Gain Weight Diet: Add Muscle, Not Fat

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

It may seem strange but gaining weight is actually a goal of many instead of losing weight. Guys that have thin frames especially seek to bulk up a bit, but it’s important to gain weight in a healthy way. This means gaining weight by adding muscle mass and not by just getting fat. An effective program that aims to cause weight gain is based on solid nutrition and the right type of exercise.

Some guys can eat a lot of food but never gain any weight. It’s more than just eating a lot of food, but instead, eating the right kind of food and stimulating the muscles to begin using those nutrients for growth.

Calorie Content of Food to Gain Weight

Proteins and all carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram, but different foods have different calorie density due to what the food is made of and its water content.

A person could eat two heads of lettuce and feel quite full, but few calories would be consumed. However, a small stick of butter would contain loads of calories although it would be difficult to eat a stick of butter in one sitting.

If you want to beef up your calorie content to gain weight then choose calorie-concentrated foods.

Choose foods that are both nutritionally dense and calorie dense, as they will help you gain weight by adding muscle mass and not fat.

Look for recipe ideas here.

Foods That Have Few Calories

gain-weightFoods that have a lot of fiber and a high water content are usually very low in calories. Many vegetables are low calorie foods and won’t help you gain weight but are often used by body builders to “lean up” before a competition. Nutritionally, vegetables should still be included in the diet, but not in bulk. Here are some low calorie options.

  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • celery
  • cauliflower
  • peppers
  • onions
  • oatmeal

Carbs That are Calorie-Dense

Choosing the right carbs is important and just because a food has a lot of calories, it doesn’t mean the food is nutritious or that it will help you gain weight. For instance, white bread and white sugar are calorie dense but they are nutritionally empty and have been shown to cause people to gain weight, although in the form of fat cells not muscle mass.

Pick foods that are made of complex carbs, that will provide your body good nutrition, and that will not spike blood sugar levels. Calorie dense carbs to use as part of a gain weight diet include.

  • whole wheat pasta
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • fruit
  • juices
  • beans
  • whole grain bread

Calories From Fats

This is an item of great controversy in the area of diet and gaining weight. Some promote eating very little fat, while others say that you can eat as much fat as you like and still lose fat and build muscle.

There is a happy medium. Those wishing to gain weight should eat some fat, but make sure the majority of the fat consumed is healthy fat. Cells actually require fat to function and grow. Stay away from processed fats like hydrogenated oils and eat natural fats found in foods such as;

  • nuts
  • avocados
  • eggs
  • olive oil
  • fish oil
  • flaxseed oil

Muscle Mass Builder: Protein

Since muscles are composed of protein, then it only makes sense that a gain weight diet should contain a lot of protein rich foods. Now protein doesn’t go straight to your muscles but is first broken down into amino acids and then the body uses these amino acids to build the proteins it needs to grow more muscle cells. Most people think of meat as their number one protein source, but legumes, some grains, and some vegetables are good sources of protein as well. Protein rich foods include;

  • chicken
  • beef
  • fish
  • eggs
  • lentils
  • beans
  • nuts
  • quinoa
  • avocado
  • amaranth
  • peas
  • plain yogurt
  • milk

See also High Protein Diets

Gain Weight Diet Supplements

When possible whole foods are the best choice when eating a healthy weight gaining diet, but sometimes protein supplements and weight gain supplements can be useful. Many of these products are loaded with sugar and other additives. Find products that are as pure as possible. Protein supplements don’t have to taste like a chocolate sundae, but are healthier when plain whey protein is mixed into freshly made smoothies.

Weight Gain With Meal Replacement Products

While meal replacement products seem like an easy and convenient way to gain weight, they should be used in limited quantity. Most of these products are full of sugar and processed ingredients. These are expensive and money would be better spent buying natural peanut butter, and other whole foods that are nutritionally and calorie dense.

Diet Recommendation

We recommend Body Building Revealed by Will Brink. This is a totally comprehensive program that uses science, resistance training, and diet for weight gain in the form of lean muscle mass. Some of the program highlights include.

  • Extensive and detailed guidance on exactly what to eat for the best muscle gains.
  • Well-researched reports into a multitude of supplements. Find out exactly what is hype and what actually works.
  • Detailed workout plans and programs from a variety of sources (and yes, they tell you exactly what you need to know if you are a beginner).

This program also has a members only website that gives you the following tools to help you pack on the muscle.

  • Training gurus and their programs
  • Nutrition Database
  • Meal Planner
  • Supplement and Book Reviews
  • Calorie Planner
  • Exercise and Training Videos
  • A very active forum!
  • Free updates for life.

If you’re willing to put in a little hard work then this program is a great tool to teach you the secrets of professional bodybuilders.

