Nutrition

What Foods Can Help a Person with Diabetes Gain Weight

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

While gaining weight seems easy to many, it is difficult for someone with diabetes. The main reason is diabetes causes the loss of calories. Then, how can a person with diabetes gain weight? The best and easiest way to gain weight is by eating foods high in calories and sometimes healthy fats. But one must also ensure the food they consume does not cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Don't worry! This article will help you understand what should persons with diabetes eat to gain weight. Let us first understand the effect of diabetes on your weight.

How does Diabetes affect your Weight?

Diabetes and weight significantly affect each other. It applies to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. You might have come across overweight diabetes people and heard of diabetes management programs targeting weight loss. However, it is not the only reality. Undiagnosed diabetes also leads to sudden weight loss in many people.

Glucose, our primary source of energy, is controlled by a hormone called insulin. During diabetes, your pancreas does not produce enough insulin. As a result, glucose levels in the body increase, and it is not transported to body cells for energy production. This causes the body to burn existing fats to supply energy, leading to weight loss. Gaining weight as a person with diabetes starts with tracking calorie intake and following a diet plan aligned to weight goals.

Top 10 To-do List for Weight Gain

1. Tracking Calorie Intake

Studies suggest that increasing calorie intake by 500 calories each day can help in significant weight gain. However, manually calculating calories and tracking them is cumbersome. You can use mobile applications that can help you track calories based on food intake. Sugar.fit is one such application. It is dedicated to helping diabetes people.

2. Eating Full-fat Dairy Products

Consuming more calories than you utilize helps in gaining weight. Milk and milk products are rich in protein, calories, and other nutrients. When you consume full-fat dairy products, you gain protein and other nutrients in addition to extra calories. You can drink whole milk or intake dairy products like full-fat cheese and yogurt. They can be consumed alone or with other healthy foods like oats, soups, fruit smoothies, etc., to add variety to meals. However, diabetes people must be mindful of daily fat and carb consumption to avoid a spike in blood glucose levels.

3. Limiting Caffeine, Low-Calorie Foods & Beverages

Caffeine is known to boost metabolism and reduce hunger hormones. Foods and beverages containing caffeine like coffee, tea, and diet products suppress appetite. They reduce calorie intake. Those targeting weight gain must exclude such food and drinks from their daily diet. To address snacking and food cravings, a person with diabetes can add high-calorie and nutrient-dense snacks. these help in maintaining blood sugar levels, besides gaining weight. Foods like nuts and seeds (chia, walnuts, flaxseeds) and nut and seed butter (peanut butter, almond butter) can be consumed with fruits as snacks.

4. Adding Oil to Vegetables and Greens

Heart-healthy oils like olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, etc., are healthy fats. They are a healthy option for people with diabetes because they are rich in calories and do not increase blood sugar levels. Adding these to your vegetable curries will give you the required calorie boost.

5. Eating Healthy High-Calorie Foods

Eating foods that are high in calories is the key to gaining weight. However, a people with diabetes must ensure that those high-calorie foods are nutrient-rich rather than just being high in sugar and fat. Healthy high-calorie foods aid in weight gain and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Best examples of such foods are: Dry fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.)Seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, etc.)Coconut, Avocado Nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)Brown rice, Quinoa, Granola, Fatty fish (tuna, sardines, etc.)

6. Eating Smaller Portions more Frequently

To gain weight, you have to eat more. But for diabetes people overeating at once can lead to an increase in sugar levels. Also, people with diabetes have a frequent urge to eat. Experts suggest they spread their meals throughout the day. Eating more often increases your appetite, and it also gives you the room to intake more calories. That does not mean you need to have six big meals. Instead, you can divide your three substantial meals into six small meals. Your ideal day might look like this: breakfast, snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks, evening snacks, and dinner. A gap of two hours between meals is sufficient to help you achieve your weight goals.

7. Increasing Protein Intake

Protein is advisable not only for those with diabetes but also for anyone on a weight gain journey. If you are looking to gain a healthy weight, protein is essential. Your muscles are made of protein. The high-protein diet helps in converting extra calories into muscle. You can increase lean protein in your diet by adding protein shakes made of whey, soy, egg, etc. Turkey, chicken, and fish are also good sources of protein. You can also opt for plant-based proteins, like quinoa, lentils, and beans. However, a person with diabetes must take care of total carbohydrate intake during the day.

8. Incorporating Resistance or Strength Training

Weight gain should not be equated with fat gain. Instead, your focus must rely on muscle gain. Exercise and workouts help in adding weight through muscle gain. Resistance or strength training is the most suitable way of transforming excess calories into muscles. It not only increases your muscle strength and tone but also helps in maintaining flexibility and balance. You can opt for free weights, weight machines, suspension equipment, or resistance bands at gyms. It will help you build muscles instead of storing fat.

9. Adding Nutritional Supplements to the Diet

Nutritional supplements are also a good way of increasing appetite and aiding in weight gain. You would have seen fitness freaks taking nutritional supplements to help them build their muscles. Protein powder, whey protein, weight gainers, creatine, casein are commonly used supplements. However, each supplement is different and may not suit everybody. It is essential to consult your doctor or dietician to help pick the supplement that suits your requirements the best.

10. Track Progress with a Weekly Weigh-in

Once you change your diet and start incorporating the methods mentioned above, it is necessary to understand which way suits you the best. Tracking your progress with weekly weigh-ins helps modify your existing diet plan and eating routine. As a result, you can see better progress and achieve your weight goals faster. And once you reach your weight goals, you can modify your eating routine to avoid becoming overweight.

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Bottomline

Diabetes has different effects on different people. While it may lead to weight gain in some people, it may cause weight loss in others. It is important to understand how diabetes affects you and plan a diet accordingly to address your weight needs. So, what should a person with diabetes eat to gain weight? By eating the right kind of high-calorie food, a diabetes people will be able to gain weight without worrying too much about the rise in blood sugar levels. Summary While diabetes may lead to weight gain in some people, it may also lead to weight loss in others. It is essential to plan a diet by consulting your doctor/dietician to address your weight needs. By adding the right kind of high-calorie food, a diabetes people will be able to gain weight without worrying too much about the rise in blood sugar levels.

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