Many people struggle with being overweight. But there are quite a few people who have problems with the opposite: being underweight. What to do? Simply devour mountains of chocolate, ice cream and cream cake? And avoid low calorie foods such as lettuce and vegetables as much as possible? Doesn’t sound very healthy. The aim of this blog is to help you learn how gaining weight can work, how you can leave your underweight behind you and reach your personal ideal weight – in a healthy way.
Gaining weight can be more difficult than losing weight
“Finally eat something!” or “I want it to be as beautiful as you are and to be able to eat whatever I want!” Sentences of this kind can almost piss off someone who is unintentionally underweight.
Because you often eat and eat and eat – and yet you don’t gain weight. Or you just don’t have an appetite for all the fatty and unhealthy foods that you apparently need to eat in order not to fall off the meat completely.
In reality, gaining weight to ideal or normal weight is no less a problem than the weight loosing. On the contrary: Gaining weight can often be more difficult than losing weight.
Are you underweight?
But before you try hard As you gain weight, it is important to find out whether you are actually underweight or whether you are not much more likely to be persuaded by those around you that you are too thin.
Because your genetic makeup and thus your physique also determine whether you are actually at a certain weight is underweight or whether the weight is completely okay.
Which type are you?
In this context, the constitutional typology developed by the American physician William Sheldon (1898 – 1977) is interesting , according to which he divided people into three categories according to their physique:
The mesomorphic type
Mesomorphic people are the typical athletes and bodybuilders: In men, this shows in a pronounced chest, broad shoulders and narrow hips. For women in a curvy figure with the desirable 90-60-90 measure.
This type of muscle builds up well and quickly. If no sport is practiced, fat is preferably placed on the abdomen and hips, less on the extremities.
The mesomorphic type will hardly run the risk of looking underweight.
The endomorphic type
The short people with short arms and legs and rounded faces, who have a strong tendency to store fat and thus become overweight, are called endomorphs.
They often have the feeling that they only have to look at something edible to gain weight. This type often finds it difficult to exercise and lose weight.
Endomorphic types are also almost never threatened by being underweight – except of course in the event of illness.
The ectomorphic type
The ectomorphic human type, on the other hand, is slim and usually has long, slender arms and legs. It is often tall and stores little fat.
Ectomorphs can often eat huge amounts without noticeably gaining weight. A person with an ectomorphic physique can become a good marathon runner.
However, there is a high probability that they will not win a bodybuilding competition – simply because they are slow to build muscle and will never develop muscle packages like the mesomorphic type.
People with an ectomorphic disposition – if the BMI is used as a criterion – are often accused of being underweight, although this is not always the case.
The BMI – flat rate categorization
The usual division into over -, normal or underweight is still often based on the BMI (Body Mass Index).
Ectomorphs are in the BMI tables, however, regularly either at the lower limit of normal weight or already well in the area of underweight, if not already in anorexia.
This is not always because they are actually Underweight, but because the tables do not take into account the different types of people and assume that we all belong to the endomorphic type.
Therefore, mesomorphic people with BMI tables are often not happy because they find themselves – if they are well trained – without further ado in the overweight or even obesity category. So you shouldn’t let yourself be pigeonholed just about the BMI.
Of course, not all of humanity can be divided into the three categories presented. And so there are also many mixed types, which then combine properties of two or even all three types.
Reasons for underweight
But if you are actually underweight and need to gain weight, you should take a closer look at the possible reasons for your underweight:
Underweight due to insufficient calorie intake
A common reason for being overweight or underweight is that the person concerned actually consumes more energy than get them with the food. Such a disproportion can often be recognized by looking at the client’s nutrition plan.
Underweight people often find a lot of foods (and drinks) with a low energy density (which contain only a few calories per 100 grams). So your nutrition plan often consists of very small meals and / or very light meals.
Underweight in old age
There are many people who are underweight, especially among the elderly. Loneliness, depression, some illnesses, dental (prosthetic) problems or even medication can lead to loss of appetite and this in turn can lead to underweight.
Underweight due to illness
In addition, illnesses such as cancer, chronic gastrointestinal diseases, intestinal fungal infestation, food intolerances that are associated with frequent diarrhea, (partial) stomach removals, eating disorders and some lung diseases lead to underweight the thyroid gland can be the reason for being underweight, as it massively boosts the metabolism.
Underweight due to stress and worries
In the same way, mental stress and stress often bring along eating disorders – at any age themselves. These can manifest themselves in eating attacks and thus lead to obesity. Much more often, however, stress also leads to loss of appetite and thus to underweight in the long term.
Underweight due to zinc deficiency
Underweight people complain that somehow nothing seems to taste that good, not even their favorite food, then a zinc deficiency could be involved in this development, as it can negatively affect taste perception.
Underweight due to sugar substitutes
Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol, maltitol or xylitol can – if consumed in excess – lead to diarrhea to lead. Some people chew tons of gum that is sweetened with sugar substitutes every day. Chronic diarrhea and soon afterwards underweight can be the consequences.
There have already been known cases in which those affected were critically emaciated due to a regular sorbitol overdose, until a doctor finally got the idea to ask about excessive chewing gum consumption – and the affected could be saved.
Underweight due to gastric acid deficiency
Underweight can also have a gastric acid deficiency, which prevents the proper digestion of food.
Gastric acid deficiency is said to be common in most people over fifty, so this aspect is particularly important for older people People have to be thought – especially of course if they also take proton pump inhibitors, i.e. drugs that are prescribed for heartburn or stomach problems.
Underweight due to improper diet
Underweight can also arise, when people radically change their diet.
You read about the wonderful alkaline diet and absolutely want it metzen. It is believed that acid-forming foods are terribly bad and unhealthy.
