How to Gain Weight for Underweight People


The purposeful gain of weight represents a real problem for people who are underweight. What consti­tutes underweight? This question has not been satisfactorily answered. In any case, actuarial statistics indicate that those who are significantly below the average in body weight have a higher expected mortality rate. Marked underweight can indicate underlying disease and is as much of a risk as obesity for early death.

Being underweight sometimes poses as much of a cosmetic problem for the individual as obesity does for an obese individual. An effective weight-gain program should include regular participation in resistance exercise, in conjunction with three well-balanced meals plus a couple of nutritious snacks between meals. Some commercial drinks are useful for increasing caloric consumption.

Despite herculean efforts, many underweight people find that gaining a pound is more difficult than losing a pound is for the obese.

The amount and type of weight gain should be monitored closely. Gaining muscle tissue without increasing fat stores is desirable. Overeating without exercising will not accomplish this objective, nor will it enhance physical appearance. Body fat should not be increased unless the affected individu­als are so thin that they are in danger of dipping into essential fat, which is necessary for the life processes.

The key to weight gain is to create a positive energy balance, and the key to muscle weight gain is to affect a positive energy balance, with a higher intake of protein, while participating in a resistive exercise program. Muscle tissue consists of 22 percent protein and 70 percent water, with the re­mainder being primarily fat and carbo­hydrate. One pound of muscle tissue contains about 700-800 calories, but it takes the consumption of about 2,500-3,000 extra calories to synthe­size that pound. Muscle development is dependent on resistive exercise, a protein intake of 1.5 grams per kilo­gram of body weight (or .36 grams per pound), and the time (days or weeks) that it takes to consume 2,500-3,000 extra calories.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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