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20 High-Calorie Low-Carb Foods for Healthy Weight Gain

weight management expert
Last updated on September 14, 2022
High-calorie low-carb foods - featured illustration.

If you fail to eat high-calorie low-carb foods, whether you want to gain muscle mass, lose weight, or combat a health problem, like increased blood sugar, you'll struggle to reap the benefits of a diet that is rich in calories but low in carbohydrates.

But fret no more because we put together a complete list of high-calorie foods that are low in carbs.

Contents

To find all the low-carb foods that are rich in calories, we studied each of the high-calorie foods, taking into account their caloric data, carbohydrates, health benefits, potential dangers of eating them, and more.

But that's enough talking.

Explore the list of high-calorie low-carb foods below.

High-calorie dairy

High-calorie dairy products are rich in calories but low in carbs because they contain many fats and tiny amounts of carbohydrates. Some dairy products have as low as zero grams of carbs.

Find the high-calorie low-carb dairy products below.

1. Ghee

Ghee, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 900

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving ghee is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Ghee is another name for clarified butter, which is obtained by evaporating the water out of butter using mild heat.

Just like butter, ghee is high in calories and low in carbs. Yet, ghee has 183 calories more than butter because it is 100% fat as opposed to butter (99% fat).

Don’t forget that ghee, similar to butter, is high in saturated fats, dietary fats that negatively affect your cardiovascular health if you consume too many of them.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 900
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume ghee below:

  • Add ghee to your daily coffee
  • Use ghee to baste fatty fish meat, red meat, or duck meat

Summary: ghee, a dairy product rich in fats, is a high-calorie low-carb food that can be consumed in the same ways as the classic butter.

2. Butter

Butter, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 717

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving butter is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Butter, aside from being associated with heart problems, is a versatile fatty dairy product that is high in calories and has zero carbs.

In terms of calories, butter is a high-calorie food because, given it’s full of fats, offers 717 calories per 100 g.

In terms of carbohydrates, butter is low in them since none of its calories come from carbs.

Yet, you want to eat butter in moderation because it has many saturated fats.

Butter consumption, according to a 1990 JAMA study, may increase your risk of developing heart problems.[2]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 717
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 1% protein, and 99% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 1 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 81 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume butter below:

  • Add butter and MCT oils to your coffee
  • Use butter to baste fatty fish meat, red meat, or duck meat

Summary: butter is a high-calorie but low-carb food that should be consumed in small quantities because it contains saturated fats, which may increase the risk of developing heart diseases.

3. Cheese

High-calorie low-carb types of cheese (Swiss, cheddar, cream, parmesan).

Calories/100 g: 350-420

Carbs/100 g: 1-12 g (1-12% of calories)

Bar chart proving some types of cheese are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Types of cheese such as Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese, are low-carb high-calorie foods that are also rich in other essential nutrients.

Regarding its calories, cheese is a high-calorie dairy product since many types of cheese, like cheddar and parmesan, have over 400 calories per 100 g.

As for the carbs in its composition, cheese is low in carbs because most types of cheese have less than 12% of their calories coming from carbs.

When it comes to comparing high-calorie low-carb types of cheese, Swiss cheese has the least amount of carbs (1 g of carbs per 100 g) while parmesan cheese has the most (12 g of carbs per 100 g).

Regarding health effects, according to a study about the role of cheese in nutrition and health, cheese is a rich source of essential nutrients and has a positive effect on blood pressure.[4]

One of the less healthy characteristics of cheese is that it contains saturated fat, which may increase your risk of heart disease.

