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Participants in Fast-Food Diet Paid to Gain Weight and More News

Participants in Fast-Food Diet Paid to Gain Weight and More News

In today's Media Mix, new changes to Chicago's food trucks, plus restaurant sector bounces back

Arthur Bovino

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

Fast-Food Diet Participants Told to Gain Weight: A new study at Washington University School of Medicine asks participants to eat an extra 1,000 calories per day to test the effects of fast food. [ABC News]

Chicago Food Trucks Avoid South Side: A list of 23 proposed food truck sites from Mayor Rahm Emanuel avoids Chicago's South Side, leaving some neighborhood residents unhappy. [Chicagoist]

Restaurant Sector Hiring: The restaurant and food industry is doing the most hiring in the leisure and hospiltality sector. [USA Today]

Shortage of Washington Apple Pickers: Despite the great harvest, many are concerned that there aren't enough pickers to gather the fruit. [NPR]

Beer Sales Up Again: Thanks to the craft beer boom, beer sales in the U.S. are rising. [Huffington Post]

The Fast Food Diet

It seems counter-intuitive, but proponents of the Fast Food Diet claim that you can lose weight by solely eating fast food. Does this diet really deliver easy weight loss — and at what price?

The Fast Food Diet, a book by Stephen Sinatra, MD, is based on the premise that it’s not realistic to expect people to completely give up fast food, especially if they eat it regularly. It proposes that people get the facts about fast-food restaurant items to make healthier choices.

The Fast Food Diet: How Does It Work?

Dr. Sinatra suggests that one reason many other diets fail is because they are too restrictive. He believes that his Fast Food Diet philosophy follows what he calls the 80/20 rule: It’s okay to splurge 20 percent of the time as long as you eat a healthy diet 80 percent of the time.

The Fast Food Diet is also designed to fit into someone’s lifestyle, rather than require drastic changes. The subtitle is “Lose Weight and Feel Great Even if You’re Too Busy to Eat Right,” meaning that you don’t have to make a whole lot of changes or effort to lose weight, but rather just small adjustments to food habits you already have. The Fast Food Diet lists the healthiest options at fast-food restaurants, nixing fried foods, trans fats, and sodas.

The Fast Food Diet: A Sample Diet Day

The following example of three meals and two snacks adds up to 1,577 calories and 69 grams of fat, including water or no-calorie drinks:

Hardee's Frisco Breakfast Sandwich

Burger King Original Whopper Jr. with a garden salad

McDonald's Fruit ’n Yogurt parfait

Churches Chicken fried chicken breast, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes

The Fast Food Diet: Pros

One advantage of the Fast Food Diet is its ease. “You don’t have to do your own prep,” says dietitian Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The portion size is pre-determined.”

Another benefit: It does help you choose lower-fat, lower-calorie choices. “If you frequent these restaurants, you can choose the best items on the menu,” says Amy Lanou, PhD, nutritionist and assistant professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina in Ashville.

The Fast Food Diet: Cons

One of the biggest challenges is the temptation dieters face. You’re ordering a baked potato, hold the sour cream, while your favorite foods are being deep-fried right under your nose. Says Lanou, “If you are used to eating a 3,000-calorie meal at a fast-food restaurant and are suddenly trying to eat less, you’re still there smelling the smell. It can be hard to stick with.”

There’s also the issue of the limited amount of fruits and vegetables. “Most people don’t go into a fast food restaurant and order the salad,” says Bonci. “And how much lettuce and tomato can you put on a burger?”

When there are fruits and vegetables on the menu, they are usually skimpy and nutritionally lacking. “The produce is not dark green. There is no arugula, no broccoli,” says Bonci. “The fruit may be on a yogurt parfait, and you can count the number of berries on one hand.” Whole-grain bread and brown rice are unheard-of, except for the occasional offering at a restaurant like Subway.

The overall choices are limited, too. “A lot of times, it’s a burger or chicken,” says Bonci. “Fish choices are slim to none, and it’s pretty much fried. You don’t usually see salmon.”

