How can you gain weight through nutrition?

When the energy or calorie intake is more than energy consumed or calories burned, it results in weight gain. But some diets which are high in saturated fats and carbohydrates may increase your weight but does not make your body fit and healthy. E.g. a keto diet which makes you lose weight faster but is not good in the long run as you tend to put on weight much more once you stop the diet and because of the high fat intake it may result in cholesterol building or heart problems in future. So, what is it that will make us gain weight as well as take care of the body in a healthy way without causing harm to it.

That is where diet and nutrition come’s into picture and guide as to which foods can be taken liberally and which foods one need to avoid.

How about a diet that can not only make you healthy out but healthy from within as well??

Quality of diet is as important as the quantity and it should be a balance of all essential components like complex carbohydrates, good quality proteins, good fats, vitamins and mineral including Soluble fibre and adequate water intake. Many people also think that if you need to gain weight you need to eat more. But that is a misconception. Whether it is for weight gain or weight loss, a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and rich in fibre can help people in gaining weight or losing weight.

If someone is underweight that does not mean one can eat anything or everything to gain weight. It is always better to gain weight with high energy, high protein, iron rich diet especially if you are anaemic. Vitamin D3 and B12 needs to be checked before starting the diet as both the nutrients are essential for the absorption and utilisation of the nutrients in the body.
More importantly along with calorie dense foods it should also be nutrient dense. You cannot eat unhealthy processed, fried or sugar high foods to gain weight. One should gain weight but in a healthy way.

Below is a classic example of a healthy weight gain diet for an underweight girl having B12 and iron deficiency:

Sources of proteins for body building and tissue repair are as below:

All foods except refined sugar, oil and fats contains protein in varying amounts. Some foods contain high amounts of protein and known as rich protein foods e.g.

  • Milk and milk products, curd, cheese, buttermilk.
  • Pulses and legumes like soya bean, grams, groundnuts and other nuts.
  • Meats like fish, chicken, mutton and eggs.

When we talk that the calorie intake needs to be more than calorie burned it does not mean one should just increase the calorie intake and do not exercise or burn calories. Regular exercise is equally important or else it might result in obesity or stiffness of bones and your body might lack proper circulation of blood. Similarly, the body needs to be well hydrated so to flush out the toxins.
If you are working out try homemade protein smoothies and if require you can take whey protein as well. Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids required to stimulate muscle growth.

Try to choose one of these healthy sources of starchy carbs:

  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Buckwheat
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Winter root vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Red meat, salmon and oily fish are excellent sources of protein and important healthy fats.
  • Yoghurts with fruits, dry fruits, whole wheat bread, cheese, avocado are all loaded with healthy nutrients.
  • Avoid processed vegetable oils and stick to healthy oils such as olive, avocado and coconut oil.
  • When purchasing cereals, focus on these healthy choices:
  • Oats
  • Granola
  • Multigrain
  • Bran

Hence weight gain should not be an unhealthy fat gain diet resulting in obesity. Rather it should work on muscle gain as well in addition to good fats in diet should lead to a fit and healthy body. Lifting weight is equally important as the additional calories can be used to build muscle instead of just adding fat. So start incorporating the foods on this list into meals and meal plans that you enjoy and can stick with over the long term. Good Luck!

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