Is It Unhealthy To Be Underweight? Check Out The Natural Ways To Deal With It!!
In the US, approximately two-thirds of the people are either overweight or obese. On the other hand, many people feel uneasy about being too skinny, which is also a topic for concern.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reports, during the year 2015-2016, 1.5% of U.S adults aged 20 and over are found underweight. These statistics are based on measuring body mass index (BMI).
Body mass index is the measured value of body fat derived from the mass(weight) and the height of the person. The range of this value determines whether the is underweight or overweight.
There is a standard value for everything, and if your scale doesn’t match with that standard value, then there will be some benefits and drawbacks associated with it.
The same goes for the body mass index if underweight BMI is less than or equal to 18.5, then the person falls in the underweight category.
If the underweight BMI range is between 18.5 to 24.9, then the person is considered normal and falls under ideal condition. A person is deemed to be overweight if BMI is between 25 to 29.9, and the state of obesity is reached when the BMI touches 30 or more.
However, make sure that BMI does not take muscle mass into account; it only depends on the weight and height of a person.
In some cases, people are naturally very skinny, and still, they are healthy. Therefore being underweight according to BMI does not indicate that you have a health problem until and unless the BMI measure is not too low that the standard value.
It is found that being underweight is common among females as compared to males. You can get to know about it with the fact that in the US, only 1% of men and 2.4% of women age 20 years and older are underweight.
What Are The Causes Of Not Gaining Weight?
Being underweight means that the body is not getting the ample amount of nutrients to build healthy bones, skin, and hair.
Exceptions are everywhere, and some people are skinny due to their genetic background or medical illness that prevents them from putting on weight.
Here is a list of medical conditions that cause unhealthy weight loss.
- Family History: In some cases, people have low BMI due to physical characteristics that run in their family.
- High Metabolism: Some people have a high metabolism that means they need to have more intake of nutrients and therefore, they may not gain weight even when they have high-energy foods.
- Frequent Physical Activity: People who are highly persistent in physical activities, will burn a significant amount of calories that result in low body weight.
- Mental Illness: Poor mental health such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anorexia, and bulimia may affect your food intake, image, and appetite.
- Thyroid problem: Hyperthyroidism(overactive thyroid) leads to a high metabolism rate resulting in unhealthy weight loss.
- Celiac disease: It is the most severe form of gluten intolerance, and generally, people are not aware of its occurrence.
- Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes, such as type 1, leads to severe weight loss.
- Cancer: Tumors are the leading cause of diseases that often burn massive amounts of calories resulting in weight loss.
- Infections: Some severe infections such as parasites, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS lead to weight loss.
What Happens When You Get To Thin?
Underweight can cause a health problem, but not all people suffering from it experience its adverse effects. However, few of them may suffer from the following symptoms:-
- Osteoporosis: In 2016, women suffering from underweight increased the risk of osteoporosis in which the bones become brittle and more prone to breaking.
- Skin, hair, or teeth problem: Underweight is caused due to lack of insufficient nutrients intake that can lead to physical symptoms such as thinning skin, hair loss, dry skin, or poor dental health.
- Getting sick frequently: One of the causes of underweight is the lack of insufficient nutrients that results in a weak immune system. As a result, the person gets sick more frequently and common illnesses such as cold and cough that may last longer than the usual duration.
- A feeling of tiredness: Unhealthy weight results in a weak immune system due to a lack of calories and gives a sense of tiredness or fatigue.
- Anemia: It is a medical condition that results in low blood counts resulting in dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.
- Irregular periods: Unhealthy weight results in irregular periods. Women may find menstruation stops or an adolescent’s first-period may get delayed, or in some cases, it may be absent. Irregular or absent menstruation may lead to infertility.
- Premature births: A study published in An International Journal Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology reports that pregnant women suffering from underweight are at high risk for preterm labor that means having a baby before 37 weeks.
- Impaired growth: Young people need nutrients as it is the phase of growth, and during such a stage, being underweight may lead to uncertain growth. In medical terms, it is called ‘Failure to thrive.’
A study published in the journal BMC Public Health reports that being underweight increases the risk for mortality as compared to people with an average BMI.
It is also suggested that a person suffering from underweight impairs a person’s healing processes following an accident or trauma as compared to the person having an ideal range of BMI.
How Skinny People Gain Weight Fast?
There are various methods to overcome the problem of unhealthy weight loss. Underweight treatment is possible through a healthy diet that incorporates nutritious calories dense foods. It is crucial to pay attention to such a process as you need to gain muscle mass in a balanced manner.
Soda and donuts may help you to gain weight but with a lot of unhealthy belly fat that can destroy your health. There are people with a healthy weight but suffering from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems associated with obesity.
In order to gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, it is essential to have healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle.
The initial step towards weight gain is to understand how much calories your body burns during the cycle of 24 hours, and then the amount and type of nutrients should be taken accordingly.