The Fast Food Diet: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects

In the short term, says Bonci, you can lose some weight on the Fast Food Diet: “Because the Fast Food Diet has meat, you can experience [feeling full]. There’s a mouth feel, an aroma. Someone on a diet who eats just a salad will want to eat again in five minutes, but with the Fast Food Diet, a person is more likely to stay satisfied longer with a small burger and is less likely to eat again soon.”

In the long run, however, one problem is that the foods are not nutritious. “Even when we’re talking about the best choices, these tend to be [made with] poor-quality ingredients,” says Lanou. “There is no kale or sweet potatoes, and the foods are still too high in sodium and saturated fats. There is still too much meat, dairy, and highly processed grains.”

Also, a dieter is apt to get sick of the limited choices on the Fast Food Diet. “The repertoire is really small, and is likely to get really boring after a while,” says Bonci. “Like other diets that initially sound good, such as the ice cream diet, you need to read the fine print. It’s a small amount of food. It’s a small burger. And when the person behind the counter is asking if you want to super-size it or if you want the combo meal, that’s the challenge because the choices are there.”

Best New Study Ever Finds Occasionally Indulging Won't Lead to Weight Gain

Research from Deakin University in Australia found our bodies can adapt to small bouts of overeating.

No matter how good our habits, when a holiday feast, a stressful deadline, or a friend&aposs birthday comes along, we all find ourselves tempted to eat more than we know we should. It&aposs common to associate those indulgences with guilt and shame, but a new study shows there&aposs really no need.

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia sought to compare the effects of short-term and long-term bouts of overeating. They took a small group of lean, healthy men with an average age of 22 and put them on high-calorie diets for a period of five days-to represent indulging over the holidays, and then 28 days-to represent a period of more chronic overeating.

According to the study&aposs authors, a typical Australian diet consists of 55% carbohydrates, 35% fat, and 15% protein. The researchers sought to maintain similar macronutrient percentages while adding an additional 1,000 calories to their diets. The young men added calorie-dense (but maybe less nutritious) foods like potato chips, chocolate bars and meal replacement shakes to boost their intake.

The participants&apos weight, fat mass, blood sugar, and insulin levels were measured before and after both the five and 28-day trials. Researchers found after the five-day trial that while visceral fat increased substantially, short-term periods of overeating didn&apost have a significant impact on weight or fat mass. They also found blood sugar fasting levels didn&apost change, noting the body has the ability to adapt to short bouts of indulging.

Data from the 28-day trial found that the participants&apos total and visceral fat increased, along with post-meal blood sugar levels. Fasting blood sugar levels were not altered, which the authors attribute to the nutrient profile of the indulgent diets remaining relatively consistent with that of a typical diet. The authors of the study said long-term overindulgence in fatty foods instead of more nutritionally balanced foods could be an important factor in controlling blood sugar.

The bottom line: While your pants may feel a bit more snug after the holidays or a series of vacation buffets, that&aposs OK! Occasionally feasting can be part of a balanced diet, and unless you&aposre making it a regular habit, you probably don&apost need to worry about the long-term consequences (though you may want to try these recovery foods if you&aposve just overeaten). Listening to your body&aposs hunger and fullness cues while surround by indulgent foods is the best way to stay on track while enjoying the foods you love and making cherished memories with loved ones.

Free Doughnuts Were Never the Problem

The intensity of fatphobia in the late pandemic has increased, but it has so much more to do with our healthcare system than with Krispy Kreme.

Last month the internet freaked outꂫout free doughnuts. Krispy Kreme announced that it was offering a free doughnut every day for a year with proof of COVID-19 vaccination. It also turned out you could receive a free doughnut and a coffee without a vaccine every Monday through May, but no matter—the storm had begun.

On Twitter, Dr. Leana Wen, the former head of Planned Parenthood and now a CNN medical analyst who has over 158,000 followers, warned that consuming a doughnut every day in 2021 with no changes to diet or exercise would lead to weight gain. It&aposs not that she&aposs wrong on the calorie math, it&aposs just that the vast majority of humans do not significantly alter their behavior for the sake of a chain restaurant&aposs promotional deal, and acting as if it would is needlessly alarmist. 

