The high prevalence of obesity and overweight problems in our culture means much more emphasis is placed on losing weight rather than gaining weight. It is easy to forget about people who have the problem of being too thin. Being underweight can result from eating disorders and chronic diseases, and it is also a concern for athletes and naturally thin people who wish to be bigger, stronger, and more muscular. Elderly people may become underweight. The gradual loss of taste and smell, or the inability to prepare healthy meals, results in becoming too thin.
While being overweight or obese is a well-known risk factor for chronic diseases, being too thin may also increase a person's risk of dying from diseases such as heart failure and cancer. Elderly women who are underweight may become frail, which means they are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and hip fractures. Being underweight may also increase a man's chance of erectile dysfunction.
Increasing your intake of junk foods and greasy foods is not a good way to gain weight. Junk foods usually contain unhealthy trans fats, saturated fats and refined sugar. Even though you need to increase your calorie consumption to gain weight, those calories should come from foods that are good for you. Healthy fats include sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, flax, and walnuts. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds and legumes. Healthy carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
It may be easier to eat five or six smaller balanced meals per day rather than eating three large meals, especially if you are not used to eating much at one sitting.
Protein powders and nutritional supplement drinks can be consumed as in-between meal snacks if you still need more calories. Some protein powders are flavored and only need added water, and others can be blended with your choice of juice or milk to improve the flavor.
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