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Q: gaining weight ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   10 Comments )
Subject: gaining weight
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: xy-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 17 Jun 2002 13:10 PDT
Expires: 24 Jun 2002 13:10 PDT
Question ID: 28039
I am in excellent health but am 25 pounds underweight.  I have
maintained my current weight for at least five years.  I never have
much of an appetite, in fact I only eat two small-to-average meals per
day and feel "full" easily because my stomach is small.  My physician
sees no harm in me gaining a little weight.  I seem to just have a
fast metabolism.  Because I am so skinny, I do not feel good about
myself.  It is easy for me to pinch nerves in my arms because I have
little fat to protect them.

I would like a long list of foods or snacks that are high in caloric
content but not otherwise unhealthy, so that I can safely gain at
least ten pounds without having to increase the amount of food I eat.
Subject: Re: gaining weight
Answered By: madsky101-ga on 17 Jun 2002 15:12 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

To stay safe, please let remind you to check with your physician
before starting any type of diet program or before making changes to
your current diet.

As with any diet, you must be willing to make some changes to your
current eating habits.  I am referring to your statement "I only eat
two small-to-average meals per day".

Gaining weight and losing weight basically involve the same
principles.  Sometimes you've got to shake things up a bit, to get
that old metabolism working to your advantage.  Getting into a food
rut can make your body pretty set in it's ways.  But throw in a few
curve balls, like say 5 or 6 high calorie meals a day, and suddenly
your body will awaken from it's everyday ho hum state of norm and go
"Hey wait a minute!"  Something different is happening now and your
body will start reacting to it.

I know what you are thinking, you get full on 2 small are
you going to eat 5 or 6 of them?  Have faith, it can be done!  For
example, prepare your 2 meals in advance, using the examples of the
high calorie foods that you will find in the links I have listed.  Now
divide the meals into 5 or 6 small containers, adhere to a schedule
that allows you to eat several times a day.  And there you go, you are
eating basically the same amount of food that you normally do, but in
smaller amounts and at various times of the day.

Remember just because a food is high in calories does not mean it is a
good addition to your diet.  Try to avoid empty calories, such as the
kind you may find in foods made with refined sugars.  Also steer clear
of foods with high fat content.  A greasy burger and fries are high
calorie, but not heart healthy.

Eating several small meals a day, made from foods with a high caloric
properties, is just part of the solution, exercising to help build
muscle mass is also critical in a weight gaining program.

I hope you will find the links I have listed helpful in your weight
gaining endeavor.  I am especially fond of the information found on
the American Dietetic Association website.

Good luck and it has been a pleasure assisting you with this

Links of interest

American Dietetic Association
Gaining Weight-A Healthy Plan for Adding Pounds 

Ten weight gain tips

Weight gaining tips and exercises 
Chet Day's Health and Beyond
How to Gain Weight and Bulk Up, by Anthony Ellis

Search terms

calorie index+weight gain
calorie index
high calorie+food selections
"weight gain diet"
"weight gaining program"
"nutritional weight gain"
xy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: nps-ga on 17 Jun 2002 13:53 PDT
You might want to take a look at bodybuilding, lifting weights etc, as
a healthier option to gain weight. It helps your appetite too.
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: googlebrain-ga on 17 Jun 2002 15:27 PDT
Don't forget, there's always......

Weight Gain 4000 :)

Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: tekwiz-ga on 17 Jun 2002 15:36 PDT
Hi! I am probably "underweight" as well, since I'm 5'9" and 112
pounds, and I also eat very little, but feel full. "People" like to
tell me I'm so skinny and that I should get some meat on my bones...

I feel that you will get different answers from different doctors. For
example, heart specialists will tell you that the most important thing
is that you keep fat and cholesterol out of your diet since heart
disease doesn't care what your weight is. Your bad cholesterol can be
high and your arteries can become blocked even if you are skinny.
Being skinny can't hurt you but clogged arteries will kill you.

You didn't mention what your diet is and whether you have had a test
for cholesterol. Did you have a test to check for total body fat? You
also didn't mention what is your daily activity level. This is very
important since if you are very inactive, you won't be very hungry
since your body won't be expending much energy. Eating foods high in
fat (easiest way to gain weight) is just putting yourself on the road
to disaster down the road. You also don't mention how old you are.

