weight of 240.
Hope that helps! Great question and thanks for writing in!
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