Monday, April 5, 2010

How Can My Husband Safely Gain Weight?

Hi Ms. Beebe,
My husband has always had high cholesterol and recently high blood pressure. So to combat this, he's been watching what he eats, but now he is losing weight. It's a double-edged sword. He does need to gain weight. I've tried to help by giving him extra pasta, potatoes and rice.
He weighs 153 (his lowest point recently being 148#, and he should be 170.
We would like to know with the two situations in mind, are there any foods that you might recommend that could help him gain the weight he needs and not wreak havoc on his cholesterol?
Thank You!  Kimberly H.

Dear Kimberly,

You have the right idea going! Pastas, potatoes and rice are both low in fat and sodium, so they won't be interfering with his cholesterol or blood pressure!
Other foods to add that are low in both sodium and cholesterol:
1.  Fruits (dried fruits and juices can add quite a few calories)
2. Cereals (both hot or cold) with skim milk
3. "Good" fats like nuts and sunflower seeds
4. Dry peas and beans
5. Lean meats like chicken breasts and fish

Sometimes people do tend to go a bit overboard when they have decided to eat better for their health, and they avoid foods they don't need to be avoiding or take amounts that aren't enough to support their energy needs. Perhaps your husband can eat larger portions of some foods, or start incorporating snacks.

If he is not able to gain weight because his appetite isn't big enough to eat more of these healthy foods, he can try a supplement (like Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure). These do not have cholesterol and are quite low in sodium. If he drinks 2 a day (about 250 calories in each serving) he can expect to put on about one pound each week.

If weight loss continues, be sure to visit the doctor with this information and check out any other possibilities that could be causing weight loss.

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