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10-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Gaining weight

I'm sure there are threads on this already,there must be other people here who struggle to keep their weight high enough to be healthy.

It can feel quite isolating sometimes because everything we hear tells us that people are either trying to lose weight or are "struggling" to keep their weight healthy, like everyone is constantly having to resist food and work to keep their weight down. I understand why that is, and I have every sympathy for people who struggle being overweight too, because I know appetite and weight are really not that easy to control, no matter which end of the scale you are! But being in the minority it can be harder to find advice and support.

At a hospital appointment a nurse once weighed me and then said "aren't you lucky" - when I was clearly underweight and there to see a gastroenterologist!

Things that have helped me include:

Eating little and often. This is odd because it's recommended for dieters too. But I can't manage large volumes of food so eating often is better than trying to eat full size meals.

Low fibre. Fibre makes my symptoms worse anyway, but it also just adds bulk and volume without calories.

High sugar rather than high fat. Because fat is rich and filling.

Liquids and semi liquids (like puddings) go down easier.

So basically I end up eating an unhealthy looking diet: low fibre, sugar, refined foods, etc. But it's healthier for me. I did see a dietician but it really wasn't helpful because I had to find what worked for me by trial and error, and I could find out nutritional information for myself anyway. Having someone tell me to eat more and telling me which are high calorie foods wasn't that useful. I do find prescribed supplements useful (get all the vitamins and stuff so don't have to worry about that, and they go down easy).

And not worrying too much about it. If I'm feeling really sick then it's not worth struggling to get the calories in. One bad day won't make too much of a difference. And on the scale of things, being a bit underweight is not the biggest threat to my health right now (it's not like I'm starving... if it got to the point where I really couldn't stop losing then I guess I'd have to trust to medical intervention anyway).
10-29-2012, 05:20 AM   #2
Cross-stitch gal
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I too am in the underweight category. In fact, at work a few years ago a couple of women I worked with seemed to think I was cute and wanted to guess my weight. Still have customers who question my being underweight even though the employees no longer do it. However, I believe some of them don't treat me terribly well for wanting to be my size.

Wish I could eat more often, but where I work it isn't possible. The place is busy & short handed so I am lucky to even get my lunch covered. So, I just eat when I'm able to get some food into me. Don't do well with high sugar things. So, our diet is mostly low sugar, low fat and mostly fruit & vegetables. We also, eat lots of fish because it's easily digestible along with some chicken & pork.

Still needing to do a little trial & error. But, for the most part these are things that do well for me. As long as we're reasonably healthy shouldn't be worrying too much. Take care.
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10-29-2012, 05:37 AM   #3
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Wish I could eat more often, but where I work it isn't possible. The place is busy & short handed so I am lucky to even get my lunch covered. So, I just eat when I'm able to get some food into me. Don't do well with high sugar things. So, our diet is mostly low sugar, low fat and mostly fruit & vegetables. We also, eat lots of fish because it's easily digestible along with some chicken & pork.

Still needing to do a little trial & error. But, for the most part these are things that do well for me. As long as we're reasonably healthy shouldn't be worrying too much. Take care.
Thanks for replying. It really is trial and error, isn't it, as it seems the foods that work for you are very different to what works for me. That's why it's hard to understand how dieticians and nutritionists can be that helpful - they simply can't no what's going to work for each patient.

Do fruit and veg really not bother you? I can only have really small quantities. Or the low fibre fruit and veg like bananas and tinned fruit. Doesn't eating fish, fruit and veg require you to eat masses in order to get calories in?

I understand about finding the time to eat. I hate being rushed and don't like eating in public. This is because eating often sets my stomach off and I have to go to the loo after. At the very least I end up feeling bloated and awful after eating. So I like to wait 'til I get home and have some privacy and can eat and then be ill in peace. If I were on a day out, for example, eating a big meal would just spoil it! It's a shame - I've lost all comprehension of how people would see going out to eat as a treat or find the meal to be an enjoyable part of an outing.
10-29-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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Peanut butter, mac and cheese, grilled cheese sammiches, banana/chocolate/peanut butter shakes, lots of pasta, and poptarts... adding butter to anything you see fit Also cookies, crackers, and cake.!

These are all easily digestible and high calorie. I had a hard time with weight maintenance when I was first diagnosed so I just ate what I could.
10-29-2012, 08:27 AM   #5
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Oh yeah - smooth peanut butter is easy to digest and great for being loaded with calories. And it tastes good, I just eat teaspoons of it on its own sometimes.