See Also

Muscle Growth Diet by Ori Hofmekler
Natural Physiques- The Healthy Fat Loss and Muscle Building Supersite.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
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  • Chris

    Im 24 and iv never been over 9st until now, i tried eat as much as i could but just didnt have the appetite, having just one weight gain shake made me feel full for hours. But i kept at it and slowly over time my stomach stretched thus allowing me eat more and now im 9 and a half stone and im putting more on slowly every week. I have weight gain shakes just before and after i go the gym. Once i got in a habbit of eating good foods and exercising it all jus became the normal daily routine and it isnt a big effort anymore=)

  • Umendra

    Hi sir i m 20 year old man and my weight is 52kg and my hight is 6ft i want gain weight plz very weekness problem my helth plz sir tell me

  • maggie

    I am 59 and I am stuggleling to keep weight on 120lb 5’7″ Ihave hypothyriod and now been told hypoglysemic. I am losing muscule tone as well as weight 107lb in 2008.been trying to gain 10 more pounds please tell me what to eat and what to avoid

    • ted

      Didn’t the article above tell you what to eat?

  • mike

    iam 18 years old….am very,tell me how to gain weight without eating non-veg foods

  • Ramya

    which juice will help to gain weight??

  • Ramya

    He He … Eat less boss…

  • jamil

    sir i m exercise in jym and my age is 36.
    i m married and not have too much money to use costly suppliments.
    what i do for gaining muscles?

  • nityal

    im 25 year old and 50 kg can u tell mewat products to eat to gain weight

    • ted

      Did you read the above article? I think we already did that.

  • sourabh

    i am 19 years old & my weight is 45.what should i do?

    • ted

      Follow the recommendations outlined above…Did you read them?

  • mahboobeh

    hi. how can i gain 7 weight when i have no meal for eating.plz hellp me

    • ted

      @Mahboobeh you can’t gain weight without eating.

  • Alicia

    I am 29 years old and weight 109 lbs, very very slim. I have 3 sons under the age of 6 and I have struggle all my life to gain weight. Now I am the skinnier that I have ever been and I am a little worried about my health. I exercise a lot and I seem to be losing instead of gaining weight. Don’t just recommend me things, tell me exactly what to buy plz?

    • ted


      You have to do the right kind of exercise and eat the right kinds/amounts of foods to gain weight. The program we mentioned above tells you exactly what to buy and what to do. Also it was written by an expert in the field and someone who practices what he preaches…. Best of Luck!

  • Nick

    Good tips. The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to building muscle mass is that you need to be eating enough calories to make it happen. even if you eat a bunch of protein, you’ll have a hard time packing on mass without getting enough calories down.

  • kush

    hey i am 16 years old and i am very very slim tell me who to gain weight plz??????????

  • Chintannnn

    hii..i m 20 years nd my wait is 50kg…what should i do to gain the wait nd have perfect body..

    • ted

      Do people not read the above information? The article tells you what to do, plus we have linked to a great in very detailed and in-depth program that shows someone step by step how to do it….

  • Chio

    Well Im Pretty Young I Weigh 100lbs And I Aom Trieng To GAin Some weight I Recently Had A Baby And Im Now Eneemik.Im Actually Thinner Then Before I Got Pregnant,I Been Stressing,Paranoid And I Lost 7 Pounds,Could You Please Give Some Good Advice!

  • Rohit

    I am 27 years and my weight is 42 kg and height is 5.8″, i am looking 0′ size, please help me to build up my body, and suggest me some vegetarian diet to gain weight …

  • saif

    i m 5’10 and only 55 k.g. help me to gain weight quickly



  • mohit

    hey ……….. it is amazing bodybuilding

  • Tom

    Also, 2 glasses of water with all meals except pre-bed and take multi vitamins in the morning.

    Lift weights 3 – 4 times per week and GROW!!!

  • Tom

    scrambled eggs with 1 full egg, 3 egg whites, chopped tomato, onion and ham. 2 pieces of whole grain bread.

    Morning tea:
    Weight gainer shake in milk

    2 whole grain tortilla wraps with avocado, cheese, tomato, spinach and chicken/tuna/roastbeef

    Afternoon tea:
    Weight gainer shake in milk

    Meat, pasta/rice/sweet potatoes, veg

    Cottage cheese, natural peanut butter and mixed frozen berries all mixed together. Yum!

    Thats what i had today and im 75kg (165lbs) bulking up to 80kg (176lbs) before i lean up.

  • ste

    site! not sight, lol..lets hope my weight gain plan goes better then my spelling

  • ste

    just read above, this is the first sight ive actually come across that explains exactly what to try, or add to my food etc, to put on weight, will definitly be taking note and trying, thanks

  • seneidrah bryant

    i am 20 years old 5’11 and weight 120 pounds please help me to gain weight

  • Meenakhi


    Am 24yrs old & my weight is 36Kgs& my height is 5.3,i want to gain weight ,please please help me & suggest me how to gain weight.

  • Dileep

    I am 29 years old, weight 53kg & height 5.9″ please
    suggest me some diet plan or suppliment to gain my weight

    • ted

      Hey guys, If you read the above article there are all kinds of suggestions to gain weight and we have recommended a program to follow…What more do want?

  • alok kumar

    i am 23 years old and weight 52kg height 5.9″
    for the last 4years my weight is same
    suggest me to gain my weight

  • yema

    thanxs for the tips, i found it really helpful .

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