The Krispy Kreme backlash (and backlash to the backlash) was the latest salvo in the decades-long battle about fatness, anti-fat bias, and whether fat Americans realize that doughnuts do not have the same nutritional value as raw carrot sticks. If that sounds like a familiar dance, it is. If that sounds patronizing, well, buddy, it is.

Doughnuts are a shibboleth for fatness and fat people (thank you, Homer Simpson), no matter what the actual food intake of a fat person might look like. Your actual relationship with doughnuts may vary, but one of the things that anti-fat bias does for everyone is leach the joy out of eating. If you think of doughnuts as inherently threatening, then it feeds into a larger structure of seeing a dinner plate as a battlefield to be won each day, rather than a source of community and happiness that is as much a part of food as its caloric content.

Assuming that getting a free doughnut once or twice—the most likely outcome of the Krispy Kreme situation—is a one-way ticket to weight gain isn&apost true or fair. It serves to stigmatize the millions of Americans who are already fat, and whose fatness is regularly weaponized against them. Over and over again, studies show that weight bias leads to fat people getting worse healthcare than people whose thinner bodies are perceived as healthier, even though that may not be the case at all. 

Is there a size limit to human dignity? Apparently some people think so.

I&aposm not trying to pick on Dr. Wen, who often offers level-headed advice on COVID-19. It&aposs not an easy time to be in public health, and she wasn&apost the only voice decrying free doughnuts. But as a fat person, I have watched in distress and anger as acquaintances posted memes about gaining weight in quarantine. I have ingested the collective absolute dread and horror of maybe looking. like me? Is there a size limit to human dignity? Apparently some people think so. My inbox was regularly deluged by experts offering fitness tips to stave off the real enemy which, apparently, is fatness, and not the rampage of a disease that has killed, to date, over 556,000 Americans. Anti-fat bias is a systemic problem, not a personal one, but it sure as hell feels personal when you run into a friend of a friend on Instagram comparing their still quite slim late-pandemic body to a hippo. 

Maybe I shouldn&apost be surprised that in the unprecedented situation that all of us find ourselves in, the script around the size of our bodies hasn&apost shifted much. During the past 13 months, the pandemic altered how almost everyone on earth lives and exacted a gruesome, horrific cost on the American population. You might think that our understanding of human bodies might have also shifted. Illness or injury come for us all sooner or later. Your health is only in your control to a certain degree. Those of us who preserved ours against communicable diseases during the past year did so thanks largely to luck and the privilege of being able to stay in lockdown in our homes with very little support from the government. 

And yet rather than shifting toward being more compassionate over the toll on our mental and physical health, and perhaps an understanding that all our bodies are guaranteed to fail us one day, no matter how much ashwagandha and yoga we put into them, Americans turned to a failsafe: freaking out about gaining weight. That many fat people live happily while staying fat doesn&apost play into the freak-out at all, nor does the fact that sustained weight loss is incredibly difficult and diets very often do not work. (Smart, dedicated researchers and fat activists have worked a long time to dislodge the perception that fatness is inherently unhealthy, or that fat bodies are less worthy of care. For more info on that, may I suggest the work of Aubrey Gordon and Sabrina Strings.) In fact, it seems that as vaccination rates increase, the number of emails in my inbox touting diet and exercise plans has gone up commensurately. How, when the most immediate threat to public health is so incredibly obvious, did we end up worrying about the "quarantine 15" and cellulite, and go back to the same place of hurtful, played out fat jokes?

You know the saying that everything looks like a nail if all you have is a hammer? In the United States, diet culture—which now often masquerades under the cover of "wellness"—is that hammer. Sarah Kelly, an integrative nutritionist based in Philadelphia, explained over the phone that the uptick in diet talk in the late pandemic isn&apost surprising. 

