[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
Whether for the treatment of anorexia nervosa, in the event of malnutrition linked to a pathology or even too rapid weight loss, weight gain will be necessary. But it is often difficult to increase our energy intake when we are not particularly hungrier. Which is quite normal, by eating little, our stomach gets used to small quantities and therefore consuming more requires the stomach to undergo very unpleasant distortions.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
There are different aspects to manage to optimize this weight gain. Here I will give you the 7 modifications to make to optimize weight gain without digestive problems or dietary imbalance.
First of all, increase calorie intake per meal
Opt for foods higher in calories such as dairy products (cheese or yogurt) or even fattier foods such as oilseeds (peanut puree, almond puree, etc.). Limit fiber intake by not eliminating it completely, but by keeping a sufficient dose, this will increase nutrient absorption. Destroying part of the fiber through cooking or mixing also helps improve absorption: crushed banana, compote, carrot puree, etc.
Optimize protein intake
Indeed, proteins will play an essential role in gaining muscle mass, which will increase overall immunity and combat malnutrition. Enrich dishes with proteins such as adding a little ham or seitan to a preparation, soy cream to a puree, adding grated cheese to a quiche, etc.
Make several small meals
5 to 6 meals per day in the form of sweet or savory snacks prevents the stomach from filling up too quickly. This also allows the body to improve digestion by separating meals by 3 hours. By avoiding periods of fasting that are too long, we avoid the loss of muscle mass and therefore the worsening of malnutrition and weight loss. Eating a little before going to bed also allows the body to begin the nocturnal fast with a sufficient caloric intake. The best is to make a small digestible snack by limiting proteins and fats, but with a glycemic index. means to avoid reactive hypoglycemia during the night (fruit paste, sugar-free compote, mashed banana with yogurt, honey toast, etc.)
Limit fluids during meals
Avoiding drinking water at mealtime prevents stomach distortion, and therefore avoids the feeling of being full after just a few mouthfuls. Additionally, it prevents proper absorption by diluting the stomach’s hydrochloric acid (digestive juice). Avoid meals that are too liquid, in powder or diluted form, knowing that liquid reduces the caloric intake of the meal itself. Unless there is a swallowing problem or a post-surgical risk, it will be essential to make a liquid meal while keeping a minimum of material and avoiding diluting the meal too much.
Likewise, avoiding a meal that is too dry will be essential to avoid swallowing problems; it is difficult to swallow a dish that is too dry or hard to chew. Chewing well during meals is essential, but too much chewing is not a good sign, it can be a sign that the dish is not of the right consistency or too difficult to swallow.
And of course, avoid dishes that are too salty or too sweet; if a meal is too concentrated in sugar or salt, this causes a call for water in the form of intense thirst, in order to dilute the content. As explained above, diluting water increases stomach distortion and therefore reduces the caloric intake of the meal by increasing satiety.
Play on variety and appetizing tastes
Having fun in the kitchen is essential, playing with colors, smells, but also textures and tastes helps increase the desire to eat and therefore increase calorie intake. If there are smells or flavors that remind you of childhood, beautiful memories or something else, optimizing your food helps make the meal pleasant and full of sweetness. This is important for managing mild malnutrition, because often with reduced appetite, meals can seem difficult and an unpleasant time for many.
A weakness for chocolate? Add it everywhere. Spices, flowers, aromas or reassuring tastes (Vanilla, orange blossom, Cinnamon). Cooking styles, an elderly person who has Italian origins can take pleasure in smelling the aroma of Provence herbs, well-seasoned tomato sauce, the smell of olive oil heating, the cooking of garlic, etc… Also play on original vegetables and variety, fruits in salads, fresh herbs or condiments (mustard, balsamic, etc.). Testing new flavors can also increase your appetite, discover Asian flavors, try a good Mexican dish, etc.
Taking a walk after a meal and avoiding lying down helps improve digestion. Eating calmly while remaining relaxed and relaxing the stomach also helps improve digestive work. Opting for fermented foods helps improve the quality of the microbiota and therefore optimize digestion. In addition, its foods also make it possible to improve the intake of essential micronutrients (lacto-fermented vegetables, yogurt, cheese, etc.) by neutralizing tannins or other elements blocking the absorption of minerals.
Listen to your hunger and satiety, despite everything
And finally, continuing to listen to the body’s signals remains essential when the weight is back to normal. Stuffing yourself or forcing yourself is not a pleasant experience for everyone, so remaining aware of your satiety at the end of the meal also allows you to realize what the body is asking of us. Hunger is also very important, especially if it is always present at certain meals or if it arrives at unexpected times. If this is the case, it will allow you to limit young people who are too long. Often, when weight regains, there is a physiological insatiable hunger that can be frightening for some. Indeed, it is a completely normal and necessary phenomenon, caloric intake will increase until the body regains a normal balance and hunger will stabilize or decrease.