Back in 2010 I decided I’d had enough of being skinny.
I knew I wanted to get big but I was clueless about what to eat to gain weight fast.
Luckily, we live in the information age and I was able to read up on a lot of literature on nutrition and the science behind gaining weight…
One of the most important concepts I learned about was the caloric intake principle known as “calories in vs. calories out”.
It basically states that if you want to gain weight you have to consume more calories than you burn.
(You can find out how many calories you need to maintain your current bodyweight using our Weight Maintenance Calculator).
The problem was that as a guy with a naturally fast metabolism I wasn’t consuming enough calories even though I was eating as much as I could every 3 hours.
Since I couldn’t eat more food I did some more reading in search of a solution.
What I found out was that not all foods are created equal.
And in order to increase my caloric intake I had to eat calorie-dense foods which contain more calories per gram.
That way I could eat the same quantity of food yet get much more calories in.
During my transformation I’ve found 7 foods that I’ve stuck to for the last 5 years.
These are the same foods I’ve used to gain 55 pounds naturally without spending a fortune on supplements.
They’re all calorie-dense power foods that will force your body to grow:
1. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs are a part of any weight gain diet that’s worth a damn (provided you’re not intolerant to them):
- Eggs are a great protein source.
- They help prevent heart disease and they improve insulin sensitivity.
- They contain a lot of Vitamin D, which three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in.
- They’re rich in selenium, which is key to thyroid, immune and prostate health.
- They also contain choline, which 90% of Americans are deficient in. Choline deficiency results in a shortened attention span. Choline helps maintain the structural integrity and signaling functions of cell membranes, it’s a major source of methyl groups and it directly affects the signaling functions of nerves and cells, and the lipid metabolism
The yoke of a large egg contains around 60 kcal while the egg white contains around 15 kcal.
Vitamins A,D and E are contained in the egg yoke, as is choline.
A popular myth is that eating egg yokes raises cholesterol levels in the body.
But is it true?
Here are the facts:
The consumption of dietary cholesterol does not raise cholesterol levels in the body.
Your liver produces 95% of the cholesterol in your blood.
The actual culprit is trans fats which are metabolized differently by the liver.
Trans fats are found in high-sugar processed foods like doughnuts, cookies, muffins, pies and cakes, and they’re the ones that actually raise bad cholesterol levels in your body.
So limit junk food and eat whole eggs.
Yes, including the yoke.
|Nutrient||Per 1 Large Boiled Egg|
|Fatty Acids (g)||4.33|
|Saturated Fats (g)||1.55|
|Monounsaturated Fats (g)||1.91|
|Polyunsaturated Fats (g)||0.68|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.070|
|Folic Acid (mcg)||23.5|
|Vitamin B12 (mcg)||0.50|
|Vitamin A (IU)||317.5|
|Vitamin D (IU)||24.5|
|Vitamin E (mg)||0.70|
|Calcium, Ca (mg)||25|
|Iron, Fe (mg)||0.72|
|Magnesium, Mg (mg)||5|
|Copper, Cu (mg)||0.007|
|Iodine, I (mg)||0.024|
|Zinc, Zn (mg)||0.55|
|Natrium, Na (mg)||63|
|Manganese, Mn (mg)||0.012|
2. Fresh Unprocessed Meat Or Fish
If you want to build muscle you can’t go wrong with a steak a day.
Well, unless you’re a vegetarian, I guess.
Fresh unprocessed meat is a great source of protein. So is fish.
- Chicken is great because it’s rich in fat-soluble vitamins A,D and E. It also contains many B vitamins and important minerals such as iron and phosphorus. Since it’s very poor in connective tissue, poultry is easily digestible.
- Beef is also a great choice – it contains zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Half of the fat found in beef is monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fat helps reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood thus lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Pork is good because it provides iron and B vitamins. It also provides zinc which is essential for the creation of new cells. Normal growth and development depend on getting enough of it in your diet.