Generally, of course there is no harm in gaining weight, but it
depends how you do it. There is a healthy but difficult way and a
non-healthy, but easy way. Isn't that how most things in life are?
:-). Foods contain fat, carbohydrates and proteins. Fat has the most
calories (energy), and is very easily stored by the body in fat
cells--not much conversion has to be done by the body to store the
fat. By the way, the body creates new fat cells to store fat, so once
you get fat, it's very difficult to lose weight since those cells are
alive and need energy to survive. Only during "starvation" will the
body start to use up its stored fat and convert it to glucose for

Fat from meats is the most unhealthy since it contains a lot of
saturated fat and cholesterol--easily blocks arteries. Fats which
solidify at room temperature, even vegetable fats, are unhealthy as
well. Small amounts of liquid fats like olive oil and fat from nuts
are fine.

Carbohydrates need to be converted to fat before the body can store
the energy and that conversion process isn't as efficient as
converting of fat to stored fat and it depends on the food. For
example, sugar is more easily converted to fat than say, wheat. That
is why you can avoid fat completely and still gain weight from fat, by
eating carbohydrates. Foods high in sugar are of course better avoided
as well if you want to be healthy.

Protein directly helps to rebuild tissue. It contain the same amount
of calories per gram as carbohydrates, but protein is hardly converted
to fat (since the process is so complex.) A diet high in protein is

There are 9 calories per gram of fat, 4 calories per gram of
carbohydrates and also 4 for a gram of protein.

If you look at food labels you'll see how the calculations are based
on diets based on about 2,000 calories per day.

I think you might find it interesting that recent studies show that
animals on very-low calorie diets tend to live much longer than those
on a normal/high calorie diet. These results were very certain. The
studies are being done on humans now to see if the same benefits are
seen. We're talking about maybe 1,000 calorie per day diets. So in
fact it looks like it's probably really much healthier in the long run
to be on a low calorie diet.

So now that we have sort of an overview of how food "works," Back to
your question: If I was going to try to gain weight, I would not want
that weight from fat, but from muscle mass. Fat is "flabby" weight,
and you'll probably gain most of it around your waist which would be
unbecoming. As you get older, the fat tends to stretch the skin, and
"hangs" as your muscle tissue deteriorates and the tissues are softer.
Not pretty. What you want is not to simply gain weight though gaining
fat, but you want to gain mass by building your muscles through
exercise. Exercise is also very healthy for your heart--strengthens
it, for your circulation, your brain, and also for your overall
feeling of well-being.

When you exercise you need carbohydrates and protein. You don't need
fat. You should avoid at all costs foods which contain fat, but
exercise and eat foods high in carbohydrates and protein. A little
low-fat turkey and fish like tuna is OK, but not too much since there
is a lot of cholesterol in that too. Red meat is poison. Drink a lot
of skim, or even better--dry nonfat milk. Try to stick to whole grains
like oatmeal and whole wheat foods. Couscous is good, brown rice is
good. Lots of beans--they have a lot of protein. Pasta is also used by
athletes trying to gain muscle mass. Preferably whole-wheat pasta is
good. I would say that any kind of wheat has the extra carbohydrates
and energy you need for exercising. Potatoes, fruits, broccoli, lots
of greens, tomatoes, eggplant, tofu, bananas. If you love cheese--have
a little melted on veggies. Cheddar or provolone has a lot of taste,
so you don't need much. A little peanut butter is good too. Nuts are
great--almonds, etc. But avoid salt of course. Put your emphasis on
avoiding fat and simple sugars, and get at least 30 minutes of AEROBIC
exercise every day. (I should exercise but I am too lazy and addicted
to the computer to do it, unfortunately...) When I get out a bit, I
become more hungry and want to eat more. That's what activity does.

So in conclusion, when you ask what foods or snacks are high in
caloric content but not unhealthy--there is no such thing--the highest
caloric content is found in fat, and that is definately really bad for
you, the second source of calories is carbohydrates which come from
sugars, wheat, and vegetables. Protein while having calories helps
build tissues. Eating any foods with more calories with no exercise
will just make you gain fat which you don't want. You want solid mass
which comes from muscles, and to get muscles you must exercise.
Exercise is crucial to maintain good health, and when you do it, you
will be hungrier, will eat more, and the foods you choose will
determine how healthy your body will be. They should be high in
healthy carbohydrates (hopefully not from white flour) or sugar and
high in protein.

