Although the obesity epidemic has spurred a great interest in weight loss, gaining weight is also a popular interest for many athletes and bodybuilders. Unfortunately, gaining weight in the form of fat is all too easily done. However, with the intake of the right foods, it is possible to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain. As research from the March 2001 issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism explains, muscle gain depends on having a positive muscle protein balance, which can be accomplished through exercise and the intake of high-protein foods.
Canned tuna is a common choice of food for bodybuilders because it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. In addition, canned tuna is inexpensive and portable. However, fitness and nutrition research Michael Roussell notes that tuna contains mercury, which can have neurological side effects. Roussell suggests eating chunk lite tuna, as it has lower levels of mercury, and explains that you should be able to eat one can of tuna per day without any side effects.
Quinoa is a grain, not a meat, but it may be useful for gaining weight because it contains carbohydrates and fat in addition to protein. According to Penn State Extension quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa contains fiber, which helps prevent heart disease and fights obesity, according to the National Heart Association. Quinoa is rich in carbohydrates, which can power your workouts.
Although pork chops and other pork products may not be considered the healthiest food choice, they can actually be quite lean. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 4-ounce cut of pork may contain as little as 4 grams of fat and 29 grams of protein. This high-protein food is suitable for even low-carbohydrate nutrition plans, as it contains no carbohydrates.
Eggs are high in protein and can be cooked in a variety of ways quickly and easily. Like tuna, eggs are also relatively inexpensive, so purchasing large enough quantities for weight gain shouldn't break the bank. Although eggs do contain fat, research indicates that fat may aid in muscle gain. A study from the October 2003 issue of the journal "Gut" found that combining fat and protein improves muscle growth and weight gain.
Like quinoa, beans are high in protein and carbohydrates. Beans are also low in fat and offer fiber, which can help keep you regular -- an important consideration when you're eating enough food to gain weight. Beans are inexpensive, so you can purchase them in large quantities. In addition, beans can be served in a variety of ways, so you may not get tired of them quickly.
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: Exercise, Protein Metabolism, and Muscle Growth
- Penn State Extension: Keen on Quinoa
- American Heart Association: Whole Grains and Fiber
- Gut: Effect of a Protein and Energy Dense N-3 Fatty Acid Enriched Oral Supplement on Loss of Weight and Lean Tissue in Cancer Cachexia: A Randomised Double Blind Trial
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pork