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Nutrition is a game mechanic in Project Zomboid redesigned and implemented in build 34. Each item of food has a quality known as nutritional value which is defined by four variables: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and calories. Each of these variables currently only have an impact on the player's weight, in which can affect fitness experience gain, endurance, speed and fragility while proteins give the "Protein Boost" for exercise. However, there were previous mentions that it would change the player in various other ways, such as strength and mental state, which are not currently implemented.[1]

Occupations & traits


Name Starting points Major Skills Description
Fitness Instructor Fitness Instructor -6 +2 Sprinting
+3 Fitness
Starts with the Trait nutritionist.png Nutritionist trait


Name Cost Starting Weight Description
Trait nutritionist.png
-4 N/A Can see the nutritional values of any food
Trait obese.png
+10 105 Slower running speed. Tire from running more easily -2 Fitness
Trait overweight.png
+6 95 Slower running speed. Tire from running more easily -1 Fitness
Trait underweight.png
+6 70 Low strength, low endurance and prone to injury
Trait very underweight.png
Very Underweight
+10 60 Very low strength, very low endurance and prone to injury
Trait emaciated.png
N/A 50 Low strength, low endurance and prone to injury
Not available during character creation

The Nutritionist: Can see the nutritional values of any food. nutritionist trait is only available during character creation, costing 4 trait points, or can be picked up for free when choosing the fitness instructor occupation. The nutritionist trait allows the player to "see the nutritional values of any food", which can normally only be seen on food that is packaged.

Nutritional value

Nutritional value defines how healthy a particular food is and the effects they'll have on the player's weight. By consuming just one type of food, the player may find themselves suffering from weight loss or weight gain, therefore altering their effectiveness to perform certain actions.


Weight is a player statistic presented on the Info panel, which can be toggled with the J key by default. During character creation, the player can choose between one of four traits which will determine their starting weight; if none are chosen, they will begin with the default weight of 80. Over time the player's weight may begin to vary from its starting value, in which depends on the nutritional value of the food they have been consuming. As the player's weight fluctuates, their traits will also change depending on their current weight. The game recognises that there are actually five different traits relating to weight, rather than just the four which can be picked up during character creation, whereas the default/normal weight is considered the absence of a trait.

The different effects caused on the player, along with their weight ranges can be seen in the table below.

Name Weight Range
100 or more
85 - 99
Normal 76 - 84
66 - 75
Very Underweight
Very Underweight
51 - 65
50 or less

Note that the emaciated trait and degeneration currently only exists in the game mechanics and therefore have no visual representation in-game.

Having either of the five traits listed above (excluding normal) gives the player an attribute recognised as "has weight trouble". A player with this attribute will not gain any fitness experience beyond level 6, whereas having the emaciated, obese or very underweight trait, they will lose the ability to gain fitness experience altogether, regardless of the current level. Experience will return to normal upon losing/gaining some weight, i.e. removing the trait.

There is also evidence within the "Nutrition.class" file that the sex of the player will have an influence on weight loss and the normal weight definition of a female, indicating a value of 60, however this is not currently implemented.

Gaining weight

Gaining weight is usually undesirable, as it grants the player slower movement speed and loss of fitness. However, weight gain may be needed if the player is already underweight, which has its own set of negative effects. Weight gain can be helped by avoiding physical exercise, such as running and climbing, and instead to sleep often, which can be helped with the restless sleeper and sleepyhead traits. Consuming 1700 or more carbohydrates or fats in a day will put the player's weight gain into the highest bracket for potential weight gain, with the alternative bracket being over 1200. Daily calories however, will vary depending on the player's current weight and physical exercise; the following calculation can be used to determine how many calories need to be consumed if only running:

Calculation GainWeight.png

Note that the "c" represents current calories, whereas "w" represents weight.

As a general example: a player with a weight of 80, that only ever runs and consumes 1700 carbohydrates or fats and 1600 (or more) calories, will result in a weight of 83 after a day.[verify]

Losing weight

Too much weight loss can lead to reduced strength and endurance and the player can become more prone to injury. Losing weight is desirable if the player happens to be overweight. Weight can be lowered by climbing over fences and through windows, chopping trees, sprinting instead of walking and avoiding sleep, which can be helped with the wakeful trait. The biggest factor in losing weight is the type of food eaten; avoiding food would lead to death. The best foods to eat are those low in calories and high in hunger, such as the following fruits and vegetables: radishes, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, strawberries, berries and cherries. It will often take the player a while before they begin to lose weight after dieting, this is due to any excess calories that were consumed previously being used first. In addition to gaining underweight traits from losing too much weight, if the player reaches a weight of 35, they will begin taking damage until some weight is gained. This is usually very rare, however, it can be caused by eating only fruits/vegetables for long periods of time.


Carbohydrates are used in determining potential weight gain. This value is ignored unless the player has consumed more than 400 or 1700 carbohydrates, resulting in a multiplier of 2 or 3, respectively.
Maximum: 1000
Minimum: -500
Proteins surplus or malus affect the amount of strength experience gained by various tasks such as exercise.
Maximum: 1000
Minimum: -500

(As of b34.5, Protein values between 50 and 300 provide a 1.5 multiplier to Str XP gain. Likewise, values below -300 apply a .7 gain penalty.)

Fats, previously called lipids, are used in determining potential weight gain. This value is ignored unless the player has consumed more than 1200 or 1700 fats, resulting in a multiplier of 2 or 3, respectively.
Calories are the main weight determining nutrient. This value must be balanced with hunger consistently, or else obesity or starvation may sneak up on the player.
Maximum: 3700
Minimum: -2200


See also