You don't find pasta, chocolate, mac and cheese too filling? I hate burgers so that's out for me. Pasta is just soo stodgy! And pop tarts too - they're big and filling to me.
10-29-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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Poptarts are a bit filling but I was known to wake up in the middle of the night and eat one
10-29-2012, 01:10 PM   #7
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Depends on how much fruit & veg I eat. Apples are eaten without the peel which takes some time. When eaten at home the core & peel are given to our chickens & they devour it pretty fast. Majority of veg are cooked first & put into dinner at home.

Just eat fish cause it's digestible. We've eaten various types even though as you say, they're not very fatty in content. Gotten used to eating in public. My coworkers are used to seeing me in all types of health. So, there's really no embarrassment especially since there's quite a few guys there too. Just do the best I can.
10-29-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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I did a lot of "healthy fats" when I was trying to regain my weight (I'm now in remission and no longer underweight). Stuff like avocadoes, olive oil, and almond butter sat well with me and are high in calories. High-calorie supplement drinks like Boost/Ensure can help too if you can stomach those. And as for fruit & veg, you might try juicing them. Even in remission I have a bit of a hard time with fruit & veggies, but when they're juiced I can do pretty much anything and it's really easy on my tummy.
11-04-2012, 09:57 AM   #9
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I'm a bit depressed because I weighed myself today and I unexpectedly lost a bit. I don't weigh myself methodically, but I think it was down a kilo or so from when I last weighed just a few days ago.

I know this could be down to just having less water in me or whatever and having loose stool makes our weight jump around a bit anyway, but I'm trying to gain and it's definitely not going in the right direction!

I'm on prednisone, but its doing nothing for my appetite and obviously not making me retain water either.

What I don't understand is I've been eating as I normally do, which had been maintaining my weight before and I was slowly gaining. I have no hunger, so I just eat by the clock and stick to the same meals pretty much.

The prednisone has given me more energy so I'm sleeping less and doing a little more, but it's not like I've been crazy exercising or anything.

Can weight loss be a side effect of pred?

Last night I was forcing dinner down. I wasn't feeling sick, but I was so full and I really didn't want to eat. I already take domperidone. It used to help me feel less full but now it makes no difference at all. I don't know how I'm supposed to get enough calories in. I need to gain about half a stone to be in the healthy range. My doctors will just tell me to eat more but I am so full, and they don't seem to understand. I had a stool test years ago to see if I was not absorbing fat, but the result was normal. It's just not being able to eat enough. I have delayed stomach emptying and I think it's more due to that than to Crohn's, though when I get diarhoea all the time it doesn't exactly make me want to eat either.

Sorry for ranting.
11-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #10
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You may try researching coconut oil. Its composed of 66% medium chain triglicerides. They are easiest fats to digest. They are absorbed immediately. Just take a tablespoon every now and then over the course of the day.
Look up waxy maize. Its a fast absorbing carb. It mixes easily, neutral in flavor. Its an easy way to add calories to a meal.
Another thing along the lines of ensure only they taste good are mighty shakes by hormel. Their really calorie dense. I think their only available online though.
good luck
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11-04-2012, 11:21 AM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions! I'll make sure I check them out. It really is just a question of getting more calories in, isn't it? Without upsetting digestion in the process, of course.
11-04-2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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I think it comes down to getting in more calories than you burn. But with crohns its harder I think do to malabsorbtion.
11-05-2012, 10:35 AM   #13
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I don't think I'm actually malabsorping. It's a long time since I had the stool test that said I wasn't, but I'm not getting terrible diarrhea right now, just loose stool and not hugely excessive and no vomiting. I have the odd day when I think I can't possibly have digested anything and all that eating went to waste but that's not that often.

With me it really is just lack of appetite. Not even just absence of hunger but feeling like my stomach's going to burst after I've eaten, and even when I haven't eaten it feels full. And sometimes episodes of nausea and/or stomach cramps and needing the bathroom when I start to eat.
11-05-2012, 11:46 AM   #14
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Hi UnXmas. Sorry to hear about your weight loss. My husband has the same problem, so thank you for sharing your experience so far. Just eating more quantity or eating more fatty food isn't always the best option when you have no appetite. Smoothies and Ensure work some of the time for my husband, but they can be sickening if he drinks them too often. Cookies, banana bread, and guacamole are good sources of extra calories in easy light snacks.