Here are some links to pages that I just looked at which contain a lot
of information about this subject. Please let me know if you have any

Hope this was helpful!

American Academy of Family Physicians

American dietetic association "Gaining Weight - A healthy Plan for
Adding Pounds"

This has a lot of information:
By Dr. Bernarr, D.C. D.D.

Getting Older and Gaining Weight (how to stay healthy).

ABC News (Adding muscles to your tummy).

Diet and exercise slows prostate cacer by 30% (Illustrates diets)

University of Michigan on diet exercise and weight loss. Talks about
BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) and hyperlinks to other pages which talk about
healthy diets and exercise.

Healthy recipes:

This was pretty interesting :-). Has info on gaining muscle mass...
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: tehuti-ga on 17 Jun 2002 16:13 PDT
Small things that will increase the calorie content of your diet:

Use nuts and seeds as snacks, shaken over salads, stirred into cereal.
 They are concentrated foods with a high fat content, but are mainly
beneficial.  Do not eat too many Brzail nuts as these do have the
highest saturated fat content. However, macadamia nuts, which are the
highest fat and highest calorie of all nuts, contain monounsaturated
fat, like that found in olive oil, which is considered to protect
against heart disease.

Use milk (or soymilk or nutmilk)-based sauces.  You can pour these
over vegetables, use them as the basis of a chicken supreme, or of a
pasta sauce.

Dry fruit can be used as snacks and have a relatively high level of

Explore the wonderful world of vegetable oils.  Each has a
characteristic flavour.  Use them in salad dressings and stir fries.

Try to exercise a little.  If you do this moderately, you should see
your appetite increase.  Also experiment to see if 4-6 smaller meals
will suit you.  If each is just slightly smaller than your current two
meals, you will increase your calorie intake.
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: xy-ga on 17 Jun 2002 17:37 PDT
Thanks for all your replies.  I have much to consider.

Since Tekwiz asked, I am male, age 26, 6'1" tall, and weigh 130lbs. 
My doctor told me I have extremely low cholesterol level, but did not
calculate body fat.

I try to eat something different each day of the week.  My most common
foods include beef, chicken, fish, potatoes, corn, and beans.  For the
last few months, my liquids have consisted exclusively of whole milk,
apple juice, orange juice, and water.

My exercise consists of daily walking (1-2 miles) and occasional
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: firefly-ga on 17 Jun 2002 20:45 PDT
Hi xy-ga!
One of my favorite breakfasts, and one that is fairly calorie
intensive at about 400 calories, is to have a cup of non-fat or
low-fat yogurt (usually fruit flavored) with 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of
grape nuts. I've been training for a triathlon and this was an
excellent food choice for me because of the high carb content. It is
also tasty and easy to prepare.
good luck, managing your weight either up or down is never easy. 

Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: gale-ga on 17 Jun 2002 21:01 PDT
Some people are (including me :-) ) are in favor of low-carbohydrate,
high-protein diets (see, e.g., ). I have also
read that people throughout history have sought out and highly valued
animal fat (and not suffered from heart disease). US levels of heart
disease are unique and are likely caused by factors other than fat
consumption (for a discussion see, e.g., articles at ). Just want to make sure you are aware
of the wide range of opinions that exist in nutrition research.

By the way, I used to be really skinny, but now I'm maintaining an
excellent weight on a high-fat, high-protein diet. My favorite
breakfast is sprouted whole-wheat bread with lots of butter and
cheese, an omelette and a salad (everything organic).
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: tekwiz-ga on 17 Jun 2002 21:35 PDT
Being 6'1" and 130 pounds sounds like you are simply an "ECTOMORPH"
which is simply a light thin bone structure. Your wrists are probably
real thin. Most people are "MESOMORPHS" which is more of a medium bone
structure. While "ENDOMORPHS" have big bones and tend to gain a lot of
weight. Ectomorphs don't gain weight easy and have a high metabolism.
You should be thrilled about this. Mesomorphs tend to gain a lot of
weight around their stomachs in their 30s and 40s. Ectomorphs have an
easy time staying thin. Seems like you are on a well-balanced diet.
Probably a good idea to stay away from fat even if you have low
cholesterol--arteries can clog anyway. The way for you to gain weight
is to do more exercise and probably lift weights to gain mass. Gaining
weight through eating a lot and not doing enough exercise will only
hurt your health. Don't listen to people who criticise you for being
too thin. They are just jealous. :-) Gaining muscle mass is hard work,
and not particularly important for good health. It's aerobic exercise
which is usefull to stay healthy. I'm 34 now, and I have wanted to
build some muscle and I tried some situps, pushups, but never stuck to
it. I'm an ectomorph. Unfortunately I see that I am gaining a bit of
fat around my stomach--even though I hardly eat fat at all! Which
proves that as you get into your 30's you body tends to store more

