How Many Carbs Should I Eat To Gain Weight


How Many Carbs Should I Eat To Gain Weight? Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, so when people say carbohydrates should be eaten in moderation it’s easy to think they need to be cut out completely. But is this really the case? Let’s take a look at how many carbs you need and how many of these can be included in your diet to help you gain weight.

Carbohydrates are essential macronutrients that the body needs to function properly. All carbohydrate sources contain different amounts of calories, with sugar, for example, having a higher amount of calories per gram than vegetables.

How Many Carbs Should I Eat To Gain Weight

Types of carbs

Carbs (carbs) can be utterly perplexing. While some sources assert that eating carbohydrates might impede weight loss and lead to weight gain, others assert that carbohydrates are a necessary component of every diet.

Despite contradicting advice, the truth is that eating too many calories causes weight gain, not carbohydrates. Therefore, the type of carbs you eat, how much you eat, and what you substitute them with if you decide to reduce your intake are the key factors when it comes to carbs and weight gain.

Continue reading to find out more about carbohydrates and how to incorporate them into a healthy diet without piling on the pounds.

What Are Carbs?

In your diet, carbohydrates are crucial. When we consume carbohydrates, our bodies turn them into glycogen (sugar), which gives us energy. Actually, your body uses carbohydrates as its primary fuel.

A healthy adult should consume between 45% and 65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, with the remaining calories coming from protein and fat, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.One of the three macronutrients that your body needs for optimal operation is carbs, along with proteins and fats.

Types of Carbs

Different types of carbohydrates exist in various foods. Complex carbs are found naturally in whole foods, while refined carbs are manufactured to be included in processed foods. Although there’s really no “good” or “bad” food, not all carbs are created equal. Certain carbs are better for your health than others.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs tend to be high in fiber.

 They take longer to digest than other carbs, so they keep you satisfied and feeling full for a long time. Most of the carbs you eat should be complex ones. Examples of foods containing complex carbs include:

  • Beans
  • Green veggies
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Whole grains

For example, whole-wheat bread has more complex carbs than white bread, and brown rice more than white rice.

Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates, which are common in processed foods like white bread and cakes, should be kept to a minimum. A large portion of the fiber and nutritional content are removed during the refinement process, leaving you with sweet carbohydrates and empty calories that might cause weight gain.3 Because refined carbohydrates are broken down by your body so fast, you feel hungry again more frequently during the day, which increases your likelihood of overeating.

Examples of foods containing refined carbohydrates include:

  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Pastries

The Right Balance to Gain Weight With Protein & Carbohydrates

The Right Balance to Gain Weight With Protein & Carbohydrates

When it comes to weight, most of us focus on losing it. But, for some people, gaining weight is the goal. While that may sound like an open invitation to an all-you-can-eat buffet of pizza, ice cream and chips, it’s not quite that simple. As with weight loss, if you want good results, you need to make smart food choices, including the right balance of protein, carbs and even fat.

The Healthy Balance

Your health is mostly supported by the intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Carbohydrates provide energy, fat is required to absorb some nutrients, and protein helps maintain cell structure and build muscle. A good balance of all these nutrients is necessary for weight gain, which equates to around 10 to 35 percent of calories coming from protein, 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates, and 20 to 35 percent from fat. It may come down to taste and some trial and error before you find the right mix for you. If you’re having trouble, speak with your doctor or a certified dietitian to create a plan specifically for you.

Weight Gain and Calories

Adding healthy sources of protein may help you get the calories you need to gain weight. Plus, extra protein may support muscle growth, especially when combined with muscle-building exercises. Good high-calorie sources of protein include eggs, cheese, peanut butter, milk, Greek yogurt and tofu. You can easily sneak these calories in without significantly affecting your appetite. For example, making your oatmeal with milk instead of water, adding tofu to your smoothie or spreading peanut butter on your apple slices.

How to Add Protein Calories

Including protein from healthy sources may help you consume the calories required to gain weight. Additionally, consuming more protein may help muscles grow, particularly when accompanied with workouts that help muscles expand. Eggs, cheese, peanut butter, milk, Greek yogurt, and tofu are all excellent high-calorie sources of protein. These calories are simple to smuggle in without dramatically altering your appetite. For instance, adding tofu to your smoothie, using milk instead of water to make your porridge, or putting peanut butter on apple slices.

How to Add Carb Calories

Getting enough carbs in your diet is crucial when your goal is weight gain because it spares your body from using your muscle for energy. Healthy sources of carbs for your weight gain diet include whole grains, whole-wheat bread and crackers, wheat germ, dried fruit and 100 percent fruit juice. These carbs are both rich in calories and nutrients, which your body needs for healthy weight gain. Bump up the carbs and calories in your hot cereal by adding wheat germ and dried fruit, or mix your cooked quinoa with chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots for a nutrient- and calorie-dense salad.


You can do this by utilizing food labels, weighing your food on a scale, and consulting one of the many nutritional databases available online.

Even while it may initially appear tedious and like a lot of counting, weighing food becomes simpler with practice. After just a few weeks of practice, according to fitness expert Vince Del Monte’s essay “From Here to Macros: 4 Steps to Better Nutrition,” you can easily “eyeball” the amounts of calories and macronutrients. has also created visual guides to help you learn these skills:


No! Because they can induce an increase in adipose tissue, or fat, carbohydrates have a poor reputation. You’ll see that the calculator suggests consuming fewer carbohydrates to lose weight and more to grow muscle. But if added to a diet in the appropriate amounts and at the proper times, carbohydrates can offer all the advantages at no extra expense.