Swiss cheese nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 393
  • Calorie breakdown: 1% carbs, 27% protein, and 71% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 1 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 27 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 31 g

Cheddar cheese nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 409
  • Calorie breakdown: 2% carbs, 23% protein, and 75% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 2 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 23 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 34 g

Cream cheese nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 350
  • Calorie breakdown: 6% carbs, 8% protein, and 86% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 6 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 6 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 34 g

Parmesan cheese nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 420
  • Calorie breakdown: 12% carbs, 28% protein, and 60% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 12 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 30 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 28 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume cheese below:

  • Make a cheese and avocado salad
  • Eat cheese with cooked eggs
  • Make aperitives using cheese and either bacon, red meat or duck meat

Summary: the Swiss, cheddar, cream, and parmesan types of cheese, while being rich in fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, are all high in calories but low in carbs.

4. Heavy cream

Heavy cream, a low-carb food with plenty of calories.

Calories/100 g: 340

Carbs/100 g: 3 g (3% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb levels of heavy cream.

Heavy cream is high in fats, low in carbs, and rich in calories but it can be dangerous for your heart if consumed without moderation.

In terms of calories, although it's 60 calories short of passing the FDA's high-calorie criterion, heavy cream, at 340 calories per 100 g, can still significantly boost caloric intake.

Heavy cream is low in carbs because only 3% of its calories come from carbs.

A downside of consuming heavy cream is that it may harm your cardiovascular health because it contains many saturated fats.

As proof, heavy cream, according to a PNAS research article, is one of the fatty foods with the most saturated fat, containing even more than animal products such as lard.[9]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 340
  • Calorie breakdown: 3% carbs, 4% protein, and 93% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 3 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 3 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 36 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume heavy cream below:

  • Add heavy cream to your morning cup of coffee
  • Dip dark chocolate in heavy cream

Summary: heavy cream is a low-carb, high-calorie food that should be consumed in moderation due to its high saturated fat content, which may raise the risk of heart disease.

5. Lard

Lard, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 902

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving lard is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Lard, obtained by rendering the fat of a pig, is a high-calorie food that contains 100% fat, so there is no room for carbs.

Specifically, lard is high-calorie because it has 902 calories per 100 g.

In terms of carbohydrates, lard is a zero-carb food.

Nevertheless, you should consume lard in moderation since, like bacon and pork cracklings, this food is rich in saturated fats (39 g of saturated fats per 100 g).

If you consume too much lard or pork fat, according to a study on the health impact of pork meat and lard, you can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. The same study recommends balancing foods containing saturated fats, like lard, with foods containing unsaturated fats, like avocado, rather than cutting fat completely out of your diet.[11]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 902
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume lard below:

  • Use lard to fry eggs and meat
  • Substitute butter with lard

Summary: lard is a high-calorie low-carb food that, given it is extremely rich in fats, should be consumed in small servings.

6. Oils

High-calorie low-carb oils.

Calories/100 g: 884-892

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving oils are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Oils, such as soybean, canola, and olive oil, are high-calorie but low-carb fluids because they are made entirely of fat.

Specifically, oils are high-calorie because they all have between 884 and 892 calories per 100 g.

In terms of carbohydrates, oils have zero carbs.

Nevertheless, you should consume oils in moderation since they are pure fat sources with no proteins or carbs and extremely high calorie levels. If you consume a lot of oil, you can end up without enough room in your diet for other foods with more nutrients.

As an outcome example of consuming oils, olive oil, according to a review of olive oil’s health effects, can reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.[13]

Soybean oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 884
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

Canola oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 884
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

Palm oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 884
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

Coconut oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 892
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 99.1 g

Olive oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 884
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

Sunflower oil nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 884
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 0% protein, and 100% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 0 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 100 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume oils below:

  • Pour olive oil over avocado
  • Use cooking oils to fry eggs and meat

Summary: although they should be consumed in small quantities, oils are high-calorie fluids that can successfully complement other low-carb foods in your diet.

High-calorie meat

Despite having low to zero carbs, high-calorie meats are rich in calories because they contain plenty of fats and proteins.

You should, however, limit some of these meats to ensure you don’t eat too much saturated fat or, especially if you like cured meats, increase your sodium intake to unhealthy levels.

Find below the low-carb meats with the highest number of calories.

7. Red meat

High-calorie low-carb cooked red meat.

Calories/100 g: 359-471

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving red meats are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Although they should be consumed moderately for optimum health, red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb meat are still great low-carb foods with plenty of calories.

Red meats are high-calorie foods because some types of beef, pork, and lamb have around (or more than) 400 calories per 100 g, which is FDA’s requirement for a food to be labeled high-calorie.

To get the most calories from your meat serving, you want to pick ribs, whether you prefer beef, pork, or lamb.

As for the carbs in its composition, red meat is one of the high-calorie foods with zero carbs.

Now, even though it’s high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, you shouldn’t eat too much red meat because it can have negative effects on your health.

High consumption of red meat – especially processed meat – according to a study of red meat’s negative effects on health, can increase your risk of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, cancer, and preterm mortality.[20]

Beef meat nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 471
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 20% protein, and 80% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 22 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 42 g

Pork meat nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 397
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 31% protein, and 69% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 29 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 30 g

Lamb meat nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 359
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 25% protein, and 75% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 21 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 30 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume red meat below:

  • Garnish red meat with avocado
  • Pour some olive oil over red meat
  • Dip red meat in mayo

Summary: besides being rich in fats, proteins, and other essential nutrients, red meats, specifically beef, pork, and lamb meat, are high-calorie foods with zero carbs that should be consumed with moderation given their potential negative health effects.

8. Fatty fish

Cooked low-carb fatty fish - salmon.

Calories/100 g: 231-262

Carbs/100 g: 0 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb level of fatty fish (mackerel, herring, salmon).

The fatty types of fish, like mackerel, herring, and salmon, are low-carb foods that have a medium number of calories.

Wondering why we added fatty fish to this list if they have a medium number of calories?

Well, although you won’t get a high number of calories from them, if you want to have fish, which are rich in essential nutrients (including proteins and healthy fats) in your high-calorie low-carb diet, you should at least choose the ones with the most calories.

Some of the fatty fish with the most calories are mackerel, herring, and salmon. All of these fatty fish are low in carbs since they contain zero grams of carbohydrates.

Regarding health impact, since they are high in healthy fats, fish, according to a study on the effects of fish consumption, reduce the risk of heart disease and sudden death, and lower mild hypertension.[24]

Mackerel nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 262
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 39% protein, and 61% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 24 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 18 g

Herring nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 250
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 36% protein, and 64% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 21 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 18 g

Salmon nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 231
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 48% protein, and 52% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 0 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 26 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 13 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume fatty fish below:

  • Coat fish in eggs
  • Eat fish with avocado on the side
  • Make fish and mayo aperitives

Summary: fatty fish, like mackerel, herring, and salmon, are a solution for people on a high-calorie low-carb diet who don’t want to give up fish just because they are not as rich in calories as other foods.

9. Bacon

Bacon, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 501

Carbs/100 g: 2 g (2% of calories)

Bar chart proving bacon is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Although it is high in sodium, bacon is a popular type of meat, especially at breakfast, that can fit high-calorie low-carb diets.

Regarding its caloric content, bacon is high-calorie because it has 501 calories per 100 g.

In terms of carbohydrates, bacon is a low-carb food since only 2% of its calories come from carbs.

Yet, you want to eat bacon in small quantities because it is high in sodium.

Sodium nitrites, as stated in a study about bacon’s nitrite concentration, can potentially trigger cancer.[28]

Generally, having a diet containing many salt-preserved foods, as pointed out by the Cancer Council Australia, can increase the risk of stomach cancer.[29]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 501
  • Calorie breakdown: 2% carbs, 32% protein, and 66% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 2 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 41 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 37 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume bacon below:

  • Combine bacon with some eggs
  • Pour a little olive oil over your bacon
  • Eat bacon with avocado

Summary: most often eaten at breakfast, bacon is a high-calorie low-carb food that should be consumed moderately because it is rich in sodium.

10. Sausages

Sausages, a low-carb food with plenty of calories.

Calories/100 g: 317

Carbs/100 g: 2 g (3% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb level of sausages.

Sausages, while being rich in fats and high in sodium, are low-carb foods with loads of calories.

In terms of their caloric content, sausages are rich in calories because they have 317 calories per 100 g, being only 83 calories away from meeting FDA’s official high-calorie criteria. Sausages made from pork or beef usually have the most calories.

Concerning their carbohydrate level, sausages are low-carb foods since only 3% of their calories come from carbs.

Yet, you want to eat sausages in small quantities because they are usually high in sodium and saturated fat.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 317
  • Calorie breakdown: 3% carbs, 23% protein, and 74% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 2 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 18 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 26 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume sausages below:

  • Have sausages with eggs
  • Coat sausages with mayonnaise

Summary: sausages, being low-carb foods with a good number of calories, should be eaten in small portions because they are high in sodium and saturated fat.

11. Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 680

Carbs/100 g: 1 g (0% of calories)

Bar chart proving mayo is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Mayonnaise, or mayo, is a fatty dressing made from eggs, oil, and vinegar that is high in calories and low in carbs.

In terms of calories, regular mayo, which is rich in fats, is a high-calorie food because it offers 680 calories per 100 g.

Mayonnaise is low in carbs since it has approximately 1 g of carbohydrates per 100 g.

Yet, you want to eat mayo in moderation because, since it’s made with egg yolks and oil, it can be high in saturated fat, which may have negative effects on your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 680
  • Calorie breakdown: 0% carbs, 1% protein, and 99% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 1 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 1 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 75 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume mayonnaise below:

  • Use mayo as a dipping sauce for meat, bacon, or sausages
  • Make deviled eggs

Summary: mayo is a high-calorie low-carb dressing that goes well with a variety of other foods but that should be consumed carefully because it is rich in saturated fats.

12. Eggs

Eggs, popular low-carb foods that are rich in proteins.

Calories/100 g: 155-196

Carbs/100 g: 1 g (2% of calories)

Bar chart proving eggs are low-carb foods with plenty of calories.

Eggs, besides being low in carbs, have lots of calories because their content is rich in proteins and fats.

Although they have a medium number of calories, ranging between 155 and 196 calories, (depending on how they are cooked), eggs deserve a place on this list of high-calorie low-carb foods because they are a popular and versatile breakfast food that’s rich in proteins.

Eggs are low in carbs because only 2% of their calories come from carbs.

Moreover, eggs, according to a study about eggs’ health benefits, elevate your protein intake, helping you build muscle, reduce hypertension, fight cancer, and more.[33]

What’s more, according to a comprehensive George Mason University review, eggs contain choline and lutein, both of which may improve your brain’s cognitive abilities.[34]

Last but not the least, eggs are one of the most effective weight gain foods for females. 73% of the women who gain weight successfully claim they eat eggs to do so.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 196
  • Calorie breakdown: 2% carbs, 30% protein, and 68% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 1 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 14 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 15 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume eggs below:

  • Combine scrambled eggs with avocado
  • Eat fried eggs with bacon for breakfast
  • Make deviled eggs

Summary: even though they have a medium number of calories, eggs, whether you like them fried, scrambled, or boiled, are a great option if you want more proteins from your high-calorie low-carb diet.

High-calorie low-carb snacks

With so many types of high-calorie snacks around, you can struggle to find the ones low in carbs. Yet, we found a few fatty snacks that you can nibble on whenever you like to boost your calories without leveraging your carb intake significantly.

Find below the high-calorie snacks with the lowest number of carbs.

13. Nuts and nut butters

High-calorie low-carb nuts and nut butter

Calories/100 g: 509-719

Carbs/100 g: 4-54 g (2-42% of calories)

Bar chart proving nuts and nut butters are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Since they are rich in fats, have decent amounts of protein, and also contain plenty of dietary fibers, nuts and nut butters are high-calorie snacks that can fit pretty much any low-carb diet.

Nuts and nut butters are low in carbs because all of them have less than 45% of their total calories coming from the carbohydrates in their composition. Pili nuts have the least amount of carbs while acorns have the most.

What’s more is that, as stated in a City University of NY review of dietary fiber, many of the carbs in nuts are insoluble dietary fibers, which are non-digestible, don’t release energy into your body, and have 0 calories.[36]

Therefore, nuts are even lower in carbs than the total carb numbers tell.

In terms of calories, all nuts and nut butters are high-calorie because they all have between 509 and 719 calories per 100 g.

To find the nuts and nut butters with the most calories, their nutrition facts and health benefits, how to eat them, and more, check out the top of high-calorie nuts and nut butters.

Some examples of nuts and nut butters are macadamia nuts, pistachios, peanut butter, and almond butter.

Summary: nuts and nut butters can significantly boost caloric intake without neglecting your low-carb high-calorie diet.

14. Seeds

High-calorie low-carb seeds.

Calories/100 g: 486-657

Carbs/100 g: 15-42 g (10-35% of calories)

Bar chart proving seeds are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Just like nuts, seeds are high-calorie but low-carb snacks because they are high in fats, have plenty of protein, and also offer a good deal of dietary fibers.

Generally, seeds are low in carbs because all of them have less than 35% of their total calories coming from carbs. Pumpkin seeds have the least amount of carbs (15 g/100 g) while chia seeds have the most (42 g/100 g).

Furthermore, just like it’s the case with nuts, many of the carbs in seeds, according to a City University of NY review, are insoluble dietary fibers, which are non-digestible and don’t increase your calorie intake.[36]

As a result, seeds are even lower in carbs than the total carb numbers show.

Regarding calories, all seeds are high-calorie because they all have between 486 and 657 calories per 100 g.

To find the seeds with the most calories and their nutrition facts, visit the seeds section found in the ranking of the snacks with the highest number of calories.

Some examples of seeds are flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds.

Summary: seeds, since they are rich in fats and have many dietary fibers, are high-calorie but low-carb foods.

15. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 598

Carbs/100 g: 46 g (31% of calories)

Bar chart proving dark chocolate is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Besides having positive effects on your cardiovascular system and mood, dark chocolate is a high-calorie but low-carb food.

Dark chocolate is a high-calorie food because it has 598 calories per 100 g.

In terms of its carb content, dark chocolate is a low-carb snack because only 31% of their calories come from carbohydrates.

As a health benefit, since it contains cocoa, dark chocolate, according to a University of Leeds review, has cardiovascular benefits, one of them being improved blood pressure.[37]

Moreover, dark chocolate, as stated in a review of the mood effects of chocolate and cocoa, can improve your state of mind.[38]

Yet, you want to eat dark chocolate in moderate quantities because it contains plenty of saturated fat, which, if intake is too high, may increase your risk of heart problems.

The American Health Association recommends that you should aim to keep your saturated at 5% to 6% of your total daily calories. For example, if you follow a standard daily diet of 2000 calories, you shouldn’t get more than 120 calories from saturated fat.[39]

To put things into perspective, 100 g of dark chocolate has 24.5 g of saturated fat, which translates into 98 calories.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 598
  • Calorie breakdown: 31% carbs, 5% protein, and 64% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 46 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 8 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 43 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume dark chocolate below:

  • Eat dark chocolate by itself as a snack
  • Mix dark chocolate with some nuts or seeds
  • Sprinkle dried coconut over dark chocolate
  • Use dark chocolate to make high-calorie drinks, such as hot chocolate

Summary: most often consumed as a snack, dark chocolate is a high-calorie low-carb food with healthy effects on your heart and mood that tastes delicious but should be consumed in moderation because it has plenty of saturated fats.

16. Pork cracklings

Pork cracklings, a high-calorie low-carb food.

Calories/100 g: 468

Carbs/100 g: 2 g (3% of calories)

Bar chart proving pork cracklings are high-calorie low-carb foods.

Pork cracklings, obtained by cooking pork skin rinds, are high-calorie foods that are full of fats, of which many are saturated, and low in carbs.

Regarding its caloric content, pork cracklings are high-calorie because they have 468 calories per 100 g.

In terms of carbohydrates, pork cracklings are low-carb foods since only 3% of their calories come from carbs.

Yet, you want to eat cracklings in small quantities because, like bacon, they are rich in sodium and have a considerable amount of saturated fats.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 468
  • Calorie breakdown: 3% carbs, 29% protein, and 68% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 2 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 34 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 35 g

How to eat

Find a few low-carb ways to consume pork cracklings below:

  • Have pork cracklings with fried eggs
  • Eat pork cracklings with avocado
  • Dip pork cracklings in mayonnaise

Summary: since they are high in sodium and also contain saturated fats, pork cracklings fit well in a high-calorie low-carb diet if they are consumed in small servings.

High-calorie low-carb fruits

Although most fruits are rich in carbs, there are a few high-fat fruits that have low carb levels.

Find below the low-carb fruits with the highest number of calories.

17. Dried coconut

Calories/100 g: 660

Carbs/100 g: 24 g (15% of calories)

Bar chart proving dried coconut is a high-calorie low-carb food.

Dried coconut, the desiccated version of the fresh coconut, is rich in fats, high in calories, and low in carbs.

The dried version of coconut is a high-calorie food because it has 660 calories per 100 g. Moreover, desiccated coconut is the dried fruit with the most calories in the ranking of high-calorie fruits.

Regarding carbs, dried coconut is low-carb because only 15% of its calories come from carbohydrates.

The downside is that if you eat too much coconut, you may increase your risk of heart disease.

The fat in the coconut oil (found in the dried form of coconuts as well), according to a Nature study, lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and raises good “HDL” cholesterol.[42]

Contrarily to the above, coconut oil, present in dried coconut, according to a Cureus scientific review, doesn’t decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol.[43]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 660
  • Calorie breakdown: 15% carbs, 3% protein, and 82% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 24 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 7 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 65 g

How to eat

As it’s the case with fresh coconut, you can eat dried coconut by itself as a snack, or mixed with nuts or dark chocolate.

Summary: dried coconut is a high-calorie low-carb food that should be eaten in small servings because it’s rich in saturated fats that may increase the risk of heart disease.

18. Coconut

Coconut, a low-carb food with plenty of calories.

Calories/100 g: 354

Carbs/100 g: 15 g (17% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb level of coconut.

Coconut, besides presenting some health risks, is high in fats, low in carbs and one of the fruits with the most calories.

This exotic fruit is low in carbs because only 17% of its calories come from carbs.

Regarding its calories, despite being 46 calories away from meeting FDA’s high-calorie requirement, coconut, carrying 354 calories per 100 g, can be a great addition to many high-calorie diets.

Too much coconut, however, can be dangerous to your health.

Coconut oil is full of saturated fats that raise "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, a fact which, according to the Circulation journal, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.[45]

Yet, science hasn’t yet completely labeled coconut oil, and thus coconut meat, as harming.

The daily consumption of 50 ml of coconut oil leads, as proven by a BMJ scientific trial, to increased "good" HDL-cholesterol levels.[46]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 354
  • Calorie breakdown: 17% carbs, 4% protein, and 82% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 15 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 3 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 34 g

How to eat

You can eat coconut meat both as a standalone snack or combined with other low-carb high-calorie foods, like nuts and dark chocolate.

Summary: coconut is a low-carb food that has plenty of calories but should be consumed in small quantities because it’s rich in saturated fats that may increase the risk of heart disease.