I say, stay away from the whole milk, eat more green veggies and
tomatoes. Those are real healthy. You are already getting a good
amount of exercise as you are walking 1 to two miles a day, which is
really great! I really don't think you have a problem. Many will envy
your body type. Be happy and don't worry :-).

Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: tekwiz-ga on 17 Jun 2002 22:22 PDT
As a comment to gale--there are very few people whose bodies are just
not susceptible to heart disease and they eat a lot of fat, and their
arteries don't clog up. Most people's arteries do get clogged up from
fat. Heart-disease is a major killer and bypass surgery rates are sky
high. There is no way to know the condition of your arteries unless
you have tests which most people don't have unless problems begin, and
by that time it's usually a bit late. That's a dangerous game. It is
well-accepted by the majority of the medical community that high-fat
and red meat diets are extremely harmful to most people. There are
always these fringe opinions like the "Atkin's diet" where fat people
lose weight by eating high-fat red meats. The rationale is that the
body then works harder to burn the fat, raising the metabolism and
weight is lost. Doesn't sound very good, and who knows maybe there are
a few people whose bodies work this way. I wouldn't want to be the
test rat for this. Unless you actively go and pay for artery imaging
every year, you would be a fool not to stick to what's considered
healthy by mainstream nutrition professionals.
Subject: Re: gaining weight
From: mugafuga-ga on 22 Jul 2004 03:27 PDT
First off... I am male, 30, 130lbs. 5'11" 
Wouldn't it be cool if someone did some research to show what
percentage of ectomorphs who have contracted heart disease compared to
 mesmo's etc...I think it would be cool to see. Even though adding
cholesterol to your diet increases your risk of it... there are other
ways of controling your cholesterol. Drink a glass of metamucil eat
high fiber whole wheat stuff. Get on some lipitor. Increase your
b-vitamin intake especially folates <---(the actual stuff that cleans
the gunk from your arteries). If you are an ectomorph time is of the
essence when it comes to absorbtion and building muscle. Putting
complete protiens into your body is the best route you can take.
Complete compared to complimentary proteins that is. You can only get
complete protiens from yummy yummy meat. When you eat complimentary
protiens your body has to make an enzyme that has to find the other
protiens to do a matchmaking trick to make the complete protien that
will be used to build your muscle. But whats the point of that if your
body just starts using your muscle for energy if you skip a meal or
two. Don't eat fatty meat. Cut the stuff off. Your lean muscle mass
needs lean muscle mass for food too. I am a big meat advocate if you
can't tell but I am no more of an expert than any of the folks that
gave advice on the subject. Nutrition is the newest science out there
now. Vegan's, Adkinsians, and lots of people who know what works for
them or believe differently or are trying to sell your on thier pills
or just don't see the big picture are out there and you just need to
educate yourself and always dash some skepticism on what anyone says
and research what they say and make your own truth from it. There is
one thing I know that has always rang true no matter what. Be happy
with what you are first and foremost about what you can't change. You
are an ectomorph and everyone who isn't one never gets tired of making
you live it down because like their jealousy takes over and the ego
starts attacking the thin skinny people with the "skinny is bad
propoganda". Believe me my mother has a degree in nutrition and she
still tells me to eat more I get the same lines as you probably got
from yours. It must be some kind of gene that rules out anything you
learned about the body when it's your flesh and blood that is skinny. 
Staying healthy is numero uno and should be the primary driving force
in any diet, exercise program. Some people just aren't attracted to
skinny people. They have thier reasons. Some people aren't attracted
to fat people for thier own reasons as well. There are average people
that only like fat people. Fat people that get their rocks off on
skinny ones. The spectrum is very broad the patterns vary. The point
is that there are people who are attracted to skinny people. It's
usually the ones that tell you you need to put more meat on your

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