Provided there is no serious or obvious cause, it is then fairly easy to embark on a straightforward dietetic routine that will increase the weight.
The basic idea is to increase it slowly. Do not think you can gain four to ten ki1os in the first week. Eating about 2,000 (500 calories) per day in excess of what you normally do will bring a gradual simple weight increase. This is the rest idea. Nothing will turn an underweight person off food and give feelings of revulsion more quickly than a plate stacked high with a conglomeration of food. It could achieve an effect opposite to the one desired.
Meals consisting as far as possible of foods that the person likes, but in progressively increased amounts is the aim. Serve these daintily, with an eye to the psychological reaction, and the underweight patient is well on the road to gaining an appreciable amount.
Emphasis must be on foods high in calories. However, there must also be an increase in the protein content, and adequate amounts of protein is also required. Apart from trying to increase the fat layers, the muscles need building up and this must come from protein. This may be in the form of meat, fish, poultry, eggs or, for the vegetarian, soya tan and gluten products. Gluten is the protein of wheat, and many delightful and appetising savoury dishes may be prepared from it. The same applies to the soya bean, which is very rich in protein id is a very versatile protein food. With some thought and ingenuity, a reasonably good cook can readily suitable foods that are appetizing, nutritious and weight-inducing.
Some of the foods that, will increase weight are fairly high in calories and fat content. Ideally, with the current knowledge about the risk of animal fats in cholesterol, and sugars increasing triglyceride levels, “not overdoing it” is important. These products increase blood-fat levels, and an excess of these is a known cause of premature heart attack.
Conversely, of course, the thin person’s heart has far less work to do than that of an obese person. Obesity is a serious cause of heart disease. So, while one hazard may be marginally increased, the thin person is less likely, on statistics, to be a heart patient.
Keep a Record
Keeping a daily record of the weight is a good idea. Weigh in a similar manner to the overweight person who is trying to reduce.
The best time to check the basic weight is first thing in the morning. Attend the toilet and urinate. Then weigh with no clothes on. Record this weight. Each day, you may see a marginal increase in your weight. Keep the record, and after a month or more you will probably be happy with the results.
Of course, you are the best judge, looking at yourself stripped in front of the mirror. This will soon tell you if you are too thin, just right, or starting to get a bit on the overweight side. It is important that you retain the correct weight (or thereabouts) for your size (height) and sex.
A Sample Menu
Here is a list of the foods that an underweight person may include in the menu.
Use it sensibly, and as a guide.
600 ml milk
100-150 g meat, fish, poultry (or other protein, probably of vegetable source for vegetarians) (preferably trim excess fat)
1 serving wholegrain or enriched cereal (eg muesli)
4 servings of vegetables including:
1 serving green or yellow vegetable
2 servings white or sweet potato, corn, beans
1 serving other vegetable
2-3 servings of fruit, including one citrus fruit
28 g (1 oz or 2 tablespoons) or more of butter or margarine.
Mei-calorie foods to complete the caloric requirements: cereals such as macaroni, rice, noodles, spaghetti; honey, molasses, syrups; glucose; salad dressings; cakes; biscuits and pastry in moderation; ice-cream, puddings, sauces.
Vary this basic type of menu according to your likes and dislikes.
It is possible to calculate fairly easily the number of kilojoules per day you actually require to carry out your normal duties. Add 2000 kj (500 calories) to this, and you will get an idea of how many you need.
If you wish to calculate these more accurately, turn to the section on overweight (obesity), and use the figures in the tables reproduced there. As there may be absorption or actual dietetic deficiencies in some underweight people, taking a multivitamin-mineral capsule daily may be advisable. Added quantities of iron may be needed if the red-blood-cell count is reduced.
It is necessary to point out that weight increasing diets must be looked at given considerable care. From experience we have noted that many thin, and so-ca. “underweight” adolescents (boys girls), with the progress of time, and normal maturity, tend to put on weight automatically. With exercise, greater physical activity, normal development inevitably follows regular hormonal p:roduction occurring naturally in the tee: most put on weight as they develop secondary sexual characteristics. Getting into the way of “eating more foods put on weight” may later prove to counterproductive, and a difficult habit to break once established.