Nutrition Q&A: With tips to gain weight

Nutrition and Dietetics expert, Parvathy Radhakrishnan answers readers’ questions on nutrition. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Wednesday.

This week’s answers:

1. Hi Parvathy. Right advise at right time, simply saying blessing in disguise… today only I got the report for the cholesterol level for my husband…Cholesterol level is more high than the risk factor so i was just thinking to consult a dietician.
He’s used to taking a half boiled egg every day… he smokes a lot and drinks every alternate days (just for refreshing)
How do I stop the above habits? Stopping all these three habitual practice will improve reduce cholesterol level.
Also please suggest if having cereals (like channa, badam., rajma. corn, peas, dal) and nuts (ground nuts) is good for him to continue and should I stop them immediately. Also advise me do’s and don’ts in details as we intake in our regular food.


You can continue eating all dals and pulses. Peanuts are healthy but in small amounts. Not more than 2 tablespoon a day as they are also high fat food. Three whole eggs a week is fine.

Your husband will need to make several visits to a dietician who will assess his present eating pattern and blood results, check his weight and height and guide him to make changeovers in eating habits gradually. Personal counselling is required and this cannot be given in this column.

Smoking, drinking and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart diseases. Therefore your husband will also need to see a physician who will assess other risk factors for heart diseases (like family history, high blood pressure, diabetes/prediabetes, sedentary life, overweight, age, stress) and advice his accordingly or start medications.

2. I have been following all that is prescribed even before i discovered i had high cholesterol. How is that possible? And now what further measures do i take?

The most important behaviour in reducing high cholesterol are exercise, eating healthy, not smoking, maintaining desirable weight, keeping diabetes and hypertension under control, tackling mental stress.. If you are doing all this and yet have elevated cholesterol then your physician may need to start you on medications.

For some people, the body produces more cholesterol genetically even if there are the above-mentioned healthy habits. This could be because your liver produces more cholesterol or the cells do not remove the cholesterol as efficiently. For such cases maintaining the healthy habits while adding medications help.

I recommend that you continue good eating behaviour and exercise daily and follow up regularly with your doctor for medications.

3. I am too lean, my friends and everybody are kidding me always, it is shameful and discouraging. Please suggest tips for to get fat body.
Caroline Stella

Being lean is considered healthy if your blood profile is normal and your BMI is  20 – 24.9 and therefore you should not be unduly worried.

You could start by doing a complete blood profile including thyroid functions so as to rule out such reasons for being thin.

Meanwhile, you could make sure you are eating healthy by including milk, fruits like banana, mangoes, grapes, dates, all fruits juices and enough whole grain cereals. Milk and dates are a very good combination to increase weight. You can also add supplements like Ensure to the milk to increase calories. You can try eating a little more at each meal than you usually do so as to increase caloric intake. Gaining weight takes a long time, sometimes more than losing weight. So be patient.

Parvathy is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert and a member the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India.

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