Eating 3000 calories a day and gaining weight can be accomplished, if you consume more calories than you burn. For some people such as athletes, weight gain is needed to build muscle mass and decrease body fat. For others, gaining weight is essential for medical reasons.
3000-Calorie Diet Nutrition
Fats, proteins and carbohydrates are macronutrients, found in whole foods, that are required by the body, daily and in large amounts. The National Academy of Sciences explains that while a person's gender and age play an important role in determining their macronutrient needs, lifestyle and health may be equally as important.
Based on these criteria, guidelines called the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) were developed. They provide individuals with the ability to keep track of the macronutrients required in diets like the 3000-calorie meal plan.
The recommended percentage breakdown of macronutrients for adults is: 10 to 35 percent of a daily calories from protein, 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates and 20 to 35 percent from fats.
The amount of different macronutrients required when consuming 3000 calories a day will vary, based on the macronutrient in question. One gram of protein and one gram of carbohydrates both offer 4 calories of energy. A single gram of fat has 9 calories of energy, a little more than double.
To maintain a 3000-calorie diet, an individual will need to consume 75 to 262.5 grams (300 to 1050 calories) of protein, 337.5 to 487.5 grams (1350 to 1950 calories) of carbohydrates and 66.7 to 116.7 grams (600 to 1050 calories) of fat.
According to a November 2014 review published in Nutrition & Metabolism, 3000-calorie meal plans that are high in protein can help the body preserve muscle mass while still losing weight. The American Council on Exercise explains that individuals looking to gain lean muscle mass and decrease body fat should consume at least 25 to 30 percent of their daily calories in the form of protein.
3000-Calorie Diet Side Effects
Too much protein can have a negative effect on people with liver disease. According to MedlinePlus, the liver is an essential organ for processing proteins into amino acids. But in patients with liver disease, an excess of protein when consuming 3000 calories daily often may result in a build-up of toxic waste materials that can eventually affect the brain.
Read more: Calories Per Day to Lose 3 Pounds Per Week
A 3000-calorie diet may work help you gain weight. However, it should not be considered a long-term diet plan, unless you have a particularly-active lifestyle.
According to the 2015-2020 Edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 3000-calorie meal plans are primarily recommended for both adolescent and older males, up to the age of 35. As adults age, the body's basal metabolic rate decreases, resulting in an overall decrease in the recommended daily calorie intake.
Not all 3000-calorie meal plans are created equally. Individuals eating a diet high in carbohydrates and fats will no doubt gain weight, but focusing mainly on foods high in carbohydrates may not be a good thing. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a diet rich in high-glycemic foods such as candy and chips can cause blood sugar levels to spike rapidly. This, over time, produces more insulin, eventually leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
3000-Calorie Meal Plan Options
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the best high-calorie foods for weight gain include oils such as olive oil and peanut oil, whole nuts like peanuts and walnuts, as well as avocados, honey, chia and sunflower seeds. These foods are typically full of unsaturated fats, which may lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers of an August 2017 study published in Nutrition Journal.
Read more: Runner's Caloric Intake
Other high-calorie foods for bulking include fish, like salmon and tuna, in oil. Whole milk and yogurt — the full-fat variety — offer both higher calories and added protein for an individual's diet.
A lunchtime meal of a turkey sandwich with a 3-ounce serving of meat along with avocado and mayonnaise will offer 525 calories and 15 grams of protein, explains the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The ACE list of high-calorie foods for weight gain includes trail mix with dried fruits, or peanut butter on whole-grain bread and crackers.
- National Academy of Sciences: "Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application”
- Nutrition & Metabolism: "A High-Protein Diet for Reducing Body Fat: Mechanisms and Possible Caveats”
- American Council on Exercise: "How to Determine the Best Macronutrient Ratio for Your Goals"
- MedlinePlus: “Diet - Liver Disease"
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: “2015-2020 Edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “There’s No Sugar-Coating It: All Calories Are Not Created Equal"
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: "Healthy Ways to Add Calories”
- Nutrition Journal: “A Healthy Approach to Dietary Fats: Understanding the Science and Taking Action to Reduce Consumer Confusion"
- American Council on Exercise: "Diet Tips for Gaining Weight"