The optimal times to eat carbohydrates are before, during, and after workouts so they can provide you energy and replace the glycogen you lose during lengthy training sessions, advises qualified dietician Paul Salter.

Another great time to carb up? Dinnertime. Many people think you shouldn’t eat carbs at night if you want to stay lean, but this is a myth. Not only will carbs after dark not hurt you, but eating most of your carbohydrates in the evening can actually help you lose fat and optimize your hormones.


For the most part, choosing complex carbohydrates from whole meals to fuel your day is the best option. Instead of causing energy spikes and crashes, these foods deliver energy that is released gradually. Sweet potatoes, brown rice, fruit, and starchy vegetables like peas and carrots are all excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and all have a lot of fiber to help them digest more slowly. Compared to processed foods, these foods also retain a greater percentage of their vitamin content.

However, simple carbohydrates have their place and time as well. Even supposedly “bad carbs,” such as some candies, aren’t always terrible. They can speed up the process of muscle glycogen restoration and repair when consumed during exercise or immediately after. In order to help you recover from your most recent workout and be ready for the next one, the sugar gets directly to your muscles.

Healthy Carbs to Gain Weight

Your diet should mostly consist of carbohydrates for energy. The National Academies of Sciences recommend that this account for between 45 and 65 percent of your daily caloric intake.

The body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source, so if you’re aiming to gain weight, you’ll need more calories.

The University of Colorado found that eating 500 extra calories a day may help you gain 1 pound a week. Whether those extra calories are made up of fat, protein, or carbohydrates is unimportant; what matters is that they come from wholesome foods.

Add Healthy High-Calorie Carbs

In addition to being high in calories, a nutritious high-calorie carbohydrate snack is also nutrition dense and rich in vitamins and minerals. For a high-carb, weight-gain diet, grains are a good, high-calorie option.

A cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, whereas a cup of cooked brown rice has 238 calories, according to the USDA. To add some healthful diversity to your meals, consider using barley, amaranth, or buckwheat.

Apricots, raisins, figs, and dates are just a few examples of the nutrient-dense, calorie-dense dried fruits. Dates have 208 calories per 1/2 cup serving, while raisins have 217 calories.

Your intake of calories and carbs can also increase if you include starchy veggies on your plate. A cup of corn that has been taken from the cob has 120 calories, compared to the 164 calories in a medium baked russet potato.

Beans, such as garbanzo, black, and kidney beans, are a wonderful source of protein and carbohydrates and can be used to increase the caloric content of salads, soups, and grain dishes. Kidney beans in a can have 215 calories per cup.

List of Foods for a High Carbohydrate Weight Gain Diet

Rice and bread are high-carbohydrate foods that can help you gain weight.

You gain a pound of body fat each time you consume 3,500 calories more than you expend. To gain weight at the rate of 1 pound per week, you need to consume an extra 500 calories per day. Many high-carbohydrate foods are good choices if you want to gain weight because they are high-calorie and provide essential nutrients.

Take Advantage of Dried Fruit

Dried fruit contains more calories than fresh fruit despite being fat-free and heavy in carbohydrates. For instance, a cup of fresh apricots has just 74 calories, compared to the 313 calories in a cup of dried apricots, and a cup of raisins has 493 calories, compared to the 104 calories in a cup of grapes. Dried fruit is a good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and dietary fiber, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevents constipation. Add dried fruit to yogurt, oatmeal, or cold cereal for a quick snack, and keep some on hand at home and at work.

Rely on Pasta for Carbohydrates

Pasta is a food that has a lot of carbohydrates but almost no fat. Whole-wheat pasta contains 37 grams of carbs and 174 calories per cup. Use extra-lean ground beef to make lasagna, spaghetti with meat sauce, or angel hair pasta and pesto sauce. Serve your pasta with a breadstick, some corn, or peas for more calories and carbs. Throw some spaghetti salad, avocado, onions, and bell peppers in a bowl for lunch, or stir cooked macaroni into a pot of soup. To obtain more natural nutrients, such as dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, as well as to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, choose whole-grain pasta as opposed to refined, white pasta.

Eat Bread With Any Meal

Due to its portability and versatility, bread is simple to incorporate into your diet and contains a significant amount of carbohydrates. Eat a large bagel for breakfast with peanut butter and banana slices, have a whole-wheat pita for a snack, and prepare subs or classic sandwiches for lunch. Additionally, you may serve dinner rolls with practically any main course, eat bread with salads, and rip up pieces of bread to add to tomato or onion soup.

Add Starchy Vegetables to Meals

The starchy veggies include peas, maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash like acorn and butternut squash. They contain more calories and carbohydrates than non-starchy veggies like lettuce and zucchini. 33 grams of carbs and 147 calories are found in one medium white potato. Serve chicken or steak with mashed potatoes and onions, sweet potato casserole with pecans, or soups and casseroles with corn and peas.

Carb Considerations

Some high-carbohydrate foods are lacking in important nutrients but are high in calories, which can cause you to gain weight. Soft drinks with added sugar and other drinks, including fruit juices, flavored coffee, baked goods like pies and cakes, and candies are heavy in sugar and carbohydrates yet have no health advantages. To gain weight, choose nutrient-rich, high-carbohydrate foods. Additionally, make sure your diet is balanced by including lean proteins like chicken breast and fish as well as sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oil.

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