Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is a number estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.

But, there are people who are naturally very skinny and still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.

What Are The Health Consequences of Being Underweight?

Being underweight may be bad for your health the same as being obese. According to one study, being underweight was associated with a 140% greater risk of early death in men, and 100% in women.

In this study, obesity was “only” associated with a 50% greater risk of early death, indicating that being underweight may be even worse for your health. There is another study that found increased risk of early death in underweight men, but not women. This indicates that being underweight may actually be worse for men.


The Main Question Is: How to Gain Weight The Healthy Way

If you want to gain weight, then it is very important that you do it the right way.

Soda and donuts may help you gain weight, but it it is far from healthy.

If you are underweight, then you better gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, not a bunch of unhealthy belly fat. It is essential that you eat healthy foods and live an overall healthy lifestyle.


Here are some tips for those who want to gain weight on a healthy way:


You Need to Eat More Calories Than Your Body Burns

The most important thing you can do to gain weight is to eat more calories than your body needs. Without that, you won’t gain.

If you want to gain weight slowly and steadily, then aim for 300-500 calories more than you burn each day.

If you want to gain weight fast, then aim for something like 700-1000 calories above your maintenance level.

Keep in mind that calorie calculators only provide estimates. Your needs may vary, of course.

Eat Lots of Protein

The most important nutrient for gaining healthy weight is protein. Muscle is made of protein, so without it most of those extra calories may just end up as body fat. Studies show that during periods of overfeeding, a high protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle, which you need.

BUT, keep in mind that protein is a double-edged sword. It is also highly filling, so that it can reduce your hunger and appetite significantly. This can obviously make it harder to get in enough calories.

Some of the high-protein foods include meats, fish, eggs, many dairy products, legumes, nuts and others.

Eat Lots of Carbs and Fat, and Very Important – Eat at Least 3 Times Per Day

Many people try restricting either carbs or fat when they are trying to lose weight.

This is a bad idea if your goal is to gain weight, because it will make it harder to intake enough calories.

Eat plenty of high-carb and high-fat foods if weight gain is a priority for you. It is best to eat plenty of protein, fat and carbs at each meal.

Make sure to eat at least 3 meals per day, and try to add in energy snacks whenever possible.

Below are some energy-dense foods that are perfect for gaining weight:

  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, dates, prunes and others.
  • High-fat dairy: Whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream.
  • Fats and Oils: Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Grains: Whole grains like oats and brown rice.
  • Meat: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc. Choose fattier cuts.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
  • Dark chocolate, avocados, peanut butter, coconut milk, granola, trail mixes.

Go to a gym!

It is probably best if you take it easy on the cardio and focus on the weights.

Doing some cardio is okay, but don’t do so much that you end up burning all the additional calories you are eating.