How many calories are in 1 gram of protein?

How many calories are in 1 gram of protein?


When it comes to understanding our diet and nutrition, it’s important to know the caloric content of different macronutrients. Protein is a crucial macronutrient that plays a vital role in our body’s functions, including muscle growth and repair. But how many calories are in 1 gram of protein? In this article, we will explore the caloric value of protein and its significance in our diet.

Calories in Protein

Calories per gram: Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. While carbohydrates and protein both contain 4 calories per gram, fats contain 9 calories per gram. This means that for every gram of protein you consume, you are consuming 4 calories.

Thermic effect of protein: It’s important to note that the caloric value of protein isn’t the only factor to consider. Protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats. This means that our body expends more energy to digest and process protein. It is estimated that around 20-30% of the calories from protein are used during digestion and metabolism. Therefore, the net caloric value of protein may be slightly lower than the 4 calories per gram.

Importance of Protein in Our Diet

Muscle growth and repair: Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. When we engage in physical activity or exercise, our muscles undergo stress and damage. Protein provides the building blocks necessary for the repair and growth of these muscles. Consuming an adequate amount of protein is particularly important for individuals who are physically active or engage in strength training.

Satiety and weight management: Protein is known to be more satiating compared to carbohydrates and fats. Including protein-rich foods in our meals can help us feel fuller for longer, reducing the chances of overeating or snacking on unhealthy foods. This can be beneficial for weight management and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Other functions: Protein is involved in various other functions in our body, including the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Consuming enough protein is crucial for overall health and well-being.


In summary, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories. However, it’s important to consider the thermic effect of protein, which means that our body uses some of these calories during digestion and metabolism. Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in muscle growth and repair, satiety, weight management, and various other functions in our body. Including protein-rich foods in our diet is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


– Mayo Clinic:
– Healthline:
– National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: