Fact checkedFact Checked

This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.


How To Slow Down Metabolism To Gain Weight: 5 Tips To Know 2022

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Slow Down Metabolism & Maintain Pounds

It can be a challenge maintaining or holding onto any weight gain if you have a fast metabolism. However, if you are looking to bulk up, you can take supplements to promote digestion and use methods to slow down your metabolism. The body’s rate of metabolic activity impacts the growth rate of muscle mass, how the body utilizes energy, and the immune system. It is vital to find safe, effective ways to slow down metabolism to gain weight and stay healthy.

How To Slow Down Your Metabolism To Gain Weight

There are no surefire methods to slow down the body’s natural metabolism rate. However, you can do certain things to increase weight gain and slow down metabolic activity. Try the following ideas to encourage increasing weight and slowing down weight loss.

  1. Choose nutrient-rich foods high in calories.
  2. Consume more calories than you burn throughout the day
  3. Take a high-calorie supplement
  4. Eat larger, more frequent meals
  5. Space your meals out

About Your Metabolism Rate

As you go about your day, whether you are engaged in more strenuous activities, sedentary, or sleeping, your body will burn a set number of calories. People who have a fast metabolism tend to have a thinner or leaner frame, enjoy easy weight loss, and have difficulty holding onto any weight gained. 

For many people, having a rapid metabolism is valued because of difficulty losing weight and treating obesity. However, if you are trying to increase muscle mass or gain extra weight, a fast metabolism can be a hindrance.

Although muscle weighs more than fat because the body burns more calories when at rest[1], more muscle can equal a rapid metabolism. The body needs to burn off calories to break down food, maintain everyday functions, and during physical activities. 

Because metabolic rate varies from person to person, it can be tricky influencing metabolism to slow down. One’s metabolic rate can be inferred by reviewing genetics, age, and how much muscle or fat one has. However, it may take a combined effort of multiple methods to taper down metabolism.

On a positive note, most people have a slower metabolism as they age. When you eat certain foods, change how much you work out and the level of intensity, and intermittently shift your dietary habits, it may keep your metabolism low. 

As much as people can figure out weight loss ideas, you can figure out how to gain weight as well. The key is to learn how your body naturally responds to diet, exercise, sleep, and other elements to hold onto weight successfully.

5 Ways To Slow Down Your Metabolism

After making some strides in weight gain, it can be challenging to hold onto any new increases and not lose weight if you have a fast metabolism. If you want to build muscle mass or bulk up your frame, try using the following healthy methods to pack on weight and keep your metabolism reduced.

Include Nutrient-Dense Foods High in Calories

Eating more nutrient-dense foods is a safe and effective way to satisfy hunger and increase weight gain. Try adding more of the following foods to your diet.

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seafood

Consume More Calories Than You Burn

Make the change to eat more instead of wanting to stick to an established calorie intake and dietary habits. It can be easy to skip meals and take in fewer calories. However, it is beneficial to eat more calories[2] than you will burn throughout the day so as to not lose weight. 

Add high-energy foods that are high in starch to help with gaining weight and encourage muscle growth. Change up what’s normally on your plate and eat more potatoes, beans, legumes, whole-grain bread, squash, and other delicious options.

Feel free to indulge in sweet treats, nut butter, rice, pasta, and protein shakes to bulk up your diet and help pack on the pounds. If you follow the recommended diet of 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day, add another 500 calories to your day. Eating an extra 500 calories[3] can equal gaining one pound after a week.

Take A High Calorie Supplement 

If you enjoy adding supplements to your diet, the right choice can help you add calories to your daily intake and slow down your metabolic rate. Look for health or energy supplements high in calories to feel full longer. 

Skip the urge to use a supplement as a meal replacement but add it to your day for a boost of energy and calories. You may find taking a supplement[4] that is high in calories will make it easier to hold onto any weight gained. Examples are Boost, Ensure Plus, and Boost Very High Calorie.

