(BeWellBuzz) To gain weight, you must increase your calorie intake. However, you must remain mindful about not increasing the intake of bad fats or cholesterol. Read on to know how to gain weight the healthy way.
With losing weight becoming almost a worldwide obsession – not to mention, a billion dollar industry – finding reliable information on how to gain weight the healthy way can prove daunting. However, if you are underweight, it is imperative that you increase your weight, as being underweight increases your risk to various health conditions.
Why do some people have a hard time gaining weight in the first place? According to scientists, ectomorphs find it tough to gain weight because of the following reasons:
- Low food intake
- More physical activity
- Presence of a particular gene
Surprisingly, scientists do not consider a higher metabolic rate as one of the causes of being underweight.
Study expels the myth that some people are thin because they have a higher metabolic rate
Most naturally thin people believe they are ectomorphic because of a faster metabolism. To find the truth, Dr. Daniel Bessesen and his colleagues at the University of Colorado Sciences Center conducted a study on 26 thin people who claimed they had trouble putting on weight, and 23 ‘obesity prone’ people.
The researchers tested the metabolic rate of all participants at two specific times: once after they had a normal meal and once after they overate for 3 days. For both groups, the metabolic rates after 3 days of overeating were higher than the metabolic rates after the consumption of a normal meal. However, the increase in metabolic rate was almost same for both groups. The thinner people did not record a greater increase in their metabolic rate after overeating than the ‘obesity prone’ subjects.
This evidence shows that it is not the higher metabolic rate, but some other factors that prevent some people from gaining weight.
Scientists discover the ‘thin gene’
Geneticists at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and at the Imperial College in London have found a gene that prevents people from gaining weight. Scientists analyzed the DNA of 95,000 subjects and found that approximately 50 people had the ‘thin gene’. That is, 1 person in every 2,000 people has the ‘thin gene’.
What classifies as underweight?
The most preferred scale used for defining a person’s “thinness” or “thickness” is the Body Mass Index (BMI for short) scale. Anyone with a BMI of or less than 18.5 is underweight, and should increase his/her weight to bring his/her BMI within the normal range, which is 18.5 to 24.9.
The most important thing to keep in mind if your BMI reading puts you in the ‘underweight’ category is to gain weight gradually in a healthy way. If you start binging relentlessly on high-calorie, unhealthy foods such as pizzas, french fries, chicken nuggets, colas, etc., your weight will increase, but so will your risk of heart disease and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases.
Tips to increase weight
To gain 1 or 2 pounds every week, you should increase your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories. This can be achieved through eating high-calorie healthy foods.
To put on weight the healthy way, increase the intake of the following food groups:
Foods rich in good carbs include whole wheat food products, cereals, starchy vegetables such as corn, parsnips, green peas, white or sweet potatoes, lima beans, and rice.
By adding fat to your snacks and meals, you can increase calorie-content considerably. However, the focus should be on increasing the intake of plant fats and not animal fats, which increases the LDL cholesterol and, subsequently, the risk of heart diseases.
Foods that contain healthy fats and loads of other essential nutrients include nuts, peanut, peanut butter, almond butter, and healthy oils, such as olive oil, grape seeds oil, walnut oil, and canola oil. Olive oil in particular is of great value to someone who wants to gain weight, as it can be used for cooking, as well as for dressing salads. You can increase your calorie intake by more than 100 calories by sprinkling a tablespoon of olive oil on salad or bread.
Milk is one of the healthiest options for gaining weight. To gain weight, drink a liter of organic raw milk every day. You must also add other dairy products such as cheese to your diet as they are good source of calories, calcium, and protein.
A few words of caution: If you have lactose intolerance, consult your healthcare provider before increasing the intake of milk and other dairy products.
- Fruits and fresh fruit juice
Feeling thirsty? Grab a glass of 100% fruit juice. Fresh fruit juice provides both calories and nutrients. So, why settle for unhealthy drinks such as sodas? From now on, quench your thirst with a glass of fresh fruit juice. 100% fruit juice and fruit-flavored drinks are not the same. The former is as good as fresh fruits, while the latter is not even a poor cousin of fresh fruits as it contains artificial sugar and other preservatives.
According to experts, people who want to gain weight should add fruits such as banana and avocado to their diet. A medium-sized avocado provides more than 300 calories and 20 essential nutrients including Vitamin E, folic acid, fiber, and B-Vitamins. A large-sized banana, on the other hand, provides more than 150 calories, plus potassium, an essential mineral which reduces the risk of hypertension and heart diseases.
Vegetables have numerous essential nutrients, such as fiber (both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber), calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. For gaining weight the healthy way and for optimal health, it is necessary that your diet contains all these food groups in adequate amounts.
Less than normal body weight is unhealthy. Being underweight increases your risk of various health conditions, including lung problems, fertility issues in men, miscarriage and other pregnancy problems in women, arthritis, depression, breast cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. You can easily gain weight gradually – weight gain or, for that matter, weight loss, should always be gradual – by increasing your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories. This can be achieved by adding healthy foods, such as the ones listed above, in your diet. So, eat the right foods and eat to your heart’s content. Bon appétit.