Ways to gain Weight
About two thirds of people in the US are either overweight or obese (Trusted Source).
However, there are also many people with the opposite problem of being too skinny (Trusted Source).
This is a concern, as being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.
Additionally, many people who are not clinically underweight still want to gain some muscle.
Whether you’re clinically underweight or simply struggling to gain muscle weight, the main principles are the same.
This article outlines a simple strategy to quickly gain weight — the healthy way.
What Does Underweight Really Mean?
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.
Conversely, over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.
Use this calculatorTrusted Source to see where you fit on the BMI scale (opens in a new tab).
However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.
Some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.
Being underweight is about 2–3 times more common among girls and women, compared to men. In the US, 1% of men and 2.4% of women 20 years and older are underweight (Trusted Source).
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. It’s much more common in women and girls.
What Are the Health Consequences of Being Underweight?
Obesity is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems.
However, being underweight may be just as bad for your health. According to one study, being underweight was associated with a 140% greater risk of early death in men, and 100% in women (Trusted Source).
In comparison, obesity was associated with a 50% greater risk of early death, indicating that being underweight may be even worse for your health (Trusted Source).
Another study found an increased risk of early death in underweight men, but not women, suggesting that being underweight may be worse for men (4Trusted Source).
What’s more, people who are underweight are much more likely to get sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) and may be at greater risk of dementia (Trusted Source).
Being underweight can be just as unhealthy as being obese — if not more. People who are underweight are at risk of osteoporosis, infections, fertility problems and early death.
Several Things Can Cause Someone to Become Underweight
There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss, including:
- Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, a serious mental disorder.
- Thyroid problems: Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
- Celiac disease: The most severe form of gluten intolerance. Most people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it (Trusted Source).
- Diabetes: Having uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) can lead to severe weight loss.
- Cancer: Cancerous tumors often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose a lot of weight.
- Infections: Certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight. This includes parasites, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
If you’re underweight, you may want to see a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions.
This is particularly important if you have recently started losing large amounts of weight without even trying.
There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss. If you’re underweight, see a doctor to rule out a serious health problem.
How to Gain Weight the Healthy Way
If you want to gain weight, it’s very important to do it right.
Binging on soda and donuts may help you gain weight, but it can destroy your health at the same time.
If you’re underweight, you want to gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat rather than a lot of unhealthy belly fat.
There are plenty of normal-weight people who get type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health problems often associated with obesity (Trusted Source).
The next chapter looks at several effective ways to gain weight fast, without ruining your health at the same time.
It’s very important to eat mostly healthy foods even when you’re trying to gain weight.
Read more about: 10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism (Backed by Science)