"We&aposre being cooped up in our home and stressed all the time, and there&aposs an absolute failure of our government to take care of us in any real way," Kelly said. "A lot of people aren&apost feeling their best physically. The only messaging our society has for that situation is, &aposOh I need to lose weight.&apos"

Lots of people have found their bodies change over this year of relentless stress and enforced sedentary behavior, but the problem is not people&aposs bodies. Staying at home while a very transmissible virus runs rampant through the population is an act of public good. Now, with vaccination numbers rising and what looks like the end of the pandemic on the horizon (fingers crossed), a lot of the weight loss talk has the same flavor as annual bikini body messaging. "I think for a lot of people it&aposs about, &aposNow I have to deal with other people seeing me,&apos" Kelly said. "Some of it is about clothes fitting. Replacing a wardrobe because you&aposve gained weight is a problem if you can&apost afford to do that. That&aposs a genuine thing." 

But the anti-doughnut messaging is not really helping anyone trying to replace their wardrobe. "It&aposs heartbreaking to see people who genuinely care about public health being taught this myopic view that prevents systemic change," Kelly said. "You&aposre not just harming individual fat people, you&aposre encouraging unhealthy ways of eating." 

Repeatedly during the pandemic, individuals have been asked to shoulder the responsibility of keeping businesses open and curbing the spread of COVID-19. It&aposs true that individual actions have an effect, but it&aposs not true that any one of us could single-handedly rescue the restaurant industry or stop the novel coronavirus in its tracks. That&aposs the responsibility of the people we elect in government, and asking individuals to take charge of either of those tasks is a tautological impossibility. As New Yorker writer Helen Rosner pointed out in her piece on opening indoor dining in New York City: "The more chaotic and unreliable the systemic narrative, the more vital individual vigilance starts to feel—we&aposre left with a pervasive sense that, in the face of government mismanagement and indifference, it is up to each of us to save what those in power are allowing to die: if the businesses we love close down, it&aposs our own fault if the people they employ are out of work, it&aposs our own fault."

The doughnut debate operates on similar logic. Individual choices have visible limits within a larger context. It&aposs easy to turn criticism inwards about body size rather than keep the larger structures in perspective. A year of terror, grief, frustration, and staying indoors have, pretty understandably, had extensive public health implications, both mentally and physically. The widespread problem of a radically broken healthcare system, one that failed us repeatedly and dramatically during the past year of terror and boredom, cannot be solved by avoiding or partaking of free doughnuts. Fatness is often used as a measure of poor health outcomes, but the reality is much more nuanced and individual. Being healthy can look a lot of different ways.

That isn&apost to say that you shouldn&apost take care of yourself, or that health isn&apost something to keep in mind. It&aposs that illness is not a personal failing, and neither is the size of your body. Health looks different on everyone. Sarah Kelly encourages clients to figure out what makes sense in terms of their own wellbeing. "Perfectionism is part of the problem. No one does body positivity or healthfulness perfectly," Kelly said. Nor is it helpful to think that all of your efforts are useless if they&aposre not part of systemic change. "You want to keep in mind sometimes meditation helps, or maybe eating fiber will help your digestive system so you can keep on fighting the good fight comfortably," 

Anti-fat bias, which is often veiled in concern for fat people&aposs wellbeing and health, effectively does nothing to advance the health of fat people, and indeed actively harms them. In fact, researchers found that the stress of fat-shaming contributes to weight gain and makes fat people more susceptible to depression and anxiety. It&aposs easier to concentrate on individual actions and shame people for them because larger structures feel impossible to dismantle. But just as sniping at runners on Twitter about their mask-wearing isn&apost going to have the same effect as a state mandate to require masks indoors, focusing on a free doughnut takes the focus off the real problem, which is the scarcity and expense of decent healthcare, the difficulty of accessing affordable foods, and the ongoing, crushing stress of working under capitalism.

Clutching pearls over the nation going up a couple pants sizes because they were reacting reasonably to a catastrophic situation is a great way to make people feel bad about their bodies, but a terrible way to promote public health. What we actually need is accessible healthcare for everyone. 

"[People] will suggest that fat people are a drain on the healthcare system when the reality is that we are all a drain on the healthcare system," Roxane Gay wrote in her newsletter about the Krispy Kreme kerfuffle. "That is how it works. The healthcare system is not a precious resource we should never use. It is not something we should keep in glass we only break in case of emergency. Healthcare should not be a privilege reserved for certain kinds of people in certain bodies."

