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Nutrition & Dieting/kcal and gaining weight


Dear Laurie,

I'm one of those people who need to gain weight instead of lose weight. I weigh 52kg and am 170cm tall. BMI 18.0.

First, I wanted to ask you something which I'm certain I must have gotten wrong:

-The recommended daily intake for men is 2,500kcal per day.
-A serving of Chicken fried rice contains 230kcal.

By that logic, even if I eat a ridiculous 10 plates of Chicken fried rice a day I would still be 200kcal short of the average. That can't be right.

Second, what diet do you recommend?

Thanks in advance

Hello Stan,

The figures you present are accurate, but they are both very general. Depending on the number of calories you eat now, you might be able to gain weight with 2200 kcal per day instead of 2500. If you have been at this weight for a while now, you may be used to eating 1700-1900 kcal so you would want to increase your intake by 500 kcal per day and see how that goes for you. This would estimate one pound per week weight gain, so it's something you really have to stick with for many weeks until you see results and know how it is working.

A serving of chicken fried rice could quite possibly have 230 kcal, but note what they call 'one serving' and note how much you actually eat. It's quite possible you eat 2 of what they call a serving.
A candy bar may also have 230 kcal, but no one eats 10 candy bars a day! People get overweight because they eat a candy bar every day in addition to eating the calories they need for maintenance.

Likewise, you are going to have to add 300 or 400 kcal to what you've already been eating in order to promote weight gain. You might try taking an extra few bites at every meal, adding a calorie-containing beverage such as milk or juice with meals, and adding a couple of between-meal snacks. These could be a miniature meal, or a bowl of fruit and some cheese, or a half-sandwich or some sort of sweet.
You might also find a supplement beverage--I'm not sure what you have available in your country. We have milkshake-type drinks like Ensure, Sustacal, Carnation Instant Breakfast and others that provide 200-300 kcal in one serving, along with some protein.

Since I don't know your situation at all, you also have to take into account your age (it often takes men getting well into their 20's until they fill out), your genetics (are both your parents also of slight build?), your appetite (do you eat a health serving at each meal, 3 times per day?), and your activity (the more active you are, the more calories your body will require). Aside from that, I must assume there are no physical illnesses that are preventing you from gaining weight.

As you get started with your plan, stay in touch and let me know how things are going and perhaps we can continue to tweak your program to keep things on track!

Good luck!

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Laurie Beebe, MS, RD, LD


As a registered dietitian (RD)I am fully qualified to accurately answer questions regarding weight loss, including those from people with health conditions requiring dietary restrictions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) who want to lose weight, or who have been advised to do so by their physician.


I have been a registered dietitian for over 30 years and have a certificate in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration at Level 1 and Level 2. I am also trained in coaching through Coach U and currently work as a diet coach to help people lose weight the healthy way, through gradual habit changes.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition Entreprenuers, St.Louis International Coach Federation, Toastmasters

Publications,,,, Today's Dietitian

Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, 1983; Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University 1985; Certificate in Adult Weight Management 2006; CoachU core essentials grad 2007; Level 2 certificate in Adult Weight Management 2010.

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