Eat Larger, More Frequent Meals

According to a study[5], eating larger meals or more frequently is associated with a higher intake of calories. However, there was insufficient data to support that doing this would cause weight gain.  If you consume more food than typical and more often, you may be able to increase weight gain over time because your digestive system will have to work harder to burn off calories. 

If you can, try to eat a large meal late if you skip breakfast or lunch, as eating at night[6] is predictive of weight gain. Or, make dinner your largest meal[7]. Regarding frequency, eating more often may cause weight gain, but individual results may vary. 

A study[8] focusing on athletes and their meal frequency to induce weight gain; however, the impact on body composition is still in question. This is because factors like genetics, absorption and digestion variation and metabolism differ between individuals.

Space Your Meals Out

It seems like it would have the opposite effect, but spreading out the time between your meals and eating infrequently may help encourage weight gain. Combine eating large meals that are higher in calories alongside allowing more than a few hours to pass before eating again.

Instead of eating 4 to 6 small meals[9] which excites metabolism and keeps energy levels high, stick to eating more food less often and skip meals. This is opposite to eating more food more frequently, but each strategy has its advantages. 

For example, recent research showed that college students who skipped dinner[10] were more at risk for being overweight. Skipping breakfast and lunch is not a predictive indicator of weight gain, but skipping dinner is.

Reasons To Influence Metabolism

If you have a fast metabolism, you might not be looking for ways to gain weight because you are interested in bodybuilding. For some with a fast metabolism, being underweight may cause or contribute more or less to the following health issues.

  • Infertility
  • Challenges to the immune system
  • Malnutrition
  • Increased risk of complications following medical procedures

Consult a registered nutritionist, dietitian, or your regular healthcare provider for suggestions on treating being underweight. It is critical to find safe, healthy ways to gain weight to prevent throwing your body into a vulnerable or dangerous state and experiencing high stress.

Other Healthy Weight Gain Tips

You may find it helpful to use a combination of methods to trick your metabolism into burning calories more slowly. In addition to using our suggested methods to slow down your metabolic rate, the following may also help encourage weight gain.

Be mindful about your health, nutrition, and how stress impacts your body and weight. Keep up with any methods that help you avoid weight loss and consult your doctor as needed. A doctor can better assess the needs of your body, track weight gain goals, and promote your health.


If you are trying to increase your body weight and fast metabolism is holding you from your goals, seek out healthy ways to reduce metabolic activity. Before making any sudden changes to your diet or lifestyle, seek the counsel of a certified, trusted healthcare professional or a doctor. 

The body can be sensitive to any sudden changes and may display unforeseen responses. If you increase or decrease scheduled physical activity, reduce hours of sleep, or drastically alter your diet and related habits, it can affect your health. Gradually make changes and take note of any results to gain weight safely.

