Obesity is a major public health concern today. There are people who struggle to shed kilos and often envy those who does not seem to put on weight no matter what they eat. It is true everyone wants to look good and smart, but slimness cannot be equated with health. Shedding flab may not be the cherished dream of all but there are still many who crave to put on weight.
Who are underweight people?
People those have weight 10 percent less than their ideal body weight or have Body Mass Index less than 18.5 are considered to be underweight and are prone to diseases just like overweight individual. They have lean and skinny body due to deficiency of vitamins and minerals. They have a weak immune system and are more prone to risks of infections.
REASONS FOR BEING UNDERWEIGHT
- Due to some long standing illness and medications, there may be loss of appetite and person may be not able to take proper diet which could be the reason for being underweight.
- Genetic factors may be the second reason, generally people who don’t seem to put on weight in spite of eating have a high metabolic rate which helps them to burn calories more easily.
- Another reason for being underweight can be poor absorption of nutrients from food due to deficiency of digestive enzymes or stomach acid which can be the result of gastrointestinal disorders .
To gain weight, a person should be persistent in his efforts and set realistic goals for himself. A dietician can be consulted for the same which could suggest you and prepare a nutritional care plan. Each of us is different and needs for the body are different too, hence diet plan is a tailor made to suit the requirements of the individual. It requires time and consistent effort as to gain weight is a gradual process just like loosing weight. Having a well balanced diet is essential, otherwise one may have ill impacts on health, the only way to increase weight and achieve desirable weight is to consume more calories than the amount of calories burnt during physical activities.
Besides this, physical exercise and activity is equally important as it is a general belief that for gaining weight one should not go for exercise as it burns calories. But on the contrary exercising and being physically active stimulates appetite and helps in increasing the food intake. Hence this helps in consuming more calories and good digestion. Exercises to boost our confidence and sense of well being. It keeps us mentally and physically fit and active.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS THAT COULD HELP IN GAINING WEIGHT
With little modifications in food intake can help us to gain weight. Start taking a diet which is energy dense and also having other nutrients. Taking too many calories suddenly for a underweight person is initially impractical, hence it should be increased gradually. Have your food the way you eat, an additional 500 to 1000 Kcal to the energy requirement will help in gaining 0.5 to 1 kg in a week, which is an ideal weight gain.
Proteins are the building blocks, and are required for growth and repair of our body. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, they are not stored in our body so they must be taken in our diet on a daily basis.
One should include pulses, milk and milk products, soy products, eggs, meat, fish and poultry. They are ideal to gain weight.
For an underweight person fat intake should be slightly higher, but care should be taken that good quality fats should be included in the diet. Excessive intake of fatty and fried food is not only bad for health, but also reduces appetite by delaying digestion. Due to which person can suffer from acidity and diarrhea. Sources of good fats are nuts and dry fruits, they are rich in calories and also provides Vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc etc.
Here again good sources of carbohydrates should be included in the diet. They act as fuel for our body. A food that provides calories and good amount of nutrients should be included and food that provides empty calories should be avoided. A glass of fruit juice added with sugar is much better than a glass of cold drinks. Other good sources of carbohydrates are bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, which should be taken in good amount.
Fiber is also necessary for an individual as it avoids constipation and indigestion and increases appetite. Most of the problems related with stomach area due to lack of fiber in our food. Fruits and vegetables are sources of fiber along with vitamins and minerals.
SOME USEFUL TIPS TO INCREASE WEIGHT
Here are some important tips to increase weight in a healthy way:
- Consume handful of nuts and dry fruits on a daily basis as they are rich in calories. They can be converted into a powdered form and added to puddings and milk shakes to increase the energy value.
- Fruits like banana, chikoo and mango should be taken more often as compared to those which contain less calories. Fruits that contain more water content like watermelon and melons have low calories and are suitable to lose weight instead of gaining.
- Plan a chart and take small frequent meals after regular intervals. This will help in taking calories to those who cannot eat much at one time. Along with three necessary meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner include in between a meal packed with energy and other nutrients. Take a heavy breakfast in the morning and don’t miss the dinner.
- Use whole milk and milk products with cream to add fat in the diet. Avoid skimmed milk. One can add a spoon of Desi ghee for cooking food as it is rich in fat and help in weight gain. Consume butter with chapattis or at breakfast and a glass of sweet Lassi can also be taken at breakfast to increase calorie content.
Hence, to gain weight in a healthy way a good balance of nutrients is required. In addition, one should be physically active and follow a regular exercise regime to succeed in gaining weight.