Monday, June 8, 2009

How Can I Gain Weight?

Hi there, I've always been naturally skinny and I want to put on weight. Before I start putting on muscle mass I want to gain some weight in fat. I saw some carbohydrate powders on, called Maltodextrin and a Glucose scottish oats powder . They have around 350 calories and 80 grams of carbs per 100gram serving. I was wondering if I would be able to use these to gain weight before I start weight training as they are relatively cheap so I could have a serving 2-3 times a day. Thanks, Michael R.

Hi Michael,
You sure can use these to gain weight--anything with calories will contribute to weight gain. You'll want to aim for 500 extra calories per day for each pound per week you'd like to gain, so two servings will do nicely.

You might prefer finding a food you enjoy that you can eat in relatively high-calorie amounts, such as a milkshake. The upside is that real foods will be generally less expensive and taste better than these formulas.

One good-tasting formula is Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink. You can buy powdered packages and stir them into a glass of whole milk for nearly 300 calories per serving. They come in a few flavors and are relatively inexpensive, normally used as a breakfast replacement for teenagers who don't have time to eat as they run out of the house, late for school! They also provide a good amount of protein and some vitamins and minerals. The formulas you are considering may not have much more than just calories, and if you are underweight this is sometimes an indication you may be lacking some nutrients from your diet.

In the future, by the way, (when you are ready to start building muscle) I would recommend avoiding protein supplements, as large amounts of protein (like 300 grams per day) have been shown to lead to over-stressing the kidneys and potentially causing damage. Simply eating an additional 15 grams of protein per day (available in 2 glasses of milk) can help you build up to a pound of muscle per week--along with a lot of weight lifting of course!

Be sure to continue eating at least 3 balanced meals per day to get the nutrition you need while slowly gaining the weight you'd like. I would aim for about one pound per week consistently as this is a reasonable and healthy goal.

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