Best Foods to Gain Weight
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So you've been on the keto diet for a while and are seeing great results. You're feeling good, getting healthy, and your pant sizes have been dropping. The only problem is, the weight loss is going a little too well. Now, rather than being overweight, you're starting to get too skinny. If you've found yourself losing too much weight on the Ketogenic Diet, then read on to discover some of the best foods to gain weight in a healthy way.
There is a lot of confusion out there regarding healthy foods for weight gain. Should you be eating peanut butter or whole grains? Sugary foods or butter?
In this article, I will discuss:
- Why you want to maintain a healthy weight.
- Common mistakes people make when trying to gain weight.
- My top recommendations if you want to maintain or gain weight while staying in ketosis.
Problems with being underweight
While most of us know that being overweight is unhealthy, we think less about the problems of being underweight.
But being too thin can be just as much of a health risk as being too heavy.
The health problems associated with being underweight include:
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Fertility issues.
- Low bone mineral density.
- Weakened immune system.
- The risk of infection.
- Higher mortality rates.
Sometimes, being too thin is a sign of something going wrong in the body. If you are underweight, you may want to see a doctor to rule out underlying conditions such as hyperthyroidism, celiac, an infection, or something else that might be at the root cause of your low weight.
But if there is no health condition present and you have simply lost more weight than you intended to, then there are some easy things you can do to stop additional weight loss.
And there are also some common pitfalls that you will want to avoid.
Common mistakes when trying to gain weight
Here are the most common mistakes people make when trying to gain weight:
1. Adding in a lot more carbs.
You could choose to start eating a lot of carbs and gain weight that way. But that will actually lead to a whole lot of problems in the body, not just weight gain. You might think that eating organic, "healthy" carbohydrates would be the answer. But organic, whole-grain bread is still a grain. Organic brown rice is still a grain. And all of these carbs will still be an issue. So continue to avoid bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, rice, etc. I do not recommend going the carb route when trying to gain back weight.
2. Eating junk food.
When you aren't trying to lose weight anymore, it may seem like a free pass to eat any junk food you want. While you may gain the weight back by eating unhealthy foods, you'll hurt your body in so many ways at the same time. Eating lots of sugar and processed food is not the answer. It just isn't good for your body, and you won't be better off because of it. You want to gain overall healthy weight, not cause yourself to get insulin resistance, increased belly fat, and other problems.
3. Becoming a couch potato.
Some people tend to think that if they want to gain weight then they should sit around and not move their bodies. Exercising just causes weight loss, doesn't it? Wrong. If you want to become healthier and get to an optimal weight, then you'll want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means staying physically active. Exercise will help you to build muscle, which adds weight and bulk to your body. It will also help stimulate your appetite so that you are hungrier at meals.
Gaining weight the healthy way
If you are too skinny, then you'll want to do weight gain right and in the healthiest way possible.
Start by avoiding the three common mistakes I listed above. Next, add in healthy food options.
So what are the healthiest foods you can start eating to stop excessive weight loss on keto? I recommend increasing your fat intake for gaining weight.
When you add in a little bit more fat to your keto diet, you allow yourself to stay in ketosis while not losing any more weight. What happens when you do that is that your body will be able to use the added fat from the food as fuel, rather than your own fat stores. This will stop you from losing any more weight.
The best foods to gain weight: healthy fat sources
These are a few great options for eating more fat to gain weight.
1. Bulletproof coffee.
If you like a cup of coffee in the morning, you can add a little bit of butter or MCT oil (found in coconut oil) to it to make bulletproof coffee. It is great to drink in the morning in place of a morning meal. This is an easy way to add a bit more fat into your day.
But since I don't recommend drinking too much coffee throughout the day, you may want to try a coffee substitute like Teeccino. Teeccino is an alternative made of chicory root, carob, barley, nuts, and cocoa. It is low in carbs and sugar, so it's totally fine to drink on keto. Add your MCT oil or butter to Teeccino and drink it throughout the day.
2. Keto fat bombs.
Keto fat bombs are some of the easiest recipes to make and are great to have on hand to increase your fat intake. I recommend making a bunch of these ahead and storing them in the freezer. Then, at the end of every meal, eat several until you are feeling pretty full. If you do that, you will stop losing weight.
3. Nuts and nut butters.
Almonds, almond butter, peanut butter, walnuts, and more are all great options for weight gain. They are good sources of fat that are easy to add into the diet. Boost your intake of nuts and nut butters if you want to stop losing weight.
I also recommend the following if you are getting too thin while on keto:
Do weight training.
Weight training, using high weight and low reps, will help build muscle mass. Muscle growth will stop you from feeling too skinny and will increase body weight.
Eat two meals per day.
Keep up with intermittent fasting, and opt for two meals a day. If you need something to tide you over in the morning, do your bulletproof coffee early on.
Increase your carb intake slightly, using only healthy carbs.
I generally recommend eating 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day while on keto. If you are having trouble maintaining a good weight, you might keep your intake up closer to 50 grams per day. But never revert to refined carbs like bread and pasta. Blackberries, raspberries, and carrots are the kinds of carbs you can eat a little bit more of.
Keep protein intake at 7 or 8 oz. per meal.
Don't go overboard with protein-rich foods. Again, your best bet is to increase fats, not carbs or proteins.
Conclusion: The Do's and Don'ts of Healthy Weight Gain
If you are on the thin side and need to gain weight, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. Some habits that promote weight gain will leave your body worse off than it was before, while others can help you to become healthier than ever before.
Gaining weight a healthy way involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle and finding ways to get in more healthy, high-fat foods. It does not involve eating carbs, junk, and sugar.
Add back in a lot of carbs.
The answer does not lie in consuming grains and bread products. Continue to avoid carbohydrates.
Eat junk food.
Putting extra calories into your diet in the form of junk will just deplete your body of nutrients and cause you other health problems.
Consume lots of sugar.
While sugar may put on the pounds, it is also very unhealthy for your body. Don't cause yourself insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Stay away from sugar.
Add in more healthy fats.
If you give your body more fats in the diet, you'll stop burning your own fat stores as fuel and will stop losing weight. Add in fat in the form of bulletproof coffee, keto fat bombs, and nuts or nut butter.
Weight train and exercise.
Weight training with low reps and high weight will help increase muscle mass and weight.
Keep your carb intake closer to 50 grams.
You may want to have your daily carb allotment stay a bit on the higher side when it comes to the 20-50 gram rule. But make healthy choices, and increase carbs only in the form of things like berries and carrots.
Maintain moderate protein intake.
Keep protein at 7 or 8 oz. per meal.
Eat as many vegetables as you can.
To stay as healthy as possible, you need to provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs. So eat lots of salads and vegetables.
Consume two meals per day.
Do intermittent fasting with two meals. Include bulletproof coffee around those two meals or use it as a morning meal replacement.
What works best for you when it comes to keeping at a healthy body weight while on Keto? Please share in the comments below.
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*Any comments on our blog or websites relating to weight loss results may or may not be typical and your results will vary depending on your diet and exercise habits.
***Always consult a professional before making any significant changes to your health.