Therefore, some people seek a doctor’s recommendation in order to know about their body requirements. The doctor helps them by preparing a diet plan for them that depends on the demand of the body.
The diet plan contains various vital components that are essential for the person to overcome the unhealthy weight loss that is listed below.
Intake more calories than your body burn:
In order to gain weight, it is essential to provide your body with more calories than you burn. If you wish to calculate your calorie need, you may use a calorie calculator.
To gain weight moderately, it is essential to aim for 300 to 500 calories more than your body requires. If you wish to gain rapidly, you should aim for 700 to 1000 calories extra than your body needs.
Please note that the calorie meter gives you an estimate regarding the number of calories required to your body and sometimes may vary 100 calories per day.
Food items such as slivered almonds on top of cereal or yogurt, sunflower, or chia seeds or nut butter on whole-grain toast are some examples of food items that can help you to provide more calories.
Intake of protein:
Protein plays a vital role in gaining healthy weight because muscles are built of protein, so the consumption of food without having protein will end up as body fat.
When protein provides you extra calories to build muscles, on the other hand, it also reduces your hunger and appetite that, in a way, resists you from eating more.
Therefore, during the time of overfeeding, consuming a high protein diet provides extra calories that help in building muscles. To gain weight, aim for 0.7 to 1 grams of protein per pound of your body weight, it is considered as the bottom line you may take more than this.
Protein-rich foods include egg, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, legumes, etc. If you face trouble in getting enough protein intake from your regular diet, you may opt for whey protein.
Plenty of carbs and fat:
Some people may face problems in eating a large meal. It can also be a reason for being underweight. Such people should develop a habit of eating several small meals in a day.
Intake of high-carb and high-fat foods are also a priority to gain weight. Eating plenty of protein, carbs, and fat at each meal is considered as the best.
The idea of intermittent fasting should be avoided by the people who are underweight though it is useful for the people who need to lose their weight but makes it more challenging to eat enough calories to gain weight.
Eat foods rich in energy:
Sometimes, it's essential to have single-ingredient foods that add taste to your meal so that you can consume more in order to get more calories.
Using spices, sauces, and condiments make your energy-dense foods tastier and give you more calories with respect to their weight.
We have some examples of such energy-dense foods for gaining weight:-
- Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, macadamia, etc.
- Dried fruit: Dates, prunes, raisins, etc
- Dairy rich in fat: Milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream
- Fats and oils: Avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil
- Grains: Oats and brown rice.
- Meat: Chicken, red meat, beef, fish, lamb, pork, etc
- Tubers: Potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Peanut butter, coconut milk, granola, dark chocolate, avocados, trail mixes.
It is advisable to avoid eating a ton of vegetables to gain weight as it merely leaves room for energy-dense foods. Eating fruit is good, but try eating fruits that do not require chewing, such as a banana.
The nutrients provided by the diet need to go at the correct place instead of just becoming fat cells that are possible through heavy weight lifting.
It is advisable to lift 2 to 4 times per week in the gym to increase the need for building muscles. Weight lifting is crucial as it increases the urge for building muscles, and the nutrients consumed are used by the body to the fullest.
Heavyweight lifting increases the weight and volume over time, and the nutrients consumed helps in building muscles giving your body a proper shape.
It is always preferred to consult a doctor if you have skeletal or medical issues before going for heavy weight lifting exercises. Apart from giving shape and building muscles, it also gives you strength.
There are several other strategies to gain weight faster apart from the diet, such as things that increase the rate of weight loss. Here are some points to remember for gaining weight mentioned below:-
- Avoid drinking water just before your meal as it can fill your stomach, preventing you from taking enough food.
- Try to eat often, such as squeeze in an additional meal or snack.
- Develop a habit of drinking milk to quench the thirst to consume more high-quality protein and calories.
- In case you are unable to manage to take enough protein, you may consume weight gainer shakes as they are high in protein, carbs, and calories.
- Creatine monohydrate helps you in building muscles, so do not forget to add creatine to your diet.
- As diet and exercise are important in building muscles, sleep is also one of the essential parts of building muscles because it is that period of time when the muscles relax and rebuild with greater efficiency. Quality sleep gives you a number of muscles.
- Make it a habit of eating protein, calorie-dense food first, and vegetables last. Always try to eat the vegetables last.
- Stop smoking because it tends to lose weight. You will find that the habit of quitting smoking leads to weight gain as smokers are prone to weigh less than non-smokers.
- Gaining weight can become difficult for you if you are not a consistent player, as consistency is a key to long-term success.
Some people have a saturation point at which their body resists changes by regulating their hunger level and metabolism. It is mainly governed by the brain and hormones, such as leptin.
In some cases, you may need to push yourself to eat more in order to gain weight, and developing consistency in such trouble will give you success in gaining weight for an extended period of time.