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High Calorie Foods:
Are There Any Healthy Ones?

Some vegans, usually young men, search for high calorie foods to help them gain weight. Why do they become so thin? There are probably several reasons, which we list below.

  • Young males naturally have high calorie needs, and many vegan foods are low calorie foods.

  • Experienced vegans often take food with them when they leave home for any reason. Some young men may not plan ahead.

  • It is often hard to find vegan food in restaurants and small stores, so unprepared vegans go hungry.

  • Vegan food is rarely available at social gatherings, so unprepared vegans go hungry.

  • Many young men don't know how to cook. If they live with omnivorous parents, they may sometimes skip meals.
Whether you are trying to gain weight or lose weight, read this important information about the calorie content of foods before you finish this page. It will help you understand what we mean by calorie density.

High calorie plant foods

There are only a few unprocessed whole plant foods that have a high calorie density.
Maybe that is why a recent Seventh Day Adventist study found that vegans are the only population group in the U.S. that is not overweight.

However,overweight vegans do exist. Why? Because they eat too many of the foods in the following chart, processed or unprocessed:

High Calorie Foods Calorie Density
Green olives 41.1 cal/oz
enriched semolina pasta 45 cal/oz
avocados45.4 cal/oz
whole soybeans 49 cal/oz
soy tempeh 55.6 cal/oz
dried fruit 60 - 85 cal/oz
sprouted grain bread, burger buns, tortillas 65 - 75 cal/oz
processed grains (like whole wheat flour or white flour) 75 - 94 cal/oz
puffed whole grain cereals 100 - 115 cal/oz
coconut 100.4 cal/oz
rice cakes 107 cal/oz
granulated sugar 109 cal/oz
air-popped popcorn 110 cal/oz
nuts and seeds* 175 cal/oz
oils (including olive oil) 250 cal/oz

*Even though nuts and seeds are not low calorie foods, we can eat one Tbsp of ground flax seeds or one ounce of walnuts per day for their good omega 3 fats.

Overweight vegans must limit high calorie-density foods.....foods like bread, bagels, muffins, crackers, desserts, nuts, and especially oil. Our tastebuds love these foods but our bodies can't handle many of them. Most of these high calorie foods were not available to our ancestors. Even nuts came in a hard shell and it took time and energy to open them.

If you are a thin vegan who wants to gain weight, try to get your extra calories from whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, dried fruit and whole wheat flour products. Eat more cooked vegetables and not too many raw ones. Don't use oil and sugar for extra calories, as they are harmful to your health. And do some strength training to add muscle weight.

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