Also, from my husband's experience, Prednisone used to cause weight gain and increased appetite, but it didn't work nearly as well the last time he was on it. He suspected the dosage wasn't high enough or else his body tolerance went up. This might be something to ask your doctor too.

We're hoping to look into juicing or protein drinks next too. Good luck and let us know how you respond to Mighty Shakes or waxy maize!
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11-05-2012, 02:39 PM   #15
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Thanks - I know prednisone works different for each person (and each time on it maybe!). I can't imagine my doctor would ever increase it just to see if it made me gain more weigh though, lol.

Sorry to hear your husband has had similar troubles.

I'm not a big one for supplements and alternative foods (and don't have a lot of extra money to spend on food either) but am trying to be open to suggestions. Waxy maize seems to be used in body building - I wonder if that would that make it filling? Since body builders probable wouldn't have concerns about appetite. It is readily available to order at reasonable prices though so I'm definitely thinking about it. And the coconut oil suggestion I saw that was available just in the supermarket so that's definitely something I can try.

I'd tried some kind of soya protein powder years ago that you were supposed to mix with other things and make a protein drink. To be honest I'm not sure it ended up getting in any more calories than just drinking milk! I've had more sucess in the past when I've been prescribed Ensure and Fortisip (though some flavours taste awful!).

Today I just tried adding in a snack of chocolate. Not so healthy but it got some calories in!
11-05-2012, 02:41 PM   #16
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Everyone with Crohns etc has this problem. You lose weight to be used to help you heal what your immune system is doing to yourself. Putting on weight is hard because you have to heal yourself all the time. If you have some good tips to putting on lbs of weight tell me too.
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11-05-2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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Hi everybody, for me I found that eating the right food that doesn't upset my stomach like healthy fats especially olive oil I have that in the morning brown bread toasted with olive oil and pure honey is a wonderful and I juice carrots apples celery etc it's very important to do juicing it's easy on the digestive system and you get your five a day easily ,also I only eat twice a day in the morning and evening I found that this way I stay energetic and light and in between I JUICE I love juicing its amazing try it and eventually you will put on weight but the main thing is to stay comfortable in your body with no pain etc
11-05-2012, 03:15 PM   #18
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As for getting in fruit and veg, especially if I'm not taking supplements to get vitamins, I tend to stick with tinned fruit and soups - they are softer and easier to digest. Otherwise small amounts of well cooked root vegetables, bananas and avocados (also better for calories). Or high calorie drinks with vitmain C like Ribena.

Mostly fruit and veg intake ends up being secondary to trying to get calories in though.
11-05-2012, 03:47 PM   #19
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On Coconut Oil, it is a great and healthy item for the kitchen. It can be used for cooking (gives stir fries a subtle new flavor) or it can be slathered on toast with honey for a delicious snack. We've never tried eating a whole spoonful of coconut oil by itself. In cold weather it solidifies and looks like Crisco, so that would be a hard mental barrier to get past. But thanks for the suggestion rlslmshdy! Do you warm it up to eat it in liquid form?
11-05-2012, 09:27 PM   #20
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On Coconut Oil, it is a great and healthy item for the kitchen. It can be used for cooking (gives stir fries a subtle new flavor) or it can be slathered on toast with honey for a delicious snack. We've never tried eating a whole spoonful of coconut oil by itself. In cold weather it solidifies and looks like Crisco, so that would be a hard mental barrier to get past. But thanks for the suggestion rlslmshdy! Do you warm it up to eat it in liquid form?
Its not the most enjoyable thing to get down but yes Over the course of the day Ill take a tablespoon every once in while. It 400+ calories that I wouldnt normally get each day. I lift weights and struggle like you guys with putting on weight.
11-05-2012, 10:21 PM   #21
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Sorry I didnt read all the post....but I did want to throw something out there for all those that struggle at putting on weight. Especially guys looking to add some more muscle with crohns.

It's imperative that you google Harris bennadict formula calculator. Use this formula to calculate how many calories you should be eating to gain weight. Ladies you can also reverse the calculation to lose weight if that's your goal. When looking to put on weight, I tend to go 10-20% above this equation to make up for any malabsorption I might have from ibd. If I was in bad shape I would go 20% over in calories every day. If healthy may e 5%. Important if you want it to work that you hit that calorie goal everyday. Unfortunately if you are too sick this might be too hard hit those numbers in food cals.
11-07-2012, 12:49 PM   #22
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I hate it when I plan ways to get in more calories, then try and eat and end feeling so awful all my good intentions go out the window. Which is what happened today.

