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The Ultimate Guide to Gaining Weight with Diabetes

how to gain weight with diabetes

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone, but it can be particularly challenging for people with diabetes. While most advice around diabetes focuses on weight loss, some individuals struggle with the opposite issue: gaining weight. See tips on how to gain weight with diabetes, focusing on safe, healthy methods.

Understanding the Challenges

Gaining weight with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, requires a careful balance. The primary concern is managing blood sugar levels while increasing calorie intake. It’s essential to approach weight gain in a way that supports overall health and minimizes the risk of complications.

Why do some diabetics need to gain weight?

Some diabetics may lose weight unintentionally as a result of their body’s inability to metabolize glucose efficiently. This can result from inadequate insulin production or insulin resistance. When the body can’t use glucose for energy, it starts breaking down fat and muscle tissue, leading to weight loss.

How to gain weight with diabetes?

Gaining weight with diabetes can be tough, but it’s possible with the right steps. Here are some simple tips to help you gain weight safely while managing your diabetes.

1. Use an App

There are many apps to help manage your diabetes and make good food choices. Look for apps that track your blood sugar and BMI.

Some options include:

  • GlucOracle: This app estimates the amount of carbs, protein, fat, calories, and fiber in your meals and predicts your glucose level after eating.
  • OneDrop: This app helps manage diabetes, blood pressure, weight, and heart health. It offers data tracking, health trends, health coaching, and more.

If these apps don’t suit you, check out other top-rated diabetes management and calorie counter apps.

2. Know Your Ideal Weight

Understand your current weight and set a goal for how much you want to gain. Setting weekly goals can help track your progress.

Based on your height, use a BMI tool to find out what your weight should be. Your doctor or nutritionist can provide more detailed advice on your optimum weight and daily calorie requirements.

3. Eat Six Small Meals a Day

You need to eat more calories to gain weight. Every three hours, eat something healthy to keep your body from using fat as fuel.

Plan your meals for the week with:

  • Lean protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Drink fluids an hour before or after meals instead of during meals to avoid filling up on liquids.

4. Eat More Healthy Carbs

Pick things with a low glycemic index to keep your blood sugar level steady.Adding healthy carbs to your meals will help you gain weight without making your blood sugar rise.

Healthy Carbs Include:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Seeds

5. Add Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are high in calories and promote weight gain. Include foods like:

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel

6. Eat More Protein

Protein helps muscles grow and stay strong. Good sources include:

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Beans
  • Soy
  • Eggs

Ask your doctor about the right amount of protein for you.

7. Avoid Low-Calorie Foods and Drinks

To gain weight with diabetes, eat at least 500 extra calories a day. Choose calorie-dense foods. If you like low-calorie foods like celery or lettuce, add high-calorie toppings like cheese, seeds, and avocado.

8. Avoid Low-Fat Foods and Drinks

Low-fat foods often replace fat with sugar, which isn’t nutritious. Avoid sweets, crackers, yogurt, and frozen meals that are low in fat.

9. Use Supplements Wisely

If you don’t have much of an appetite, supplements can assist. Look for muscle-building supplements like casein or whey protein powder. Before taking any vitamin, you should always talk to your doctor.

10. Exercise with Resistance Training

Resistance training with weights can help you gain muscle and enhance your appetite. Try resistance training with weights, machines, or medicine balls. You can continue to conduct cardiovascular exercises, but make sure you eat extra to compensate for the calories burned.

11. Track Your Progress

Weigh yourself weekly to track your progress. Aim to gain 1-2 pounds per week until you reach your goal weight. Adjust your eating plan as needed.

You can gain weight safely while keeping your diabetes under control if you follow these tips and work with your healthcare team.

What foods can help a diabetic gain weight?

Choosing the appropriate foods is critical while trying to gain weight with diabetes. Here are some specific foods that can help a diabetic gain weight:

Healthy Carbohydrates

  • Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat bread.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, squash, and other starchy vegetables.

