Diet in Underweight

Half of the Indian rural population is underweight with up to three-quarter being so classified in lower groups. A very large population of rural Indian households have inadequate food supplies. Energy deficiency is due to long term food deficiency. So, first of all, it is necessary to take proper diet in underweight.



Underweight people are ones whose body mass index (BMI) is less than 18.5 .This is less than the body mass needed for maintaining good health. It is more common among females and children than males. It can be unhealthy as being obese.

Body Mass Index

It is defined as the ratio of weight and height. It is a better estimate of body fatness and health risk than body weight.

You can calculate your body mass index using BMI caculator.


Signs and Symptoms

Some common symptoms are –

  • Unusual weakness and tiredness
  • Dry skin
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Skinny and bony structure
  • Mild anemia
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Loss of body fat
  • Thinning and dryness of hair
  • Brittle nails
  • edema
  • Slower reflexes
  • Absence of menstrual period
  • Lowered total sleep time
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Lowered body temperature



1.There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss. These are:

  • Eating disorders like eating very little food or eating excess food
  • Thyroid problem
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Diabetes ( increased blood glucose levels), especially Type I
  • Cancer
  • Infections like tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS

2. It may be due to improper absorption of nutrients from foods.

3. It also occur in people who are tense, nervous and who never take rest.

4. Also, it may be due to conditions like fever, stomach disturbances.


Diet in Underweight

  • You should take high energy or high calorie diet. Calorie intake should be more than energy expended.
  • Energy dense foods holds key to weight gain. These includes dried fruits, sweets, nuts, desserts, jam, jelly, cereals, cereal products and non-vegetarian foods.
  • You can determine your calorie using calorie calculator.
  • High protein and high fat diet (use cream, butter, oil liberally) should be taken.
  • High carbohydrate sources must form the basis of diet. In comparison to leafy vegetables, potato and yam should be preferred.
  • You should take regular meals.
  • Take at least three major meals a day and snacks in between.
  • Eat more food in each meal. Serving size can be increased. For example drinking milk from a larger glass.
  • The number of meals should be increased.
  • Easily digestible foods should be taken.
  • Porridge, cutlets, desserts, potato chips, high protein drinks like whole milk, malted milk, thick soups can be included.
  • Dietary supplements can also be taken.
  • In all, you should take proper balanced diet including variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Some known fruits helps in gaining weight are banana, mangoes, avocado, grapes or raisins.

If you are suffering from diabetes or gluten sensitivity than you must follow these points – 

Diabetic diet

  • Avoid all kind of sugars and highly sweetened foods like banana, mangoes etc.
  • You can take fruits like apple, papaya, pear, orange, sweet lime.
  • Focus more on high fibre foods like whole cereals, sprouted pulses, whole fruits and raw vegetables(in form of salad).
  • Use fats like cream, butter, vegetable oil, coconut oil in contrast to ghee and vanaspati.

Gluten free diet

  • It excludes protein gluten from diet. For this you have to avoid below mentioned foods.
  • Avoid these foods – Wheat, barley, rye, oats and their products.


Some Basic Tips To Gain Weight

  • Take a walk before taking meals. It will make you more hungry.
  • Don’t drink water before meal. This can fill your stomach and make it harder for you to get enough calories.
  • Don’t smoke and drink alcohol. It hinders nutrient absorption.
  • Don’t take skim milk and its products. Include whole milk as it has high fat content.
  • Try to make foods more energy dense, For example adding cream to coffee.



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