A high-calorie low FODMAP diet is the solution for those trying to gain weight without increasing their stomach distress.
A diet low in FODMAPs is recommended for those that suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). However, keeping your FODMAP intake low can become challenging when looking to increase your calories. This is because a lot of high-calorie foods are also high on the FODMAP scale (like fruit, wheat, and beans).
As someone who is a Registered Dietician and also suffers from IBS, I understand the hassle of adding calories to my diet without producing any symptoms.
In this article, I share my favorite high-calorie and low FODMAP foods to help you on this journey.
What Defines A Food High In Calories and Low In FODMAPs?
Before we begin, we need to define what is considered a food to be high in calories and low in FODMAPs.
High-Calorie Foods (a.k.a Energy-Dense Foods)
Energy density is a relationship between the number of calories you find in a certain volume of food. For a food to be considered energy-dense, it needs a lot of calories in a small amount of food.
Thus, a cake is considered a high-energy-dense food (high calorie), while carrots are considered low in energy-dense (low calorie).
Takeaway: For the purpose of this article, a food high in calories needs to provide more than 100 kcal per 100 g of food.
Low FODMAP Foods
FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols”.
Basically, FODMAPs are a particular type of carbohydrate found in foods that are nondigestible (your body cannot process them). Hence, they go intact to your stomach, where they are fermented by your gut bacteria to cause gas.
Since FODMAPs also attract water into your digestive tract, they can cause diarrhea in some people. Although, in some cases, it can cause constipation (in others, it can cause both).
Takeaway: A low FODMAP food has a low content of fructose, lactose, mannitol, sorbitol, fructooligosaccharides, and fructans. To determine if a food is low in FODMAP, I use the MONASH app, which tells you how many grams of each carb it contains.
Best Foods High In Calories Low In FODMAPs
Here is a list of 15 foods that are high in calories but low in FODMAPs:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Rolled Oats
- Cheddar Cheese
- Dark Chocolate
- Brazil Nuts
1. Olive Oil
100 g of olive oil contains 884 kcal, 0.0 g carbs, 0.0 g protein, and 100.0 g of fats.
Thanks to the combination of oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil is a potent anti-inflammatory food.
Additionally, thanks to its high antioxidant capacity and its effect on lowering blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (more than 60% reduction), olive oil helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Since olive oil is high in fat and doesn’t contain any carbs, it is low in FODMAPs. However, if you are in an IBS flare, fat can increase the speed at which your gut moves, making the symptoms worse. Thus, consume in moderation if you are having severe symptoms.
If you use olive oil for cooking, choose virgin olive oil or regular rather than extra virgin olive oil. This latter one is best to use cold, for example, for salad.
2. Coconut Oil
100 g of coconut oil contains 892 kcal, 0.0 g of carbs, 0.0 g of protein, and 99.1 g of fat.
Although coconut oil is high in saturated fats (the not-so-healthy ones), it is mainly comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCT), providing several benefits.
MCTs don’t need to be digested. They go straight to be metabolized by the liver. This means that it can provide quick energy. An essential attribute for those on a ketogenic diet and looking to have some pre-workout energy.
Finally, it seems that people who often take MCT regularly have a reduction in their hunger levels.
Coconut oil can also be used for cooking since it can withstand high temperatures (unlike extra virgin olive oil). However, remember that variation is essential. Make sure to combine different oil during the day to get other properties.
Read more about MCT Oil in the following articles:
100 g of butter contains 717 kcal, 0.1 g carbs, 1.0 g protein, and 81.1 g of fat.
Thanks to its high calories, butter is one of the perfect foods to add when you want to increase your caloric intake without adding too many FODMAPs.
- Vitamin A and E are potent antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Vitamin D is essential for optimal bone health.
However, one of the drawbacks of butter is its high content of saturated fats. A high intake of saturated fats has been linked to an increase in heart disease. That is why the American Hearts Association recommends reducing the intake of saturated fats to less than 7% of the calories.
Try to have butter only once a day, and not make it the central fat that you use for cooking.
100 g of sugar contains 401 kcal, 99.6 g of carbs, 0.0 g of protein, and 0.3 g of fats.