+ 14 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Speakman, J.R. and Selman, C. (2003). Physical activity and resting metabolic rate. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, [online] 62(3), pp.621–634. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/physical-activity-and-resting-metabolic-rate/5A95292BD09F2716187EA51179CC7381
  2. ‌Katan, M.B. (2010). Extra Calories Cause Weight Gain—But How Much? JAMA, [online] 303(1), p.65. Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/185134
  3. Guth, E. (2014). Healthy Weight Loss. JAMA, [online] 312(9), p.974. Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/1900513
  4. ‌https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/53194324/s0959-8049_2801_2980582-720170519-7310-1i5n8ls-with-cover-page-v2.pdf?Expires=1637435559&Signature=TerT6usw6xBp5Kx2u60XustGGdbblh0MiE4XLbaZ20hx38bsKxpey7G0UC9a76xvcoPiBzf69Rq5b9de7a66X~2ltCCrQlRySt3GWD5YBPJNXCtH4tVVPQB9Lpuf7QRxzNuQUXQXTnaUTM~E6~pXTI~HnVig1Di7s8syoRs0WqzN4WJWf7rd8PWV6F~VyieErC5pnrQuAv2RaAa7NHuSavzJu336fHk3uGOJbRwCB8aBgHSlWO~6aiy6djPnrnqF5pXXDbOcYD7N1Y01NninIYWSrPyHNNr3FXciR993LE60cVFpfGjK8F4R19kSYIT8pOuQ~Hlxj6FrTf0EuuguIw__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA
  5. Higgins, K.A., Hudson, J.L., Hayes, A.M.R., Braun, E., Cheon, E., Couture, S.C., Gunaratna, N.S., Hill, E.R., Hunter, S.R., McGowan, B.S., Reister, E.J., Wang, Y. and Mattes, R.D. (2021). Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effect of Portion Size and Ingestive Frequency on Energy Intake and Body Weight among Adults in Randomized Controlled Feeding Trials. Advances in Nutrition. [online] Available at: https://academic.oup.com/advances/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/advances/nmab112/6409468
  6. ‌Gluck, M.E., Venti, C.A., Salbe, A.D. and Krakoff, J. (2008). Nighttime eating: commonly observed and related to weight gain in an inpatient food intake study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 88(4), pp.900–905. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/88/4/900/4650122?login=true
  7. ‌Kahleova, H., Lloren, J.I., Mashchak, A., Hill, M. and Fraser, G.E. (2017). Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study 2. The Journal of Nutrition, [online] p.jn244749. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/147/9/1722/4743530?login=true
  8. ‌Taguchi, M., Hara, A., Murata, H., Torii, S. and Sako, T. (2021). Increasing Meal Frequency in Isoenergetic Conditions Does Not Affect Body Composition Change and Appetite During Weight Gain in Japanese Athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, [online] 31(2), pp.109–114. Available at: https://journals.humankinetics.com/configurable/content/journals$002fijsnem$002f31$002f2$002farticle-p109.xml?t:ac=journals%24002fijsnem%24002f31%24002f2%24002farticle-p109.xml
  9. ‌Bone, Muscle and Joint Team (2018). How Small, Frequent Meals Can Help Athletes Keep Energy High. [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-small-frequent-meals-can-help-athletes-keep-energy-high/
  10. ‌Yamamoto, R., Tomi, R., Shinzawa, M., Yoshimura, R., Ozaki, S., Nakanishi, K., Ide, S., Nagatomo, I., Nishida, M., Yamauchi-Takihara, K., Kudo, T. and Moriyama, T. (2021). Associations of Skipping Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with Weight Gain and Overweight/Obesity in University Students: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Nutrients, [online] 13(1), p.271. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/1/271
  11. ‌CDC and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2004). vegetables help people to manage their weight? Can eating fruits and. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/pdf/rtp_practitioner_10_07.pdf.
  12. ‌Okada, C., Imano, H., Muraki, I., Yamada, K. and Iso, H. (2019). The Association of Having a Late Dinner or Bedtime Snack and Skipping Breakfast with Overweight in Japanese Women. Journal of Obesity, [online] 2019, pp.1–5. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2019/2439571/
  13. ‌ScienceDaily. (2021). Irregular Exercise Pattern May Add Pounds. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204094505.htm
  14. ‌Cleveland Clinic. (2020). High Calorie Foods: Snack Ideas for Weight Gain. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16555-snack-ideas-for-weight-gain

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Alex Smith is a NY-based content writer who enjoys covering natural health, supporting wellness, personal finance, history, and outdoor living. When he is not behind a keyboard living the wordsmith life, he enjoys visiting landmark destinations and bookstores.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Harvard Health Publishing

Database from Health Information and Medical Information

Harvard Medical School
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source


Database from World Health Organization

Go to source

Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology
Go to source


United Nations Global Compact
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database from U.S. National Library of Medicine

U.S. Federal Government
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Department of Health and Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
Go to source