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How to Gain Weight on Keto

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  Published on July 14th, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified June 26th, 2023
Woman eating keto to gain weight

While many people choose a keto lifestyle because they want to lose weight, this isn’t always the case. Some people are looking to gain weight in a healthy way while eating low carb because this diet enhances their mental clarity, increases energy, and lowers inflammation–among just a few of its benefits. [1] [2]

It can be a tricky balance to eat low-carb while still gaining weight, but a few simple strategies can help you put on the pounds that you need. Here are some tips and tricks for gaining weight on keto.

Eat More Calories 

The first and easiest way to begin slow and steady weight gain is to simply consume more calories without going over your carb count for the day. You can do this by eating more foods with few carbs, such as meats. Don’t go overboard with a higher caloric intake unless you need to gain weight rapidly.  

Most people will want to add about 300 to 500 extra calories to their diet for modest weight gain. These extra calories should be above and beyond what you burn via regular exercise. 

If you can commit to eating 500 calories more than you burn, you should gain roughly one pound each week with no other changes. [3]

Add Protein and Healthy Fats 

Another thing you can do to gain weight on keto is to supplement your diet with more protein. This technique expands on the one above, by essentially adding more calories to your diet. Many times, people turn to carb-heavy foods like bread and pasta to put on the pounds. However, keeping carbs low is essential on keto if you want your body to use ketones for energy. Aim to keep protein consumption to roughly one gram per kilogram of body weight. [4]

Eating healthy keto fats to gain weight

After protein consumption is in line, turn your attention to the fats in your diet. Incorporate more healthy fats into your daily eating habits such as those found in avocados, olive oils, dairy items like butter and heavy cream, and fatty meats and fishes.

The important thing here is to find healthy foods that have high protein and fat content. While highly-processed foods can also fit the bill, it isn’t the healthiest way to go about gaining weight while on keto. Keep processed foods to a minimum for healthy weight gain. 


For those who are interested in bulking up, adding an routine exercise to your day can be a good way to jumpstart weight gain. At first, you may lose weight as you shed body fat, but you will eventually start to gain. This is particularly true for those who are building up lean muscle mass through weightlifting and strength training. 

Muscle mass weighs more than fat because of its increased density. As muscle mass increases, so does your overall body weight. Plus, you lose any stubborn fat around your organs that can lead to other health problems like issues with the liver, diabetes, and more. 

Studies show that resistance training is key to increasing strength and therefore your lean muscle mass. Researchers recommend workouts that are roughly 40 minutes each week to get the best results. [5]

In other words, it doesn’t have to take much time to add exercise, but it can yield major results for your weight gain and health while preserving the benefits of the keto diet

Eat More Often

Eating frequently for weight gain on keto

People looking to lose weight often combine their keto lifestyle with another trend that promotes weight loss known as intermittent fasting. This approach reduces the window of time when you eat to just a few hours each day. However, the opposite approach can be taken if you’re interested in gaining weight. In other words, you need to eat more frequently. 

Try eating three to six meals each day with some snacks in between. You won’t see that weight gain is tremendous with this strategy but it can help you to gain a little more in a healthy way, especially when you eat high-fat foods that are nutrient dense. [6] This also makes it easier to increase your caloric intake for the day, allowing you to stack weight gain strategies. 

Gaining Weight on Keto 

It may take greater mindfulness, but the good news is that you can harness the incredible health benefits of ketosis without having to give up your weight gain goals. You can even reduce unhealthy fat in the body and still increase overall weight by eating a smart assortment of foods at the right intervals and combining the diet with exercise.

Learning how to gain weight on keto requires planning and preparation, but it’s more than possible if you want to reach a healthy weight. Consider how you can stack some of these strategies today.

Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.



Tillery, E. E., Ellis, K. D., Threatt, T. B., Reyes, H. A., Plummer, C. S., & Barney, L. R. (2021). The use of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. The mental health clinician, 11(3), 211–219. https://doi.org/10.9740/mhc.2021.05.211


Ruskin, D. N., Sturdevant, I. C., Wyss, L. S., & Masino, S. A. (2021). Ketogenic diet effects on inflammatory allodynia and ongoing pain in rodents. Scientific reports, 11(1), 725. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80727-x


High-Calorie Foods: Snack ideas for weight gain. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16555-snack-ideas-for-weight-gain 


Wu G. (2016). Dietary protein intake and human health. Food & function, 7(3), 1251–1265. https://doi.org/10.1039/c5fo01530h


Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 51(1), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764


Padavinangadi, A., Xuan, L. Z., Chandrasekaran, N., Johari, N., Kumar, N., & Jetti, R. (2017). The Impact of Eating and Exercise Frequency on Weight Gain - A Cross-Sectional Study on Medical Undergraduate Students. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 11(2), IC01–IC03. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/25346.9458

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