It was never about the doughnuts. As Kelly pointed out, "It&aposs great that Krispy Kreme wanted to promote vaccination, but if they really cared about public health outcomes, they could, for example, add an extra week of parental leave for all employees or add paid sick days." It&aposs easier to focus on a fast food chain&aposs marketing campaign than figuring out our broken foodways, or working towards more comprehensive, inclusive medical care. It&aposs crucial to keep the larger societal architecture in mind so that we can change it. 

In the meantime, eat a doughnut if you want to. They&aposre delicious. 

Calorie, Carb & Fat Counter

Another useful calorie counter that will be your assistant in the process of gaining weight. When you want to gain some pounds it is better to divide the meals into 6-7 times a day into small portions – thus you will never get a sense of hunger, which is crucial for gaining weight.

All the information presented in this app is verified by nutritionists so you can trust Calorie, Carb & Fat counter. First of all, you need to enter your data ad calculate how many calories do you need each day. Then just pick up items from the menu, which match the required amount.

If you liked a certain dish then you can save it to your favorites so you can eat as many times as you want. What is more, you can add your own meals to this app (if they match the plan). After a while, the app will compile a calorie intake graph that will demonstrate how consistent you are on the way to your goal.

You could gain weight


While this side effect can't necessarily be labeled dangerous on its own, weight gain does directly affect body fat, and studies show that chronic disease can be attributable to increased BMI. Even though a little weight gain isn't much of a concern, continuous weight gain due to lifestyle changes may become a concern over time.

Refined carbs

Those packaged breads, pastries, and desserts sure taste good, but they aren't doing your health any favors. Refined carbs are foods that have been stripped of their nutritional content—like the natural fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals—and typically are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

In his article published by SF Gate, Michael R. Peluso, Ph.D., writes that refined carbs lower the thermic effect of your meals which causes your metabolic rate to decrease and results in weight gain. He mentions that these foods tend to have a higher glycemic index, which means it will raise your blood sugar levels. Too much of it can result in an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

However, this doesn't mean carbs are bad! In fact, there are a lot of healthy carbs you should be eating regularly in your diet. Especially the carbs that are packed with dietary fiber, which actually helps you to lose weight. Simply making swaps in your diet to avoid the refined "simple" carbs and choosing unprocessed carbohydrate foods, your health (and weight) will experience a huge difference. Here's What Happens When You Don't Eat Enough Fiber.


A can of cola truly is a beloved food by many around the world. But because these drinks are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, they are linked to causing serious health problems later down the line, including weight gain.

Martina M. Cartwright, Ph.D. and RD, explains in her Psychology Today article that high fructose corn syrup was added to most sodas in the mid-1980s, and is a common sweetener used in beverages like soda. Unlike other countries that sweeten their carbonated beverages with cane sugar. High fructose corn syrup is a combination of fructose (sugar that comes from fruit) and glucose and is less expensive to produce compared to cane sugar. Hence the switch for mass distribution.

A study published by The Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming fructose at higher rates can cause blood sugar levels to spike and even triggers your hunger hormone, leptin, leaving you feeling hungrier afterward. However, Cartwright makes it clear that having a can of soda every now and then won't totally destroy your weight loss efforts. She mentions it is important to abstain from a sedentary lifestyle and to sip on soda in moderation.

30 Best Mediterranean Diet Breakfast Recipes to Keep You Full All Morning

From avocado toast to poached eggs, your next breakfast is going to be so satisfying.

By now, you probably know just how great the Mediterranean diet is. It consistently ranks among the top diets to follow&mdashperhaps because instead of outlining strict calorie or carb requirements, it&rsquos centered on picking filling, nutritious options. Research has shown that following the diet can lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure, and it might even prolong your life.

