What to Avoid to Gain Weight Healthily

As I mentioned, you should be thinking how to gain weight healthily and not how to gain weight fast.

No point gaining xx muscles within the next few years but put the next 50 years of your life at risk.

Not all calories are made equal, so think of the food sources from which to get your calories.

Ideally, you would want to get your calories from whole foods.

You could read my other article – what to eat to gain weight healthily – for a more complete picture.

Do also check out Dave Ruel’s Anabolic Cooking Program to learn how to cook, which I believe is the secret to gaining sustainable weight heathily and effectively.


Food To Avoid To Gain Weight Healthily:


1. Processed Food and Snacks:

Feel free to skip this part if you have read ectomorph diet guidelines, as it is a repeat of the section on processed foods.

If you have not have not, please read it as it is the most important article in this section on ectomorph nutrition.

First, you need to understand that processed foods fall on a spectrum and should not just be marked as “processed” or “non processed”:

  1. Minimally processed: Pre-prepared for convenience. Nutritional quality and freshness are locked in
  2. Moderately processed: Have ingredients added for flavour and texture
  3. Highly processed: Ready to eat foods such as frozen pizzas. Avoid.

Processed foods can actually be beneficial, as they are really convenient and some food products might even be fortified with extra nutrients.

However, the flip side with convenience is that chemicals must be added to extend shelf life of the food product.

Now, there are three things you need to look out for:

  1. Sugar
    1. As mentioned earlier, recent studies have shown that added sugars are the real cause to heart disease rather than saturated fats
    2. Too much sugar is also obviously bad as they are empty calories and cause crashes in energy levels + increased insulin resistance (which is not good for muscle gain)
    3. Be wary of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, maltose, brown sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey and fruit juice concentrate
    4. You would be surprised how much more sugar you are consuming than required even if food labels show “organic” or “natural”. This is because businesses only care about sales, and one of the best ways to achieve that is to have better/sweeter tasting food
  2. Sodium
    1. This is commonly added as it enhances taste and extends shelf life
    2. According to the FDA, sodium intake should be limited to 2,300mg per day (1)
    3. Most canned vegetables, soups and sauces have them. This does not mean not to buy them, but look for those with lower levels of sodium
  3. Fats
    1. This is added as it makes food shelf-stable and gives it body
    2. Be especially wary of trans fat, as I have mentioned earlier how it increases the risk of heart disease
    3. Note that a product can still be advertised as having zero trans fat as long as it each serving has less 0.5g of it (2)
    4. Also be wary of products containing hydrogenated vegetable oils


2. Fast Food:

gain weight unhealthily

Fast food = an excessive lump of sugar, salt, saturated fat and cholesterol. Stay well clear.


3. Sodas

WAY too much sugars and empty calories and what happens is disastrous for muscle building

  • Cause energy peaks and then crashes
  • Increases your insulin resistance which makes it harder for insulin to transport proteins to your muscle cells. Glucose also builds up in your bloodstream which eventually leads to diabetes (3)
  • Useless calories. Drink too much of those and you will get fat and be at risk of heart disease (4)

If you are a heavy drinker, gradually reduce your consumption. You will get used to it after a while.

To really stop yourself, don’t stock your fridge with any of this.


4. Ice Cream

Same as number 3, though you can still eat this sometimes. Life would be meaningless if we can’t enjoy some simple pleasures :)


5. White Flour Products 

75% of the vitamins and 95% the fiber in white flour products such as white bread are lost!

The chemicals used to lengthen its shelf life and make it white will also do nothing for your body.

Avoid this. Choose bread with fiber/whole grains instead. Same goes for brown rice over white rice, etc.

For a comprehensive list of food items to avoid, classified by carbs, proteins and fats, do sign up to my free inner circle.




(1) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014, June 20). Sodium in Your Diet: Using the Nutrition Facts Label to Reduce Your Intake. Retrieved from U.S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm053479.htm

(2) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2003, August). Guidance for Industry: Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims, Health Claims; Small Entity Compliance Guide. Retrieved from .S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm053479.htm

(3) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). (2014, September 10). Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. Retrieved from National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC): http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/#resistance

(4) Yang, Q., Zhang, Z., Gregg, E. W., Flanders, W. D., Merritt, R., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(4), 516-524 http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573



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