It's imperative that you google Harris bennadict formula calculator. Use this formula to calculate how many calories you should be eating to gain weight. Ladies you can also reverse the calculation to lose weight if that's your goal. When looking to put on weight, I tend to go 10-20% above this equation to make up for any malabsorption I might have from ibd. If I was in bad shape I would go 20% over in calories every day. If healthy may e 5%. Important if you want it to work that you hit that calorie goal everyday. Unfortunately if you are too sick this might be too hard hit those numbers in food cals.
11-05-2012 09:27 PM
I gave up trying to count calories. Even when I knew how many I needed, it didn't make it any easier to eat them! It was just extra numbers to worry about - as you say, when you're sick it throws everything off. I guess that's where supplements and medical intervention should come in. I'm sure tools like this help a lot of people, though, especially when you first start out learning about nutrition and calorie needs.
11-09-2012, 02:27 AM   #23
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Weighed myself for the first time in months, I was shocked to see I was 145 lbs, I was expecting 155. Explains why my pants keep falling down! Struggling to eat more, its not easy without carrying food everywhere I go. I also have an ileostomy so it means I really have to be going to the bathroom more often than ever. I just finished off my nightly bowl of chocolate ice cream. Figured maybe I should eat more meat. And also exercising more to put some muscle mass back on. I weighted 185 last december before I had the operation for the ileostomy. Get tired of eating all the time! But cooking all the time too, and doing the dishes. My life revolves around food and probably because I don't want to just eat junk food all the time I have to cook all the time. I probably am healthier than I would be, but spending all this money on food that goes right through me is just sad, a waste it seems. All that good nutrition down the drain. So, I guess maybe I'll just stay this skinny weight for a while. I don't really want a spare tire, but it would be nice to have more of an ass cushion to sit on!
11-09-2012, 07:38 AM   #24
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Weighed myself for the first time in months, I was shocked to see I was 145 lbs, I was expecting 155. Explains why my pants keep falling down! Struggling to eat more, its not easy without carrying food everywhere I go. I also have an ileostomy so it means I really have to be going to the bathroom more often than ever. I just finished off my nightly bowl of chocolate ice cream. Figured maybe I should eat more meat. And also exercising more to put some muscle mass back on. I weighted 185 last december before I had the operation for the ileostomy. Get tired of eating all the time! But cooking all the time too, and doing the dishes. My life revolves around food and probably because I don't want to just eat junk food all the time I have to cook all the time. I probably am healthier than I would be, but spending all this money on food that goes right through me is just sad, a waste it seems. All that good nutrition down the drain. So, I guess maybe I'll just stay this skinny weight for a while. I don't really want a spare tire, but it would be nice to have more of an ass cushion to sit on!
Does exercising actually help with weight gain? I've assumed it doesn't. I go for walks, just to keep fit and active, but avoid anything that would burn calories. I don't have the energy for it anyway! I guess if you're getting enough calories in, then exercise can help make sure it goes on healthily. It's just getting to that "enough calories in" part.

It must be extra difficult with an ostomy. Perhaps you can have snacks that don't involve cooking, but that aren't so unhealthy? Like cereal bars (if you can handle fibre), peanut butter, crackers, cheese, avocados, bread and butter, bowls of cereal, things like that. There were suggestions of healthy fats and supplements earlier in this thread too. Life shouldn't revolve around food, especially if you're not enjoying it!
11-09-2012, 11:46 AM   #25
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Well, when I was healthy I would only gain weight if I worked out, putting on muscle because I would never put on fat. Now the muscle has wasted away a bit (a lot) and I figured I might gain it back if I put some work into it - but yep it would take more energy and a this point there's not too much of that to go around. Not sure how it would work...but no harm in trying I guess.

I do love food, and am hungry almost all the time. The food I do eat I enjoy, but thanks for the suggestions because its the between meals where I am craving food at work that is the hardest. If I don't eat for several hours then the craving sometimes goes away. Also mornings it's hard to eat, I'm not usually hungry when I get up. I am usually way more hungry at night! But then I resist eating because then I have to get up multiple times during the night to empty the bag.

I still need to read this whole discussion, glad you started it! Great ideas...
02-20-2013, 08:42 AM   #26
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I thought I'd post an update. I still wasn't gaining weight for a while. I've just started to manage it lately.