But the best part of the Mediterranean diet might be that it allows indulgence: Favorites like eggs, olive oil, and fresh fruits and veggies are all fair game for breakfast. (Can you imagine a better breakfast spread?) Here are the basics of the Mediterranean diet, plus tips and tricks for sticking to it each morning.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Unlike other diets, which can dictate which types of foods aren&rsquot allowed, this diet is really more a way of life. &ldquoThe Mediterranean diet is almost rich in everything,&rdquo says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet. &ldquoWe talk about it as a special diet, but it&rsquos basically well-balanced, healthy eating where all foods fit.&rdquo

In the Mediterranean diet, certain foods are emphasized and others are limited (but not cut out entirely). Fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, seafood, whole grains, olive oil, low-fat dairy, poultry, and eggs are the staples of the diet, Gans says.

Limited foods, meanwhile, are the ones that you should probably be avoiding anyway: refined grains and oils, red meat, processed foods, and foods with added sugar. &ldquoRed meat, [for example,] isn&rsquot avoided,&rdquo Gans explains. &ldquoJust eat more fish, poultry, and legumes, and gear your meals more plant-based. Focus less on the saturated fats.&rdquo

By loading up on the foods listed above, you&rsquoll get tons of nutrients at every meal. &ldquoThe Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and monounsaturated fats&mdashthose are the healthy fats, the nuts, the seeds, the olive oil,&rdquo Gans explains. These nutrients may play important roles in reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, &ldquoone of the biggest benefits&rdquo of the diet, according to Gans.

How to build a healthy Mediterranean breakfast

The laidback nature of the Mediterranean diet is good news for home chefs, but figuring out how to create a healthy breakfast&mdashand sticking to that plan as much as possible&mdashcan be a challenge. Thankfully, it&rsquos almost like a game of mixing and matching, depending on your cravings.

&ldquoAn ideal breakfast would be two slices of 100% whole-grain bread with two scrambled eggs sautéed with some spinach and tomatoes, and maybe a little avocado,&rdquo Gans explains. &ldquoYou&rsquore getting healthy fats, protein from the eggs, and whole grains.&rdquo

But Gans emphasizes that you should feel free to experiment with different veggies, fruits, proteins, and basically anything else. If you&rsquore mindful of your ingredients, you can make just about any meal to the standards of the Mediterranean diet.

With the right combination of protein, fiber, and carbs&mdashwhich you&rsquoll get from all of the staple foods in the diet&mdashGans says, Mediterranean breakfasts will also keep you feeling full, satisfied, and attentive until lunch. &ldquoWhat&rsquos beautiful about the Mediterranean diet is that you don&rsquot need any fancy formulas, you don&rsquot need any math skills [to count calories],&rdquo Gans says. &ldquoIt&rsquos just common sense.&rdquo

Is your stomach growling yet? Make your way through this list, which includes recipes that pack in all of the Mediterranean diet&rsquos top foods. (Spoiler alert: You&rsquore going to see a ton of eggs and veggies, plus staples like olive oil, cheese, yogurt, fruit, and whole-grain bread. Yum!)

Weight-Gain Meal Plan: Sample Week 1

This healthy meal plan is for anyone looking to gain weight and add muscle mass, but was designed by Chris Mohr, Ph.D., RD specifically for hardgainers and athletes.

There has been a tremendous amount of reader feedback with one common question: "How do I pack on mass?" Since I unfortunately can't outline individual plans for each reader who emails me, I thought I'd give a full week meal plan that will at least give you some ideas on how to get through the work week. I will continue to do this throughout the upcoming weeks and will intermix these plans with some ideas for weight loss too. Good luck!

Eating 4000 calories each day may make you feel like a bear that is getting ready to hibernate during the winter, but when you build serious muscle than when the small amount of fat storage that comes along with gaining extreme muscle can be hidden underneath your winter clothes. Keep your eye on that mirror there's no better way to monitor your gains.

How do you gain weight quickly and safely?

Doctors usually recommend gaining weight to people who consistently weigh too little, which can cause a range of health problems. Bodybuilders and other athletes may also hope to gain weight by building muscle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, the number of underweight adults aged 20 to 39 years in the country decreased from 3 percent to 1.9 percent between 1988 and 2008.