Immediately, almost all foods that have been eaten up to now are removed from the menu.
There is no more pasta, no baked goods, no meat, no fish, no eggs , no dairy products, no nuts, no legumes and no more fat. You live happily on vegetables, salads and fruits.
Weeks go by and you are overjoyed because any excess weight melts away in no time at all.
More weeks pass. You are no longer overweight. However, undesirably, the weight loss continues to progress. Why?
The purely alkaline diet is intended for short-term use (2 – 12 weeks) for purification, detoxification or as an accompaniment to colon cleansing.
In the long run, however, a purely alkaline diet can lead to a calorie deficit and also to a lack of nutrients. The ideal long-term diet is therefore the base-excess diet that provides sufficient high-quality fats and consists of at least 20 percent good acidic substances, such as B. nuts, seeds, legumes, pseudograins, spelled and high-quality animal products.
But what to do if you are clearly underweight? First of all, of course, the causes – if known and if possible – have to be eliminated.
In addition, one optimizes the diet – in a healthy way.
The diet for underweight people
It is not uncommon for the menus to be used Underweight people should put on weight again, full of inferior foods rich in fat and sugar (cream yoghurt, cream desserts, fatty cheese, sugared drinks, etc.). Fat is recommended because fat has more than twice as many calories as the same amount of carbohydrates or Provides protein.
In addition, high-calorie food supplements such as B. Maltodextrin recommended. At the same time, people advise against exercise – according to the motto: It is best to remain motionless in front of the television and fatten yourself with fatty, sugary food.
This would counter the problem of underweight with a large amount of calories and immobility, which is very symptom-oriented Procedure and would be anything but healthy and therefore not recommended.
The more sensible problem solution, on the other hand, would not only provide calories, but would provide these calories in high quality and packaged with vital substances, minerals, secondary plant substances and high quality proteins.
In addition, healthy weight gainer shakes (shakes for weight gain), suitable muscle building training and intestinal rehabilitation would be important points in the overall program – of course, always depending on how the individual is doing and for what reasons they became underweight.
General measures for gaining weight
Of course, the following measures for gaining weight do not all fit every person.
They have to be adapted to the respective person and their condition or the cause of the underweight. For example, a person who is underweight due to a stomach removal has to be very careful with fatty foods.
The advice to eat nuts and seeds as a snack is of little use to a senior citizen who has problems with her teeth.
Underweight must therefore be eliminated with the help of very individual steps.
Healthy foods against underweight
The diet consists – as always – of Mainly vegetables, fruits, salads, nuts, sprouts, oil seeds, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates and healthy protein suppliers. In the underweight, the amount of both healthy protein-rich and high-energy foods is now increased. These are the following:
Nuts, nut butters, almonds, almond butter, trail mix, oil seeds (e.g. peeled hemp seeds, freshly ground flax seeds ), Avocados, coconut, coconut milk, coconut butter, olives, natural oils (olive oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, also organic butter) and occasionally organic cream. Homemade sweets (chocolate, cakes, energy balls etc.)
High quality carbohydrates
Dried fruits, fruit slices, quinoa, amaranth, chestnuts and products made from them, millet, Buckwheat, whole rice, spelled pasta, wholegrain spelled or rye bread, oats, tiger nuts, teff
High quality proteins
Nuts, almonds, quinoa, millet, oats, legumes, chia seeds, organic eggs, fish or organic meat, possibly natural protein powders such as lupine protein, hemp protein or rice protein
Number of meals per day if you are underweight
6 to 8 meals per day are ideal for underweight. In this way, firstly, the daily amount of calories can be increased. Secondly, the phase is never reached in which the glycogen stores are used up and protein or fat would have to be broken down – at most during the night. For this reason, some strength athletes get up at night to have a bite to eat, hoping that this will prevent muscle breakdown at night, which – if at all – should only have a small effect.
Correct stomach acid deficiency if you are underweight
If you suspect that you are underweight a. is due to a gastric acid deficiency, measures that stimulate gastric acid production (bitter substances) and many of those measures that generally have a positive effect on gastrointestinal health, such as B. chew well, eat / drink not too hot and not too cold, do not drink anything to eat, green smoothies etc.
bitter substances against underweight
Die The bitter substances just mentioned can also be useful for those with poor appetite, as they – taken before eating – can stimulate the appetite. B. in the form of bitter base powder, herbal bitters (e.g. bitter star), dandelion powder, dandelion root extract and of course bitter herbs and lettuce.
If you are underweight: fruit as a starter >
Fruits as a starter – e.g. B. an apple – also stimulate the appetite.
MCT fats for underweight
If there is a weakness in digestion of fat, MCT fats and / or coconut oil can be used as extremely easily digestible sources of fat.
MCT stands for medium-chain fatty acids (Medium Chain Triglycerides). So that these fatty acids can be absorbed and used by the body, neither bile acids nor fat digestion enzymes are required.
Coconut oil consists of about 70 percent medium-chain fatty acids.
Healthy weight gainer against underweight
Weight gainers (shakes for weight gain) are ideal high-energy snacks or breakfast options for anyone who does not want to or cannot have anything solid in the morning.
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If you are underweight, drink juices
Half of the daily amount of liquid can be absorbed through fruit and vegetable juices (pure or diluted) that are naturally richer in calories (and at the same time richer in vital substances) than water.
Exercise against underweight
Movement is an essential part of gaining weight. However, endurance sports (cycling, jogging, swimming, etc.) should not last longer than 20 minutes, otherwise you will begin to burn more fat again, which is initially undesirable when you gain body mass weekly 30 – 45 minutes each). Don’t expect immediate results from weight training. It can take a few months before muscle mass is visibly built.
Elderly, sick and weak people should have their physiotherapist show them an individual program with light but effective exercises.