Sugar is one of the carb sources you can include without worrying about your FODMAP intake. You can add any type of choice, whether raw, white, or brown sugar.
Having sugar occasionally is not bad. The American Hearts Association recommends having less than 10% of your total calories from sugar. This means having, on average for a 2000 calorie diet, less than nine teaspoons of sugar per day.
However, a diet too high in sugar without adding other healthy foods like whole grains, lean protein, and veggies can lead to diabetes.
To avoid spiking your blood glucose levels, whenever you have a high sugar food, make sure to combine it with fiber (veggies), healthy fats (nuts and seeds), or lean protein (protein shake). All of them prevent your blood levels from spiking.
5. Rolled Oats
100 g of oats contains 379 kcal, 67.7 g of carbs, 13.3 g of protein, and 6.5 g of fats.
Rolled oats (whole oats) mean that the original grains are first steamed and then pressed to flatten them. They cook faster and absorb more liquid.
Additionally, it is very high in fiber. 100g of oatmeal has 10.1g of fiber, representing 40% of the recommended daily intake. Studies have shown that the fiber found in oatmeal can help decrease cholesterol levels.
Also, thanks to its high fiber content, it takes longer to digest in the stomach. This means that you feel fuller for a longer time. In a study, people who added oatmeal to their breakfast felt fuller than those who added ready-to-eat breakfast (Honey Nut Cheerios).
Make sure to look for gluten-free oatmeal though. Although oatmeal doesn’t have any gluten, it might have been contaminated during the food processing by cross-contamination. This means that other gluten-containing foods are being processed at the same factory.
100 g of cooked quinoa contains 120 kcal, 21.3 g of carbs, 4.4 g of protein, and 1.9 g of fats.
Quinoa is very nutrient-dense (meaning that it has a lot of nutrients in a small portion of food). There are different quinoas: white, yellow, purple, or red. All of them have similar nutritional content.
Quinoa has an antioxidant called quercetin that helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Another advantage of quinoa is its high protein content. In 100 g of quinoa, you get 4 g of protein, the same as half a large egg. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but it is considered a ‘complete protein’ (having all of the amino acids that the body cannot produce naturally).
It is also considered to be a high-fiber food. It has 2.8 g of fiber per 100 g of product. Not only does it help increase your satiety levels, but it also helps maintain a healthy gut.
100 g of cornbread contains 248 kcal, 45.8 g of carbs, 4.3 g of protein, and 5.2 g of fats.
Most loaves of bread contain gluten since they are made with wheat, rye, or barley. Any food with gluten will be high in FODMAP. However, cornbread is a type of bread that is made with cornmeal, which means dried and grounded corn.
Regarding its micronutrient content, cornbread has 19% of your daily value of phosphorus. Since it is a good source of phosphorus, it is suitable for bone health and aids in energy production.
Additionally, it contains selenium, a good antioxidant that helps boost your immune system. It also helps in the production of thyroid hormones, which contributes to a well-functioning metabolism.
When choosing a cornbread, make sure that it has the gluten-free certification. There might be some additives or thickeners that contain gluten in some cases.
8. Cheddar Cheese
100 g of cheddar cheese contains 398 kcal, 1.9 g of carbs, 24.4 g of protein, and 32.6 g of fats.
Cheddar cheese has the advantage of providing a lot of calories without having too many FODMAPs.
It is a very nutritious source of protein. It has a 70% daily value of calcium. Calcium plays an essential role in bone health. Having a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, a disease that can lead to an increase in bone injuries and fractures.
One of the things to consider when it comes to cheddar cheese is that it is high in saturated fats.
Although you need some in your diet, having a large intake of saturated fats can potentially lead to heart disease. Thus, you want to make sure that you consume less than 7% of your total calories from saturated fats.
Although there might be other healthier types of cheese that are lower in fat. However, they may not be below in FODMAPs. Normally, a cheese lower in fat means that it has more lactose (which is one of the components that could cause symptoms).
Sometimes eating too much cheese can make you feel sleepy. Find out why
100 g of eggs contains 143 kcal, 1.0 g of carbs, 12.4 g of protein, and 10.0 g of fats.
