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Experts in the field of Medicine
Lovely Ranganath
cardiac disorders, diabetes, obesity,kidney disorders,Gastrointestinal disorders.
M.Sc(Nutrition & Dietetics)
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Article by Lovely Ranganath...
In the midst of an era trying to lose weight, there is a large group trying to do the opposite: gain weight.

The biggest weight gaining tip I can give you is: To get big, you MUST eat big! Gaining weight is calorie driven. You'll NEVER gain weight if you do not eat enough calories. To add size and weight, you must eat enough food to create a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus simply means that you are taking in more calories than you are burning off.

In addition to the kilocalories needed to meet total energy requirements, an allowance of 500 to 1000 extra kilocalories per day should be planned. Daily energy requirements can be calculated on the basis of the individuals present weight. If 2400 kilocalorie is normally needed to maintain present weight, 2900 to 3400 kcal would be required to achieve weight gain. The intake should be increased gradually to these levels to avoid gastric discomfort and periods of discouragement and , more seriously, electrolyte imbalances and heart dysfunction.

A 500-kcal step-up program is outlined below:
Examples of additional foods which may be served between meals to provide an additional 500 kcal is as follows –
· 1 cup dry cereal + 1 banana + 1 cup whole milk + 1 slice toast + 1 tablespoon peanut butter = approx 495 kcal
· 8 saltine crackers + 1 oz cheese + 1 cup ice cream = approx 502 kcal

Examples of additional foods which may be served between meals to provide an additional 1000 kcal is as follows-
· 8 oz fruit flavored yogurt + 1 slice bread + 2 oz cheese + 1 apple + ¼ of 14-inch cheese pizza + 1 small banana = approx 1000 calories
· Instant breakfast with whole milk + 1 cup cottage cheese + ½ cup pineapple + 1 cup apple juice + 6 graham cracker squares + 1 pear = approx 1000 kcal

LOOKING FOR THE BEST FOOD TO GAIN WEIGHT ? Below you'll find a helpful list you can use to gain weight.

Protein sources – Fish (tuna, salmon, cod, haddock), turkey, chicken, red meats (flank steak, lean ground beef), dairy products (cottage cheese, milk, yogurt), eggs, soybeans, nuts, legumes, shellfish, scallops, lamb, tofu, protein supplements (whey, egg, milk, soy protein supplements).

Carbohydrate sources – Fruits, brown rice, whole grain breads & cereals, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, vegetables (broccoli, green beans, corn), legumes (chick peas, lima, kidney, and soybeans).

Fat sources – Olive oil, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, safflower oil, sunflower oil, walnuts, flax seed oil, avocadoes, fish oil.

WEIGHT-GAIN STRATEGIES : Weight-gain strategies center on eating foods that provide many kilocalories in a small volume and exercising to build muscle.
· Energy-Dense Foods : Energy-dense foods hold the key to weight gain. Pick the highest-kilocalorie items from each food group-that is, milk shakes instead of non-fat milk, salmon instead of snapper, avocados instead of cucumbers, a cup of grape juice instead of a small apple, and whole-wheat muffins instead of whole-wheat bread. An underweight person who is physically active and eating a nutritionally adequate diet can afford a few extra kilocalories from fat. For health's sake, it would be wise to select monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of those with saturated fats: for example, sautéing vegetables in olive oil instead of butter.
· Regular meals daily : People who are underweight need to make meals a priority and take the time to plan, prepare, and eat each meal. They should eat at least three healthy meals every day and learn to eat more food within the first 20 minutes of a meal. Another suggestion is to eat meaty appetizers or the main course first and leave the soup or salad until later.
· Large Portions : It is also important to learn to eat more food at each meal. Put extra slices of cheese on the sandwich for lunch, drink milk from a larger glass, and eat cereal from a larger bowl. Most underweight individuals are accustomed to small quantities of food. When they begin eating significantly more, they feel uncomfortable. This is normal and passes over time.
· Extra Snacks : Since a substantially higher energy intake is needed, it is necessary to eat more frequently. Between-meal snacking offers a solution.
· Juice and milk : Beverages provide an easy way to increase energy intake. Consider that 6 cups of cranberry juice add almost 1000 kilocalories to the day's intake. Kilocalories can be added to milk by mixing in powdered milk or packets of instant breakfast. Your physician or dietician can recommend a high-protein, high-kilocalorie formula to help the underweight person gain.

The secret is to individualize the program with readily available foods that the individual really enjoys and with a plan for regular eating times throughout the day.

To gain weight, a person must train physically and increase energy intake by selecting energy-dense foods, eating regular meals, taking larger portions, and consuming extra snacks and beverages.

Al Zahra (Pvt) Hospital, Sharjah & Al Zahra (Pvt) Medical Centre, Dubai

View all articles of expert Lovely Ranganath

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