RoboG

Q:

How can an underweight diabetic gain weight without consuming a large amount of carbs?

Amy Campbell

A:

There are three main nutrients in food that provide calories: carbohydrate, protein and fat. Carbohydrate foods, which include fruit, starches, certain vegetables, milk and desserts, have the most effect on blood glucose. If you increase your carb intake, your blood glucose level will very likely increase, as well. That leaves protein and fat, which have very little effect on blood glucose. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and tofu. Fat is found in margarine, butter, oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, nuts and seeds, as well as in fried foods and most “fast foods.” So, a good way to boost your calorie intake and not your blood glucose is to increase your intake of protein and fat. However, try to choose the healthier versions of these foods. Many protein and fat foods are high in saturated fat, a type of unhealthy fat that may raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. For example, instead of eating a larger piece of steak or pork at your meal, go for more chicken, turkey, seafood or tofu. And rather than loading your foods up with butter, stick margarine, cream cheese or sour cream, boost calories by using trans-fat-free tub margarine, vegetable oils, salad dressings, nuts, seeds and nut butters, instead. Another way to try and gain weight is to fit snacks in during the day and in the evening. Eating lower-carb, higher-fat snack foods, such as nuts, reduced-fat cheese, or lower-carb crackers with peanut butter may help you gain weight without raising your blood glucose or cholesterol. If you’re still finding it hard to gain weight, consider meeting with a dietitian who can give you more specific guidance.