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How To Gain Weight On A Vegan Diet?

by Maggie
(Alexandria, VA)

How Can Vegan Men Gain Weight?

First of all, I want to say how much I enjoy your website and all the information you provide. You've been a real inspiration and have helped me lead a more healthy and kind lifestyle.

My husband and I have been vegan for the past two years. We feel great and have no interest in eating meat or dairy but my husband, who is 6'3", is getting a little too thin. Lately he's been eating double portions of food and exercising 3-4 times a week to try to build more muscle mass. What other tips can you provide for ways he can gain 5-10 pounds?

First of all, thanks for the compliments! I'm glad you like the site. Congratulations to you on changing your lifestyle.

Second of all, this is a great question. Many people struggle with losing weight and find the vegan lifestyle as a great answer to their problems. However, sometimes a thin person might struggle with the opposite problem and might need to gain weight on a vegan diet. I know this is a sensitive topic for men too, who often want to maintain a strong physique and not be too thin.

You are on the right track. He probably needs to eat larger portions. The weight loss/gain challenge is not all about calories (of course), but generally speaking, the more calories you consume, the more likely you are to gain weight. However, as evidenced by The China Study, many cultures have a history of consuming more calories than other cultures but still are much thinner.

Instead of simply eating more calories, he also needs to consume more dense calories filled with healthy fats. Great sources of healthy fats are nuts, avocados, coconuts, seeds and olives. These foods are rich in monounsaturated fats and protein and will give your husband tons of energy. He should pack a bag of nuts and seeds and keep them at his desk to snack on throughout the day.

Also, for years nutritionists have recommended that we stay away from saturated fats. However, recent research shows that coconut oil is a rare exception. Though it is high in saturated fats, it is one of the healthiest oils on Earth. It is composed of medium-chain triglycerides rather than the long-chain triglycerides in things like milk, eggs, and vegetable oils. That’s all fancy nutritional jargon for the fact that coconut oil doesn’t harm your cholesterol levels and protects against heart disease. Consider it an entirely different type of oil, and add it into your diet. You can use it for cooking as well as baking, and you can use coconut milks to substitute for other types of non-dairy milks.

If your husband has a high metabolism, he will burn all those calories off much quicker, so he will simply need to more often. Every couple hours, when he gets hungry, he should have a snack. This is also where his weight lifting will come in handy. As a male, he needs good portions of whole grains and beans, as well as leafy greens, to ensure he has plenty of energy for building muscle.

Using these tips it should be no problem for him to gain 5-10 pounds. I would definitely recommend checking out some of the amazing vegan male athletes as examples. Brandon Brazier’s Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness and Rip Esselystyn’s The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds are both great examples for your husband.

Comments for How To Gain Weight On A Vegan Diet?

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gain weight as a teenage vegan
by: Sophia

Hi, I'm a 13 year old girl and two months ago I decided to make the switch to a completely vegan diet. I have been loving it; I feel better about what I eat and I have more energy than I used to. I've been very committed to making my own meals with all the proper nutrients that are essential to my body. I eat good portions of legumes, nuts, and soy every day along with fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Before I went vegan I weighed about 114 lbs, and currently I weigh 92 lbs. I have been progressively losing weight over the course of the two months that I have been vegan, and it has gotten to the point where my parents have become very worried about me. I believe I am perfectly fine, but they do not. I see a registered dietician every few weeks, and recently she told me that I need to start at least eating dairy again in order to gain some weight. My body fat and lean body mass percentages are both very below average.

I try to eat well-balanced, large-portioned meals and at least two snacks each day. How can I start gaining some weight without having to eat things like eggs, milk, meat, etc.?

how to gain weight
by: William go

how can i gain weight when i am being a vegan? because i am losing weight even when i am sitting around only not doing hard works or any.

Raw diet, losing too much weight!
by: Hannah

I have been trying a raw diet (Hunza diet) for about a week now.

My two meals a day consist of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and I never stop eating until I’m full.

I am 26 yrs old, 5’2, have a freakishly fast metabolism, and usually weigh an average 95 lbs.

Since trying this new diet, I have lost 6 lbs, which according to my BMI means I am very much underweight.

Either BMI’s are inaccurate or I am doing something wrong.

I don't want to go back to eating a lot of meat, but neither do I want to end up in the hospital!

What am I doing wrong???

Please help!

calorie deficit
by: Shante

I am new to the vegan lifestyle and I am having a somewhat difficult time.

My issue is that I don't eat potatoes, pasta, bread, chips, tortillas, or cereal. I rarely will eat rice.

I'm wondering if I'm missing a part of this lifestyle that would allow me to exclude these items while still getting all the calories I need each day? (1400)

I'm losing weight
by: Fernando

I am losing weight since I started my vegan diet six weeks ago, and I am getting worried. I am 60 years old, my height is 5 feet 10 inches. I am eating carbohydrates, vegetables, beans, grains, legumes, fruits, cereals and many of the foods you recommend.

What can I expect? What can I do?

often underweight male
by: Joe

How do I maintain weight when I often fall underweight without dieting. My concern is that a only vegan diet will cause more problems. Can you explain how to keep up weight eating in your manner?

by: Anonymous

Eat more quinoa, as well. It is an excellent, safer protein source. It does not cause gas like beans and nuts can.

I add cooked quinoa in smoothies (use flakes for a faster cook or just soak in water, before adding to your smoothies). I also eat quinoa veggie burgers!

Adding avocado to your daily smoothie also helps! I'm female, 5 ft 2, and also about ten pounds underweight, and find this helps me.

Reversing heart disease Eselstien
by: Anonymous

In that book titled above
they want you to minimize your fat intake all fats oils etc. Who's right?

I'm losing too much weight
by: Anonymous

I have cut out animal products and I am losing too much weight. I need ideas for calorie dense healthy foods. I work as an RN on a 12hr shift so I don't think I'm keeping up with intake during this time. Please help.

I want to stop losing weight
by: Anonymous

I have been a vegan now for 6 months and enjoying everything, I have always been in good shape and enjoy excercising hard. I weighed 160 when I started this diet which is good for someone that is 5 foot 9 inches tall. Now I am down to 148 and keep loosing and I can live with it but my wife hates it. When will this stop? I still excercise hard but I don't want to lose anymore.

Coconut Oil Does Not Promote Weight Gain
by: Stan

Good advice on the saturated fat myth, but eating coconut oil specifically will not help you gain weight!

Many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing long-chain fatty acids in vegetable oils with medium-chain fatty acids, like those in coconut oil, results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.

The reasons are simple:

1. LCFAs nearly always are stored as fat, while MCFAs are burned for quick energy. Coconut oil has been compared to carbohydrates in its ability to be burned for energy. However, since insulin is not involved in the process of digesting the MCFAs in coconut oil, you won't get spikes in your blood sugar level like you get from refined carbohydrates.

2. Since the MCFAs in coconut oil also helps to stimulate your metabolism, you may naturally burn more calories each day, helping to accelerate your weight loss.

MCFAs promote what is called "thermogenesis," an increase in the body's metabolism. Professionals working in the livestock business have known this for quite some time. If you feed animals polyunsaturated vegetable oils just before slaughter time, the animals put on weight and produce more fatty meat. If you feed them coconut oil, they will be very lean.


by: John

Great article! Thanks for the advice. This is exactly what I was looking for.

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