A person who is underweight is likely to experience health issues, including:

While gaining weight can be a struggle, the following foods may help. They can also increase muscle and boost overall health.

The following nutrient-rich foods can help a person to gain weight safely and effectively.

Share on Pinterest Protein shakes can help people gain weight easily and are most effective if drunk shortly after a workout.

Milk offers a mix of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins.

It is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium.

The protein content of milk makes it a good choice for people trying to build muscle.

One study found that after a resistance training workout, drinking skim milk helped to build muscle more effectively than a soy-based product.

A similar study involving women in resistance training showed improved results in those who drank milk following a workout.

For anyone looking to gain weight, milk can be added to the diet throughout the day.

2. Protein shakes

Protein shakes can help a person to gain weight easily and efficiently. A shake is most effective at helping to build muscle if drunk shortly after a workout.

However, it is important to note that premade shakes often contain extra sugar and other additives that should be avoided. Check labels carefully.

A cup of rice contains about 200 calories , and it is also a good source of carbohydrates, which contribute to weight gain. Many people find it easy to incorporate rice into meals containing proteins and vegetables.

Consuming red meat has been shown to help with building muscle and gaining weight.

Steak contains both leucine and creatine, nutrients that play a significant role in boosting muscle mass. Steak and other red meats contain both protein and fat, which promote weight gain.

While a person is advised to limit their intake, leaner cuts of red meat are healthier for the heart than fattier cuts.

One study found that adding lean red meat to the diets of 100 women aged 60–90 helped them to gain weight and increase strength by 18 percent while undergoing resistance training.

5. Nuts and nut butter

Consuming nuts regularly can help a person to gain weight safely. Nuts are a great snack and can be added to many meals, including salads. Raw or dry roasted nuts have the most health benefits.

Nut butters made without added sugar or hydrogenated oils can also help. The only ingredient in these butters should be the nuts themselves.

Share on Pinterest Wholegrain breads contain complex carbohydrates and seeds, which can promote weight gain.

6. Whole-grain breads

These breads contain complex carbohydrates, which can promote weight gain. Some also contain seeds, which provide added benefits.

For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.

7. Other starches

Starches help some of the foods already listed to boost muscle growth and weight gain. They add bulk to meals and boost the number of calories consumed.

Other foods rich in starches include:

  • potatoes
  • corn
  • buckwheat
  • beans
  • squash
  • oats
  • legumes
  • winter root vegetables
  • sweet potatoes
  • pasta
  • whole-grain cereals
  • whole-grain breads
  • cereal bars

Beyond adding calories, starches provide energy in the form of glucose. Glucose is stored in the body as glycogen. Research indicates that glycogen can improve performance and energy during exercise.

8. Protein supplements

Athletes looking to gain weight often use protein supplements to boost muscle mass, in combination with resistance training.

Protein supplements are available for purchase online. They may be an inexpensive way to consume more calories and gain weight.

Share on Pinterest Salmon is rich in healthy fats, omega-3, and protein.

Six ounces of salmon will contain about 240 calories , and salmon is also rich in healthy fats, making it a good choice for those looking to gain weight.

It also contains many nutrients, including omega-3 and protein.

10. Dried fruits

Dried fruits are rich in nutrients and calories, with one-quarter cup of dried cranberries containing around 130 calories .

Many people prefer dried pineapple, cherries, or apples. Dried fruit is widely available online, or a person can dry fresh fruit at home.

11. Avocados

Avocados are rich in calories and fat, as well as some vitamins and minerals.

12. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a high fat, high-calorie food. It also contains antioxidants.

A person looking to gain weight should select chocolate that has a cacao content of at least 70 percent.

13. Cereal bars

Cereal bars can offer the vitamin and mineral content of cereal in a more convenient form.

A person should look for bars that contain whole grains, nuts, and fruits.

Avoid those that contain excessive amounts of sugar.

14. Whole-grain cereals

Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

However, some contain a lot of sugar and few complex carbohydrates. These should be avoided.

Instead, select cereals that contain whole grains and nuts. These contain healthy levels of carbohydrates and calories, as well as nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants.