19. Avocado

Avocado, a popular low-carb food that is rich in healthy fats.

Calories/100 g: 160

Carbs/100 g: 9 g (19% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb level of avocado.

Avocado, besides being one of the few fruits that are low in carbs, has plenty of calories because of its heart-healthy fat content.

Although it has 160 calories, avocado deserves a place on this list of high-calorie low-carb foods because it’s one of the few fruits that are low in carbs. Moreover, avocado counts among the fruits with the highest calories.

Avocado is low in carbs because only 19% of its calories come from carbs.

Regarding its health effects, avocado, as stated in a Food Technology review, is effective at reducing cholesterol and preventing heart diseases because it contains omega fatty acids, phytosterols (reduce cholesterol), tocopherols (antioxidants), and squalene (natural skin moisturizer).[48]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 160
  • Calorie breakdown: 19% carbs, 4% protein, and 77% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 9 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 2 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 15 g

How to eat

Find a few ways to consume avocado below:

  • Mix avocado with scrambled eggs
  • Put avocado in a bowl of nuts
  • Sprinkle seeds over avocado

Summary: avocado is a versatile low-carb food that has a large number of calories for a fruit and packs plenty of health benefits, especially heart-related.

20. Soybean sprouts

Soybean sprouts, the low-carb vegetables with the highest calories.

Calories/100 g: 122

Carbs/100 g: 10 g (28% of calories)

Bar chart showing the calories and low-carb level of soybean sprouts.

Although they have only 122 calories per 100 g, soybeans deserve a place on this list of high-calorie low-carb foods because they are the only low-carb vegetables among the veggies with the most calories.

Soybeans are low in carbs because only 28% of their calories come from carbs.

Regarding other benefits, soybeans, according to a study on soybeans’ health effects, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and may combat different types of cancers, such as breast cancer.[50]

Nutrition facts

  • Calories per 100 g: 122
  • Calorie breakdown: 28% carbs, 26% protein, and 46% fat
  • Carbs per 100 g: 10 g
  • Protein per 100 g: 13 g
  • Fat per 100 g: 7 g

How to eat

To avoid any germs, don't eat soybeans raw. You can boil the soybeans and then consume them as a snack or as an ingredient in salads or soups.

Summary: soybeans are the low-carb vegetables with the most calories.

High-calorie low-carb foods sorted by nutrients

High-calorie keto (high-fat low-carb) foods

Since all of the high-calorie low-carb foods have more than 35% of their calories coming from fat, they are all a good fit for anyone on a keto diet, which focuses on high-fat low-carb foods.

No carb (zero carb) high calorie foods

Here is a list of the high-calorie low-carb foods that have zero carbs:

  • Ghee
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Oils
  • Red meat
  • Fatty fish

High-calorie high-protein low-carb foods

Here is a list of the high-calorie low-carb foods that are high in protein:

  • Cheese, like Swiss, cheddar, and parmesan
  • Red meat
  • Fatty fish
  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pork cracklings
  • Soybean sprouts

High-calorie low-carb low-protein foods

Here is a list of the high-calorie low-carb foods that are low in protein:

  • Ghee
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Lard
  • Oils
  • Mayo
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dried coconut
  • Coconut
  • Avocado

Benefits of eating high-calorie low-carb foods

High-calorie low-carb foods can have numerous health benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Gain weight with less effort (if on a caloric surplus)
  • Lose weight easier (if on a caloric deficit)
  • Decrease blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure

Now, since most of the low-carb foods that are rich in calories are also low-volume high-calorie foods, which means they tend to be less filling, you need to adjust the quantities you eat according to your goals.

For example, if you're trying to gain weight, you have a certain caloric goal that you need to hit. Passing it with a few hundred calories, which is easier to do with non-filling foods (like many of the high-calorie low-carb ones on this list), will probably make you gain too much fat. The solution: count your calories and stick to your daily caloric target.