I had been considering asking for a feeding tube because I was getting quite desperate, and it's still a possibility I'm keeping in mind. But I've managed to up my calorie intake enough by adding loads of sugar to my cereals (I know... lots of people gain weight and still eat healthy, but I'm not concerned about having a particularly nutritious diet - as long as it gives me what I need), making sure everything I drink is high calorie (juice instead of sugar-free squash, full fat milk, hot chocolate, etc. - less diet coke), using peanut butter and chocolate spread instead of low-fat spreads on bread, and mayonaise on salads.

And no strenuous exercise whatsoever. I actually think I lost some muscle mass due to medications rather than just weight loss. Does anyone know if weight lost that way can be regained just by taking in more calories?

Anyway, I think what I'm on now will allow me to gain. I'm still getting horribly full though and don't really want to think about the fact I'll have to keep stuffing myself like this indefinitely.
02-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #27
Beach
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It's a controversial area, but something else that might be helpful with weight gain in a healthy way is not only looking at what you eat, but also looking to boost hormone levels naturally. One of the more popular writers of late on the idea of hormones playing a larger role in weight gain or weight loss, verses calories is nutritional writer Gary Taubes. (Of course foods eaten effect hormone levels too!) Taubes often writes about the hormone insulin and the roll it plays in weight management. The basic idea being, eating more sugary items boost insulin, which then causes the body to store fat. Not everyone agrees with this idea, but in practice many that look to keep their insulin levels as low as possible with meals eaten, tend to loose weight.

You might have already done this, but other items that can boost hormones in a helpful way are:

Optimizing vitamin D3 levels. D3 has been found to raise the sex hormones of men and women, sometimes substantially. Your doctor can test where your D3 levels are at.

Iodine can be helpful with thyroid hormones. With many of us limiting our salt intake, there has been reports of late about people being iodine deficient. (Iodine is added to commercial salt in the US.)

I suspect vitamin K2 helps with hormone levels. There are supplements sold of this, but it's also easy to find this nutrient in cheeses such as gouda, or edam. Eggs would be another good source. I've seen many a weight lifter suspect that eating eggs and other vitamin K2 rich foods helping to boost their size and weight.

Another hormone that might be of help is little known pregnenolone. Some have referred to it as a master or ultimate hormone.

"The ultimate “bioidentical” hormone"

http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2009...l-hormone.html

Magnesium might be of help too as it is a cofactor for many of these nutrients.

The sleep helper melatonin is thought to boost growth hormone levels.

I just thought I'd mention these items, as I can remember when I was desperate to gain weight. Frustratingly, eating more didn't help me much. It wasn't till I cleaned up my diet, began taking the above supplements and weight lifted that I gained substantial amounts of pounds. I don't know which, or possibly all ideas working together, helped. It wouldn't surprise me though if the natural pro-hormone boost provided the most benefit.
02-25-2013, 09:08 AM   #28
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Feeling so full...
02-25-2013, 09:15 AM   #29
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I just thought I'd mention these items, as I can remember when I was desperate to gain weight. Frustratingly, eating more didn't help me much. It wasn't till I cleaned up my diet, began taking the above supplements and weight lifted that I gained substantial amounts of pounds. I don't know which, or possibly all ideas working together, helped. It wouldn't surprise me though if the natural pro-hormone boost provided the most benefit.
Thanks for this - I've never heard of anything like this influencing weight before.

Did you find a reason why you weren't gainging by eating more? Do you think you had trouble with malabsorption? I made a rough estimate of my daily calories intake and found it to be about 1500 to 1700 calories. So I think I'm just not eating enough to gain.
02-25-2013, 09:39 AM   #30
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Yeah 1.5-1.7k isnt really enough to gain, that's most peoples TDEE

To gain weight, if you're eating well, you'll likely have to eat when you're not hungry as well. Think of it this way, your body only needs a certain amount each day to function, so you'll only feel hungry when you need the food. By doing that you're only giving your body what it needs so that nothing is "wasted" by turning to fat.

One good way I've done it so far is to eat at certain times. Usually 7.30am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and then again at 9pm. They're not all meals, some might be just some oats or something, but by doing this you're making sure you're eating constantly, rather than eating a lot and feeling too full all the time

Also helps with sorting out calories. If you're not gaining you need more, so pick whichever time you feel least full and add some more to that.

And lastly food quality doesn't influence weight gain at all. It can be the healthiest or the least healthy it doesn't matter at all. If you intake more than you use up you gain weight, it's physics Or biology, but I'm more inclined to say physics.
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