Eggs are a good source of protein, healthy fat, and other nutrients. Most nutrients are contained in the yolk.

16. Fats and oils

Oils, such as those derived from olives and avocados, contribute calories and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. A tablespoon of olive oil will contain about 120 calories .

Cheese is good source of fat, protein, calcium, and calories. A person looking to gain weight should select full-fat cheeses.

Full-fat yogurt can also provide protein and nutrients. Avoid flavored yogurts and those with lower fat contents, as they often contain added sugars.

A person may wish to flavor their yogurt with fruit or nuts.

Pasta can provide a calorically dense and carbohydrate-rich path to healthy weight gain.

Is junk food to blame for the obesity epidemic?

Fast food, soft drinks and candy are often painted as the driving forces behind America's obesity epidemic, but new research suggests there's more to it than that.

In fact, according to the study from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, junk food does not appear to be a leading cause of obesity in the United States. Rather, the researchers suggest that the blame lies with Americans' overall eating habits -- particularly the amount of food consumed.

But the researchers emphasize that the findings do not give people a free pass to indulge in junk food.

"If you over-eat junk foods, they are going to make you fat," study author David Just, PhD, co-director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, told CBS News. "It's just that it doesn't look like that it's those foods that are making people fat generally. It's something else. It's their broader diet or it's their exercise regimen."

Just worked with lab co-director Brian Wansink, PhD, to review the 2007-2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Household and Nutrition Examination Survey -- a nationally representative sample of approximately 5,000 adults in the U.S.

The participants were asked to recall their food intake within the last 24-hour period on two separate occasions. Height and weight were also collected to calculate body mass index (BMI).

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The Cornell team's analysis, published in the journal Obesity Science & Practice, showed something surprising: there was no significant difference in junk food intake between overweight and healthy individuals. In fact, consumption of soda, candy and fast food was not linked to BMI for 95 percent of the population. The exception came with those on the extreme ends of the BMI spectrum: the chronically underweight and the morbidly obese.

While the researchers emphasized that eating junk food is still certainly unhealthy, they concluded that the overwhelming majority of weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone. Rather the problem is that many Americans are just eating too much and not exercising enough.

For example, the researchers note that the average daily calories consumed in the U.S. in the 1970's, before the obesity epidemic took off, was 2,039 -- compared to the average of 2,544 consumed circa 2010.

The results, the researchers say, have big implications for how we think about food and weight gain.

"If you're thinking about this as a dieter, more than likely if all you're doing is cutting out junk foods it's not going to have much of an impact," Just said. "More importantly, if you're thinking about this in terms of food policy and how to encourage people to have healthier diets and be a healthy weight, targeting narrowly these foods probably isn't going to do it. It's more complicated than that. It's our entire diet."

But experts caution that the study should not be interpreted to mean that eating junk food is not harmful to weight.

"I don't think we can say that fast food, candy and soda are completely unrelated to body weight," Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told CBS News. "These items are generally very high in calories and very low in nutrients. They are also heavily processed, and contain a lot of added fat and sugar."

Rumsey also pointed out that junk food is low in protein and fiber, doing little to keep you full and making it easy to over-consume calories.

"I find that when people cut down on these foods, and add whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fat, they lower their calorie consumption naturally without feeling hungry or deprived," she said. "While it is OK to treat yourself once in awhile, these types of junk foods should not be part of your daily diet."

This week, the Food and Brand Lab also released another study looking at the connection between what's eaten for breakfast and a healthy weight. After surveying almost 150 healthy-weight people, the researchers found that the most common breakfast items they consumed were fruits, dairy, cold cereal/granola, bread, eggs, hot cereal and coffee.

Though egg consumption was higher than expected, the researchers said that much can be learned from the breakfast habits of healthy-weight people.

"One important take away from this study is that a very high rate of slim people actually eat breakfast instead of skipping, which is consistent with previous research on the importance of breakfast," lead author Anna-Leena Vuorinen said in a statement. "But what stands out is that they not only ate breakfast, but that they ate healthful foods like fruits and vegetables."

Cornell Univeristy, Food and Brand Lab