How to Gain Weight When on a Low-Carb Diabetic Diet

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A healthy chicken breast wrap. (Image: foodography/iStock/Getty Images)

Switching to a low-carbohydrate diet is one method a diabetic may use in helping to regulate the condition and stabilize blood sugar levels. While the American Diabetes Association typically advises against low-carb diets, containing less than 130 grams each day, your doctor of nutritionist may think this is a good option for you. Low-carb diets are typically associated with weight loss, but it's also possible to gain weight when going low-carb.

Planning Your Needs

To gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus, meaning you consume more calories than you burn. United States Department of Agriculture guidelines state that women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories each day to maintain weight, while men need between 2,000 and 3,000. You'll need slightly above this to gain weight. Your needs depend on your age, weight and how active you are, so to determine your own specific needs, meet with a medical or nutrition professional.

Make Friends with Fat

Increasing the amount of fat you eat will help bump up your calorie intake and take you into a surplus. The key is to pick healthy fats of the unsaturated kind, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. You could add avocado to your salads, drizzle olive oil over green vegetables, munch on nuts or dip celery sticks in peanut butter as a snack.

The Protein Switch

Changing from eating only lean proteins, such as chicken or turkey breast, fat-free cottage cheese and milk, or white fish, to slightly fattier proteins is another way to get in more calories. Swap the occasional serving of extra lean ground beef, chicken breast and canned tuna for oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Play Your Carbs Right

If you're following the standard low-carb recommendations of under 130 grams per day, you still have some carbs to use. Aim to get these from nutrient-dense sources such as fruits and vegetables, whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice and potatoes. Spread your carbs evenly throughout the day so you eat roughly the same amount at every meal.

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