Protein-Rich Foods

  • Lean meats: Chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef, and pork.
  • Fish: Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Dairy: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese in moderation.
  • Plant-based proteins: Tofu, tempeh, and edamame.

Healthy Fats

  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
  • Avocado: A versatile fruit rich in healthy fats.
  • Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

Nutrient-Dense Snacks

  • Nut butter: Peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain toast.
  • Smoothies: Blend fruits, vegetables, Greek yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder.
  • Trail mix: A nut and seed mixture with a tiny bit of dried fruit.

How to Gain Weight with Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes must be properly controlled to avoid complications. Here are specific strategies for those with type 2 diabetes who wish to gain some weight:

  • Monitor Blood Sugar Levels: Regularly check your blood sugar levels to learn how different foods and meal times influence you. This will allow you to make essential diet changes and avoid hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
  • Work with a Dietitian: A registered dietitian can help create a personalized diabetic diet to gain weight that suits your needs. They can recommend specific foods, portion sizes, and meal plans tailored to your health goals.
  • Physical Activity: While it might seem counterintuitive, regular physical activity is important. Strength training exercises, in particular, can assist improve muscle mass, resulting in healthy weight gain. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity, making it simpler to control blood sugar levels.

Diabetic Diet to Gain Weight: Meal Plan Ideas

Creating a meal plan can simplify the process of gaining weight. Here are some meal ideas that balance calories and blood sugar control:


  • Oatmeal with Nuts and Berries: Cook oatmeal with milk and top with a handful of nuts and fresh berries.
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait: Combine Greek yogurt, granola, chia seeds, and cut fruit.


  • Chicken and Quinoa Salad: Combine grilled chicken, quinoa, mixed greens, avocado, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Lentil Soup and Whole Grain Bread: A hearty soup that comes with a piece of whole grain bread.


  • Salmon with Sweet Potato: Bake salmon with herbs and serve with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.
  • Stir-Fry Tofu and Vegetables: Sauté tofu with a variety of colorful vegetables before serving over brown rice.


  • Protein Smoothie: Combine milk, protein powder, a banana, and a tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers: Pair a few slices of cheese with whole grain crackers.

Weight Gainer for Diabetics: Supplement Options

Sometimes, food alone might not be enough to meet your calorie needs. In such cases, supplements designed for diabetics can be helpful. These products are designed to deliver extra calories and nutrients while preventing blood sugar rises. Here are a few options:

  • Protein Powders: Look for protein powders with low sugar and carbohydrate content. Whey protein isolate, pea protein, and hemp protein are excellent choices. For a calorie-dense shake, combine them with milk or a milk replacement.
  • Meal Replacement Shakes: Specialized meal replacement shakes for diabetics can provide a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Fiber-rich foods that are low in sugar can help keep your blood sugar in check.
  • Nutritional Bars: Select bars that have few extra sugars, a lot of protein, and healthy fats. These can be handy snacks to have with you.

Tips for Managing Blood Sugar While Gaining Weight

Gaining weight while managing diabetes requires a careful balance to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Here are some tips to help you achieve your weight gain goals without compromising your blood sugar control.

1. Keep a Food Journal

Tracking your meals might help you learn how different foods affect your blood sugar levels and weight. This might be a useful tool for adjusting your diet.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water during the day. Proper hydration supports overall health and can aid in managing blood sugar levels.

3. Manage Stress

Stress can affect blood sugar levels and appetite. Deep breathing, meditating, and doing yoga are all good ways to deal with stress.

4. Get Regular Check-Ups

Regular visits to your healthcare physician are essential for tracking your progress and making any required changes to your weight gain strategy.

Know the Safe Ways to Gain Weight With Diabetes

Gaining weight with diabetes needs careful planning to ensure you increase your calorie intake without affecting your blood sugar levels. Focus on nutrient-rich foods, healthy carbs, proteins, and fats, and eat small, frequent meals. Always talk with a healthcare expert to develop a plan that is specific to your requirements and track your progress. With the right tips and help, you can gain weight in a healthy way that will last.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.