High-calorie low-carb foods for different diets

Besides providing the benefits already enumerated, high-calorie low-carb foods can be great choices for people with special diets, such as persons suffering from diabetes and vegans.

High-calorie low-carb foods for diabetes

Since high-calorie low-carb foods have fewer carbs and thus fewer sugars, they can prove beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.

Before including high-calorie low-carb foods into your diet, since the amount of carbs is not a direct indicator of how much a food will raise your blood sugar, check the glycemic index of each food to see how much each of them spikes your blood sugar.

Additionally, we encourage you to talk with your dietitian about any food you want to add to your diet.

High-calorie low-carb foods for vegans

Here is a list of the high-calorie low-carb foods that are vegan:

  • Oils
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Dried coconut
  • Coconut
  • Avocado
  • Soybean sprouts

High-calorie low-carb foods for budget diets

Here is a list of the cheapest high-calorie low-carb foods:

  • Oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Flax seeds
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Cheddar cheese

For more affordable calorie-dense alternatives, check the list with the cheapest high-calorie foods.

Definition of high-calorie low-carb foods

High-calorie low-carb foods are foods that have over 400 calories, of which less than 45% come from carbohydrates.

Tip: when you're looking for low-carb foods with a lot of calories, avoid high-calorie low-fat foods because these are usually rich in carbohydrates.

How many carbs do low-carb foods have

Low-carb foods are foods that have less than 45% of their calories coming from carbohydrates.

To understand why low-carb foods have less than 45% of their calories coming from carbs, you first need to know that the daily total carbs you should eat, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), should be between 45% and 65% of your total daily calorie intake.[52]

As an example, if you follow a diet of 2000 calories, you should aim to get between 900 and 1300 calories from carbs. 1 gram of carbs has 4 calories.

Thinking further, any food that has between 45% and 65% of its total calories coming from carbs can be labeled as a medium-carb food since it fits the official recommendation.

As a consequence, low-carb foods have less than 45% of their total calories coming from carbs.

How many calories do high-calorie foods have

High-calorie foods are foods that have at least 400 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz) serving.

Frequently asked questions

What foods are high in calories but low in carbs

The foods that are high in calories but low in carbs are dairy products (ghee, butter, cheese, and heavy cream), lard, oils, red meat, fatty fish, bacon, sausage, mayo, eggs, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dark chocolate, pork cracklings, dried coconut, coconut, avocado, and soybean sprouts.

How can I increase my calories without carbs

If you don’t want to eat carbs but you still want to increase your calories, you need to boost your protein and fat intake. One of the best ways to do so is to start eating high-calorie foods that are low in carbs.

How can I increase my calories without gaining fat

Exercise and don’t increase your calories too much. If you exercise and you are on a caloric deficit, you will cut down your body fat. On the other hand, if you’re on a caloric surplus of around 200-500 calories, given you exercise regularly, you will most likely gain muscle rather than fat.

Which food is best for weight gain

The best foods for weight gain are high in calories and full of healthy nutrients. You can find plenty of such foods on the list of high-calorie foods.

Conclusion

Whether you need high-calorie but low-carb foods for breakfast, dinner, or quick daily snacks, you have plenty of choices. With foods ranging from dairy products (like cheese) and meats (like bacon) to fruits (like avocado) and snacks (like nuts), a high-calorie low-carb diet can fit even the most pretentious tastes.

Did we mention that among the high-calorie low-carb foods, which by the way are all proper for keto diets, you will find foods with zero carbs, foods both high and low in protein, and foods that can be eaten by people with special diets, like persons suffering from diabetes or vegans.

In the end, this list of high-calorie low-carb foods is here to show you that increasing your calorie intake while keeping your carb intake down can be a truly delicious process.

Sources

Unfold Today has rigorous sourcing principles adhering to the top journalistic standards, so our writers always look for official, experienced, and first-hand sources. Read more about how we keep our content trustworthy and updated by reading our editorial process.

Ideas for high-calorie diets
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