Eggs are a very nutritious food, containing several micronutrients, including vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent birth defects, and it helps produce healthy blood cells. Riboflavin helps turn the food you use into energy that the body can use.
Another benefit of eggs is that they have two powerful antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These are essential for having good eye health.
One of the most frequent things that I hear is that eating too many eggs can produce high cholesterol. This is not true. A study done where people ate eggs daily found that 70% had no increase in cholesterol levels, while the remaining 30% had a minor increase. In the end, this depends on hereditary factors and lifestyle choices.
So for most of us, eating 1-3 eggs per day is perfectly fine. We’ve also published an article on how eating 4 eggs per day can be healthy.
100 g of Atlantic salmon contains 142 kcal, 0.0 g of carbs, 19.8 g of protein, and 6.3 g of fats.
Regarding its fat content, it is mainly composed of monounsaturated fats (33%) and polyunsaturated fats (40%). It has a low content of saturated fats (14%).
One of the most significant advantages of salmon is its omega-3 intake. In 100 g of salmon, you can find more omega-3 than you need per day since it contains 2.3 g (the general recommendation is at least 1 g daily).
It is also a good source of high-quality protein since it contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Some people don’t like the taste of fish. My recommendation is to leave salmon marinating in lemon and ginger to avoid having this issue. I can assure you that it tastes fantastic once it has been marinating.
100 g of bacon contains 548 kcal, 1.4 g carbs, 35.7 g of protein, and 43.3 g of fats.
The downside of eating bacon is that it also has 50% of your daily value of sodium intake. Having a high sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure.
It is 50% monounsaturated fats and 40% saturated fats regarding the fat content. Having a high saturated fat intake could potentially lead to heart disease.
Also, since it is processed meat, nitrates are added, which are compounds found to be carcinogenic.
So while bacon is high in calories, you just need to make sure you’re not overeating it because of the salt contents, the high ratio of saturated fats, and the added nitrates. My recommendation is to have bacon no more than 1-2 per times week to avoid any health problems in the long run.
12. Dark Chocolate
Those of you who are craving something sweet but don’t want the negative consequences of bloating due to high FODMAP food. Let me be the one to break the news that dark chocolate is low in FODMAP.
100 g of dark chocolate contains 598 kcal, 45.9 g of carbs, 7.8 g of protein, and 42.6 g of fats.
Regarding its fat content, it is composed of 57% of saturated fats, 30% of monounsaturated fats, and 3% of polyunsaturated fats. Remember that we want to consume more mono or polyunsaturated fats than saturated since they are healthier for our heart.
Dark chocolate is very high in antioxidants, even higher than blueberries. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body. Thus, it is essential to add them regularly.
Additionally, thanks to its antioxidant capacity, it seems that it can lower cholesterol levels and support your heart health. A study concluded that eating dark chocolate reduced 45-50% of the risk of heart disease in men.
When choosing dark chocolate, make sure that it has a low sugar content (hopefully no more than 10-15 g of sugar per 100 g).
13. Brazil Nuts
Not all nuts are good to have in a low FODMAP diet. Some of them are high in FODMAPs. Thus, before you add them to your diet, ensure that you check if they are ok to have. Brazil nuts, like macadamia nuts, are good to have since they are low in FODMAPs.
100 g of brazil nuts contains 659 kcal, 11.7 g of carbs, 14.3 g of protein, and 67.1 f of fats.
One of the benefits of brazil nuts is that it is very high in nutrients, including a 2739% daily value of selenium.
Selenium plays an essential part in your immune system. Thus, adding a high in selenium food, like Brazil nuts, helps boost your immune function.
Also, selenium helps improve thyroid function. The thyroid is one of the responsible for your metabolism to function correctly. Thus, selenium helps improve your metabolism.
Finally, a study was done in 10 healthy individuals where it showed that those that consumed 20-50 g of brazil nuts had a decrease in cholesterol levels which led to an improvement in heart health.
100 g of flaxseeds contains 534 kcal, 28.9 g of carbs, 18.3 g of protein, and 42.2 g of fats.
