Foods and drinks that promote weight gain

Avoid high-calorie foods and sugary drinks

Limit consumption of energy-dense foods1 (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fibre) and avoid sugary drinks.2

Public health goals

  • Average energy density of diets3 to be lowered towards 125 kcal per 100 g
  • Population average consumption of sugary drinks2 to be halved every 10 years

Personal recommendations

  • Consume energy-dense foods1,4 sparingly
  • Avoid sugary drinks2
  • Consume 'fast foods'5 sparingly, if at all

1. Energy-dense foods are here defined as those with an energy content of more than about 225-275 kcal per 100g


2. This principally refers to drinks with added sugars. Fruit juices should also be limited


3. This does not include drinks


4. Limit processed energy-dense foods (also see recommendation 4). Relatively unprocessed energy-dense foods, such as nuts and seeds, have not been shown to contribute to weight gain when consumed as part of typical diets, and these and many vegetable oils are valuable sources of nutrients


5. The term 'fast foods' refers to readily available convenience foods that tend to be energy-dense and consumed frequently and in large portions