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healthy weight gain yet healthy intestinal system

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  • healthy weight gain yet healthy intestinal system

    While much of the Paleo world is directed toward weight loss, there are a few of us who are looking to it as a hope for help from gut dybiosis and other illnesses that have caused us to lose weight. Thus, we are looking for healthy weight gain, recovery from malnourishment, and intestinal health (i.e, no yeast infections, bacterial overgrowth, etc.). We have all heard testimonies of colon-health recovery via the paleo-world.

    Yet, for someone of extremely, extremely low body-weight, the low-carb can present a concern. Yet, there are certain aspects that make a lot of sense to go low-carb, ie., the reduction of inflammation, starches/sugars feeding infections, anti-body attack against starches/grains, etc.

    My general question is—what would you suggest for healthy weight gain for those of us with extremely low body weight?

    What is a good macronutrient ratio? I.e., I have heard a 50% fat, 30% carb, and 20% protein; or a 60-20-20 or a 40-30-30 respectively ratio. Is there one that is better to gain weight?

    More specific questions that pertain to us all follow:
    The paleo-world talks about the body being able to make all its glucose needs from fats and proteins. What about someone who has no body fat to lose? Will it all come from the fat consumption in the diet without endangering further loss of body fat or eating muscles? I.e., I have heard that 100g of glucose forming carbs will raise insulin sufficient to shut down ketone production --is ketone production bad or good for a person trying to gain weight? Or something that may potentially bring health to the intestinal system?

    If one was trying to eliminate sugars that feed bacteria, yet ensure enough calories and weight gain, should “safe” starches be included (white potatoes, taro, yucca, sweet potatoes, squash, white rice)? Or should a greater number of sugary vegetables (beets, carrots, tomatoes, squash) be included? Is one type better than another then, i.e. if a carrot has glucose is it better than a glucose molecule from a starch?

    Related, will a cup of salsa that has a lot of the sugary vegetables (onions and tomatoes) raise blood sugar just as much as one of the maligned starches, i.e., potato?

    Is the sugar in beets better than starch to not feed unhealthy bacteria? The GAPS diet advocates the elimination of starch because they feed the bad bacteria--but would a non-ketogenic diet that has a lot of squash and beets and the "sugary" vegetables feed it just as much?

    Depression and serotonin deficiency often accompanies a low body weight and malnutrition. I have heard concerns of low serotonin and cortisol levels on a low-carb diet (but it is not defined what "low" is). How grams of carbs, or ratio of calorie consumption, does one need to CREATE good serotonin and cortisol levels?

    Thank you so much!

  • #2
    There is not definitive answer to most of your questions, I'm afraid. A lot of this varies from person to person, and the only way to know is trial and error.

    Some people will say xyz formula works for "most people" or "HANDS DOWN" should work for everyone. I believe they are wrong.

    Personally, for gut health, especially in regards to things like dysbiosis, I believe it's better to avoid starches and sugars. I haven't had problems with starchy veg like carrots or sweet potatoes, but regular potatoes, white rice, and even too much fruit can disrupt my gut bacteria (basing this on the available evidence, from yeast infections). I can usually eat a couple of pieces of fruit a day without issue, however. Refined sugars are COMPLETELY triggering for me. Even too much maple syrup (more than 1 tbsp in a serving).

    I cannot answer your questions on serotonin either, though I've wondered about those. My gut health is poor and the worse it gets, the more my mental health suffers. I believe it's linked as a psychological and physiological response. Ratios and amounts don't do jack for me right now.
    Depression Lies


    • #3
      Based on my own physiology, if I were trying to gain weight just in body fat I'd eat more carbs. But if I were trying to gain more muscle, I'd eat more protein and then do a carb feed after a workout to maximize recovery and growth.
      High Weight: 225
      Weight at start of Primal: 189
      Current Weight: 174
      Goal Weight: 130

      Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


      • #4
        you will probably have to look up the glycemic index on tomatoes and onions to answer the salsa question
        in my opinion, tomatoes and onions have a lot more fiber and a much higher amount of beneficial phytochemicals than simple non-nutrient dense potatoes. to go heavy on carbs I would go for sweet potatoes as the richest source but still avoid white carbs

        About bad bacteria and yeast, I believe it is very important to supplement with good bacteria to out-compete the bad ones; there is no point to suppress bad flora if you aren't adding back any of the normal ones to help return the gut to healthy status. You may want to try some Kefir, most grocery stores have it now and one of brands at my local one has 12 kinds of beneficial bacteria. A few new trendy types of yogurt (activa) also have extra strains of probiotics, but I would watch the sugar content of both these things; typically the fruit-flavored ones are still going to be high in sugar, but you can get plain. Kefir is interesting, tangy and very thick, like runny yogurt. And/or invest in some good probiotic supplements. But Kefir is a fast, easy, and bit cheaper way to get living bacteria in immediately because they are still hydrated and not dormant, unlike dry pills which I don't trust the viability of so much.
        Natural products super cheap @ iherb: Use discount code SEN850 at for $10 off first order; free shipping $20+ order in USA