Increased Calorie Consumption

Increased Calorie Consumption: Overview

In order to gain body weight, the number of calories consumed in the diet must exceed the number of calories the body needs to maintain its current weight.  Medical problems such as depression, hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria, bulimia or anorexia must be addressed and treatment underway before weight gain will occur.

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The nutritional considerations of a healthful diet still apply when weight gain is desired: the goal is to increase the number of calories in the diet while making healthful choices from a variety of foods.


An increase of at least 500-1000 calories each day should be adequate for a 1-2 pound (0.5-1.0Kg) weight gain per week.  It takes an extra 3500 calories to gain 1 pound (0.5Kg) of body weight.


Avoid foods which you know you do not tolerate well.  Where being seriously underweight is a problem, weight gain can best be achieved by concentrating on foods with either a higher calorie or fat content.  Ounce for ounce, fat has more than twice the calories of either carbohydrate or protein.

Special Considerations

  • A basic vitamin and mineral supplement, providing 100% of the RDA may be useful, depending on current nutritional status.
  • Plan for regular eating times, including three meals and several snacks throughout the day.  The need to eat even when experiencing a lack of hunger can be overcome with encouragement from others.
  • Stimulate a poor appetite by socializing and eating with friends; by enjoying favorite foods; experiencing enticing aromas such as freshly-baked bread; soft dinner music, flowers on the table and relaxed, pleasant mealtime conversation.
  • Eating larger amounts of various foods at mealtimes will increase the calorie content of the meal.  If larger meals are not tolerated, try increasing the serving sizes gradually or eating small amounts more often throughout the day.
  • For those who drink alcoholic beverages, a drink before meals or wine with meals can increase the appetite.  Remember that alcohol does carry "empty" calories – calories with no nutritional value.  However, it is not wise to start drinking alcohol simply for this benefit.
  • To increase calories, select higher calorie foods and beverages.  Beware of filling up on low-calorie or no-calorie foods and beverages.  Instead of diet sodas, water, coffee or tea, drink fruit juices, milk (if tolerated) and milk shakes (using soy milk or just bananas and other fruit is fine).  Dried fruits and canned fruits packed in heavy syrup will supply more calories than fresh fruit and are no more filling.  Protein powder can be added to some prepared foods to increase the calories and nutrients.
  • A canned liquid supplement such as Ensure or Sustacal taken with meals or between meals is effective when there is a lack of interest in food and eating.  Many stores carry their own effective brands at a lower cost.  Liquid supplements are a convenient way to consume extra calories.

Tips for Gaining Weight

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Do not consume simple carbohydrates just before a meal – this tends to decrease your appetite
  • Fill up on food, not low-calorie beverages
  • Make mealtime pleasant – set an attractive table, play soothing music
  • Get regular exercise – check with physician first
  • Get together with friends or neighbors to share cooking duties and delights
  • Take advantage of community programs to provide ready-made meals
  • Have nutritious snacks conveniently at hand
  • Use 'tricks' and substitutes to increase calories.  Try adding some extra vegetable oil to soups, mashed potatoes, etc.
  • Plan mealtimes around energy levels – eat a larger breakfast if you feel better in the morning.

On This Page

Increased Calorie Consumption:

Increased Calorie Consumption can help with the following:



Intoxication Susceptibility

The more time that the stomach has to work on the ethanol, the less harm it can do to your body.  When a meal is eaten the exit valve of the stomach closes in order to digest the food.  When food and alcohol are consumed at the same time this prevents the alcohol from passing quickly into the small intestine from where it would be rapidly absorbed giving the enzyme more time to work.

Problems Caused By Being Underweight

Eating is the first and most important factor that is needed for proper weight gain – put simply, you need to eat more calories than you burn.  Taking meals and snacks more frequently will help accomplish this.  Eat every 2.5 to 3 hours; focus on foods higher in protein along with fruit, vegetables and assorted types of nuts.  What you eat is the most important ingredient in a successful weight gain program.

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Increased Calorie Consumption can help prevent the following:


Susceptibility To Hangovers

Alcohol tends to go very quickly through the intestines if drunk on an empty stomach, inducing the drop in blood sugar that makes one feel light-headed and drunk, and then keeping it low throughout the night and into the following day, resulting in a major hangover.  Do not drink any alcohol until your stomach contains food.

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Moderately useful: often prevents
Moderately useful:
often prevents
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
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