- Salmon is great because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to your heart health, brain function, joints and general wellbeing.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Chicken Breast||Beef Steak||Pork Chops||Smoked Salmon|
|Total Fat (g)||3.6||6||8||4.3|
|Saturated Fat (g)||1||2.7||2.8||0.9|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||0.8||0.7||1.4||1|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||1.2||3.1||3.4||2|
|Trans fat (g)||0||0.3||0.1||0|
3. Brown rice
Brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are considered good because they take the body more time to break down because of the way they’re structured.
They have a lower glycemic index which means they don’t spike blood glucose as high, and release sugars in a more consistent rate throughout the day instead.
Brown rice is also rich in manganese and anti-oxidants.
Manganese helps the body synthesize fats and contributes to the nervous and reproductive systems.
Anti-oxidants neutralize and remove the free radicals from the bloodstream, and benefit your immune system and skin health.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Cooked Brown Rice|
|Total Carbohydrates (g)||23|
|Dietary Fiber (g)||1.8|
|Total Fat (g)||0.9|
|Saturated Fat (g)||0.2|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||0.3|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||0.3|
Nuts make for a great snack. They’re rich in healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids which we’ve already discussed above.
Nuts provide vitamin E which helps stop the development of plaques in your arteries thus preventing chest pain, coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
Some nuts also contain plant sterols – a substance which helps lower cholesterol.
Another nutrient nuts provide is l-arginine, which contributes to the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.
- Peanuts contain the most protein. That’s why I personally like them as a way to help hit my daily protein needs.
- Almonds contain the most fiber which helps prevent diabetes and lowers cholesterol.
- Cashews are very rich in zinc, iron and magnesium. They help prevent anemia, they contribute to immune health and healthy vision, and they improve memory.
- Hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats.
- Walnuts contain the most anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Peanuts||Almonds||Cashews||Hazelnuts||Walnuts|
|Total Fat (g)||49||49||44||61||65|
|Saturated Fat (g)||7||3.7||8||4.5||6|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||16||12||8||8||47|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||24||31||24||46||9|
|Total Carbohydrate (g)||16||22||30||17||14|
|Dietary Fiber (g)||8||12||3.3||10||7|
5. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and other nut butters are another great choice if you want to gain weight as they’re very calorie-dense and you can add them to anything if you want to increase your caloric intake.
A lot of the health benefits associated with peanut butter come from the healthy monounsaturated fats it contains.
Peanut butter is also rich in manganese and niacin.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Peanut Butter|
|Total Fat (g)||50|
|Saturated Fat (g)||10|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||14|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||24|
|Total Carbohydrate (g)||20|
|Dietary Fiber (g)||6|
6. Whole Milk
Whole milk is a great way to add more calories to your diet if you’re already eating as much as you can.
It’s liquid which makes it easier to consume on top of the solid meals you’re already eating.
Make sure you get whole milk.
The popular myth about saturated fats being “bad” has been disproved as studies have found no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.
In fact, there’s research suggesting saturated fats may increase testosterone levels, especially in strength training individuals.
Milk is also rich in nutrients such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Whole Milk|
|Total Fat (g)||3.2|
|Saturated fat (g)||1.9|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||0.2|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||0.8|
|Total Carbohydrate (g)||4.8|
7. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another great snack to add to your diet if you’re trying to gain weight.
It’s a great source of protein and it’s also rich in vitamin B-12, calcium and phosphorus.
Again, make sure it’s from whole milk.
|Nutrients Per 100g||Cottage Cheese|
|Total Fat (g)||4.3|
|Saturated fat (g)||1.7|
|Polyunsaturated fat (g)||0.1|
|Monounsaturated fat (g)||0.8|
|Total Carbohydrate (g)||3.4|
Getting enough calories in is essential if you want to pack on any significant amount of muscle mass.
So make sure you include these 7 calorie-dense power foods in your diet and you’ll be growing in no time.