Can You Gain Weight on a Keto Diet?
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People who want to gain weight on a keto diet fall into two categories. Those who have successfully lost weight, but almost too successfully need to gain some weight back and those who were born thin and want to actually gain weight but like the benefits of the keto diet.
Many people love how they feel on a keto diet. They have more energy and clear thinking.
The keto diet is usually aimed at weight loss by changing your body from a glucose burner to a fat storage burner by not consuming many calories of carbohydrates and forcing your body to break down fat for fuel producing ketones in your system.
On a keto diet people tend to have fewer ups and downs in their energy levels, food cravings, hunger pangs, and sugar levels tend to stay more stable throughout the day.
You tend to lose weight fast eating a macronutrient ratio of 5% of your overall daily calories in carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 70% in fats.
How do you know if you are underweight? Calculate your BMI, body weight index. There are easy online calculators that can help you figure this out based on weight, height, age and some also ask about activity level.
Related Article: How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight On Keto?
A BMI lower than 18.5 is considered underweight. There are smart scales like the FitBit Aria that can also tell you your BMI by just stepping on a scale like this one:
Less than 18.5 underweight
18.5-24.5. normal weight
30 and over obese
Most people actually look better at their normal weight. A good friend once reminded me that a skeletal bony horse is not as gorgeous as one with a bit of flesh. That being said I like my collar bone to stick out.
The knowledge on the street will tell you to just eat more fat. Increasing your caloric intake in fat but you need protein too. Binge on high caloric fats like full fat cream, cheese, and coconut oil for a while should do it.
Most diets are built on the premise that you need to eat less calories than your body needs per day in order to lose weight so the converse should also be true.
Genetics also play a part in any diet. I have a harder time than most people maintaining ketosis, and my cousin and sister do too.
You should also monitor your sleep and exercise as both play a big part in weight control. Most studies agree that sleep and exercise help you lose weight.
It is also known that sleep and exercise help build muscle. It is a myth to say a pound of muscle weighs less than a pound of fat because a pound is a pound! If you want to gain weight you need to consider gaining it as muscle and not as stored fat.
On average, it will take beginners about 8 weeks of a new weight lift training routine to build muscle. Generally training two to three times a week, and less in people who already have muscle mass.
Getting out to the gym and in the case of gaining weight, you need to add fat to your protein-after-workout-shake so you don’t burn muscle which is essentially protein. Most after-workout shakes are high in protein but not high in fats.
You also need to check out that the shake isn’t too high in sugar and carbs that will kick you out of ketosis. You can add MCT (multi-chain triglycerides) or coconut oil to shakes to increase the fat level or eat a few fat bombs after a workout.
What are fat bombs? Walnut sized balls circles, or squares made out of fats to help you keep your 70% fat ratio and make sure you are eating enough fats on the keto diet.
Simple fat bombs can be prepared like this:
¼ cup Coconut oil
½ cup Almond butter
¼ cup cocoa powder unsweetened
½ teaspoon Keto-friendly sweetener like stevia
Pinch of salt
Combine in a bowl all the ingredients and mix them well. If too dry add a bit more coconut oil (make sure it is in liquid form). Pour into a silicone mini-muffin mold. Freeze and use when needed.
You want to add weight in terms of muscle mass because there is a better correlation to health and longevity in people who are not underweight and not overweight who have lean muscle mass.
Being in shape really does help. People with lean muscle mass have less age-related muscle loss, more body strength, and bone density.
So if you want to gain on any diet add 200-300 more calories per day than your burns. There are simple calculators to figure out how many calories you need to lose per day to keep maintain your weight and add an additional 200-300 calories in terms of fat or protein.
The caloric need is very individual based on age, gender, activity level, height, and weight.
If you need 2500 calories per day you need to add 200-300 calories more to reach 2700-2800.
You may need to incorporate more meals or snacks per day and not do intermittent fasting full time if your goal is to gain weight.
Most people need 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Some foods to consider are adding more eggs; whey protein because their amino acid content makes them the best choice for building healthy muscles; full-fat dairy (if you are not allergic or lactose intolerant), nuts, especially if you are not allergic, and good oils like MCT (multi-chain triglyceride) oil, coconut oil or clarified butter.
You need protein to build muscle and exercise. The amino acid leucine that is found in protein promotes muscle protein synthesis. Leucine also interacts with ketone BHB ‘s (beta-hydroxybutyrate) to help preserve muscle.
Each body is a little different so be patient and persistent. Good luck.