Flaxseeds are very high in fiber. In 100 g of flaxseeds, you get 27 g of fiber, representing more than the recommended daily value. As a result, this is an excellent food to fight constipation. They also contain a good amount of high-quality protein. In 100 g of flaxseeds, you get the same protein as two large eggs.
Most of the fats it contains come from polyunsaturated fats (68%), which is beneficial for your heart. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful to reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease.
In a study done where people consume flaxseeds for three months, they saw a reduction of 18% in their total cholesterol levels.
Flaxseeds can be used in several forms. You can add it to your water, ground it, and add it to your favorite baking goods, or add some water to create an egg substitute.
100 g of pecans contains 691 kcal, 13.9 g of carbs, 9.2 g of protein, and 72.0 g of fats.
One of the benefits of pecans is their high fiber content. In 100 g of pecans, you get 9.6 g of fiber, representing 38% of the recommended daily value. Thanks to its high fiber intake, it seems to help lower sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
In a study done over four weeks, participants were provided a diet high in pecans. During those weeks, people saw an improvement in their insulin response. Insulin is responsible for taking the sugar from your blood and entering your cells (thus decreasing sugar blood levels).
When choosing pecans, or any other nuts, make sure to have them low in sodium. It should have less than 140 mg of sodium to be considered lacking in salt. This can prevent having high blood pressure in the long run.
In the following table, you can find a sample menu of what a high-calorie and low FODMAP day should look like. Remember that you can adjust depending on your food preferences and availability.
As a recommendation, try to have as many mealtimes as possible. This way, you ensure not feeling too stuffed during the day, which prevents you from adding too many calories.
Remember to add fruits and vegetables, they are low in calories, but you still need to include them to ensure you are getting a daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Choose those that are low in FODMAPs to prevent any stomach problems.
20 g coconut oil
150 g eggs
50 g bacon
150 g rolled oats
25 g sugar
25 g pecans
150 g cornbread
100 g cheddar cheese
20 g olive oil
50 g brazil nuts
50 g dark chocolate
250 g of salmon
150 g quinoa
20 g butter
25133 g flaxseeds
Tips on How To Increase Calories Without Increasing Digestive Distress
Check FODMAP Levels on App
The most important part of adding food is to check whether it is high or low in FODMAPs. The best way to do it is through an app. Although several apps are available on the market, my trusted source always comes from the MONASH app.
It gives you detailed information about almost every food available. It uses the colors of a traffic light, indicating that green is low, yellow is medium, and red is high. Avoid those in the red group if you are prone to get constant symptoms.
One of my favorite things about the app is that you can find local products depending on your country, which makes it a lot easier to follow.
If you cannot find the food in the app, try to look for a certification that determines that it is low in FODMAP. If it doesn’t have a certificate, I would recommend avoiding it altogether to ensure that you won’t get any symptoms.
Increase Fats and Protein
FODMAPs are only found in carbs since they are unprocessed carbs. Thus, stick with fats and protein if you want to avoid having stomach problems when adding foods to your diet.
Oils are the best option when you are looking to increase calories without producing a lot of symptoms. However, keep in mind that certain fats like nuts and seeds can contain a small amount of FODMAPs, which is best to check on the app.
Chicken, fish, eggs, meat, and any other protein-based food contain no carbs, making them ideal for decreasing their FODMAP intake. However, if it is processed meat, make sure to read to the label since it can have some additives that could be high in FODMAPs.
Wheat, barley, and rye all have gluten, a protein that people with celiac disease cannot tolerate. It is also recommended to avoid gluten when following a low FODMAP diet since it can also cause bloating and gas in some people.
When choosing bread or pasta, make sure that it is made with gluten-free flour like lentil flour or rice flour. This way, you can ensure that it is probably low in FODMAPs.
Other High Calorie Food Lists
- Top 10 Foods High In Calories But Low In Sodium
- Top 10 Foods High In Calories But Low In Protein
- Top 10 Foods High In Calories But Low In Sugar
- Top 10 Foods High In Calories But Low In Saturated Fats
- High-Calorie Alternatives To Milk: 3 Dairy-Free Options
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.