Milk provides us with essential nutrients. Like most foods, it also has calories, which might make you wonder, “Does milk help you gain weight?” You may be surprised to learn that there does not seem to be a direct association between drinking milk and body weight. This study found that the effect of dairy consumption on obesity is unclear (1). This means that although researchers have found some studies that show people who eat more dairy tend to be leaner than those who do not consume as much dairy, other studies show no correlation at all. In this article, we will look at whether milk can help you gain weight. By the conclusion, you’ll know whether to add it to your menu for optimal weight gain and bodybuilding.
Does Milk Help You Gain Weight?
If you’re trying to gain weight, you’ve probably heard that drinking milk is an effective way to do it. Whether or not these claims are true depends on several factors. First of all, it’s important to understand why some people have trouble gaining weight in the first place. Some people don’t eat enough food during the day to provide their bodies with an adequate number of calories (i.e., they’re “undernourished”). For these people, drinking milk can provide some additional energy that may allow them to gain weight.
On the other hand, some people have a high metabolism that burns off more energy from the same amount of food, and in this case, drinking milk alone may or may not help you gain weight. That said, there is more to weight gain than simply drinking more milk. In this article, we describe what you can do to help increase your weight.
When you’re not gaining weight, the first thing to consider is how much food you’re eating in a day. If you eat only once or twice a day, try adding a snack or two between meals to increase your calorie intake throughout the day. Also, make sure you are including some protein and carbohydrates at every meal/snack; examples of healthy high-calorie foods are listed below.
In addition to changing your diet, you should exercise daily (6). Talk to a doctor or physical trainer about what type of exercises would be best for someone trying to gain weight (for example, muscle-building exercises).
Then, try drinking some milk with your meals if it doesn’t make you feel too full (in this case, whole milk can be especially helpful because it has more calories than skim milk). Other tips include eating small, frequent meals and possibly taking vitamins and/or minerals that may be beneficial for growth and weight gain. Talk to your health care provider before adding any supplements.
However, it’s important to note that some people are underweight because of a medical condition or illness and should seek professional advice from their doctor about trying to gain weight.
How To Use Milk For Weight Gain?
If this is too much food for you to eat in a single meal, try spreading it out over multiple meals/day instead of just one. For example, in addition to your three normal meals, have a protein shake with milk after your morning workout and then have a large bowl of cereal with whole milk at night before bed. Protein shakes contain amino acids that help build muscles (4).
Other ways to use milk for weight gain include:
- Add dry milk powder to foods like soups, stews, mashed potatoes, and casseroles (where it will mix in well).
- Try making smoothies with milk and fruit (you can use yogurt as well for a thicker, creamier smoothie).
- Add evaporated milk to coffee (half and half is also good-try mixing the two to make ‘coffee shop’ flavors like white chocolate mocha).
- Mix powdered milk into baked goods.
- Use whole or 2% milk instead of water when cooking rice or other grains.
- Add a splash of whole milk to your cereal (again, the higher calorie content is beneficial for weight gain).
- Use milk instead of water when making macaroni and cheese.
- Make hot chocolate with whole milk.
- Eat ice cream after dinner instead of before it (the calories from this dessert will go toward your daily total, but you still want to eat a healthy balanced meal first).
Other Healthy Ways To Gain Weight
It is not uncommon for people to want to gain weight. This may be due to a medical condition, or it may just be that the person has been putting in too much physical effort and needs more energy. Whatever the reason, there are healthy ways of gaining weight that will also help you maintain good health.
Here are a few suggestions of healthy ways to gain weight:
Choose High Energy Foods
There is a simple reason why some foods make you feel full faster, and this is because of their energy content. Energy is the ability of food to supply living cells with substances essential for life and growth. The calories in the food we eat provide our bodies with energy which helps us stay alive and functional (2).
So it would be easier to gain weight if we try to consume high-energy foods than low energy ones. Healthy high energy foods include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats.
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Don’t Skip Meals
Eat at least three good meals per day, and make sure you eat something every few hours. Also, avoid skipping any of these meals, especially breakfast, because it will give your body the fuel to keep going through the rest of the day, and also help you fight off cravings for junk foods. Just make sure that if you do end up feeling hungry between meals that you drink lots of water and have healthy snacks around instead of snacking on unhealthy foods or fast food outlets, which most likely contain high amounts of unhealthy fats and added sugars.
A healthy snack like a fruit salad with yogurt is perfectly fine and can be eaten anytime during the day. You should also opt for complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole-grain bread rather than simple sugars because they take longer to digest and ultimately provide more steady energy.
Increase Protein Intake
Protein is vital for the growth and maintenance of the human body, but it tends to be neglected in people’s daily diets. This is because they tend to focus on eating fewer calories instead of increasing protein intake. So by adding small amounts of protein-containing foods such as eggs, fish, or beans into your diet, you can easily gain weight in a healthy way without having to worry about any adverse health conditions (7).
For example, a half-cup of cooked beans contains 14 g of complex carbohydrates and 7 g of lean protein – even though these numbers may not seem too high, remember that all things come in moderation, so don’t overdo it.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Fats And Oils
Fats have been demonized in the past, but now we know that they are not as bad as we thought. Fat plays a vital role in our bodies by helping with many important functions, such as the formation of cell membranes and hormones. It also provides energy for living cells, so there’s no reason why you should avoid fats altogether (8). Fat is a concentrated source of energy, so it’s very helpful for those trying to gain weight. Just make sure to choose heart healthy fats like those from fish oils, olive oil, or avocado instead of saturated fats from animal products which can contribute to health problems if they are consumed excessively.
Eat Your Veggies
Green leafy vegetables tend to be low in calories yet high in minerals, vitamins, and fiber, which is perfect for people who want to gain weight healthily. These foods are full of water, so they are hydrating, and will keep you feeling satisfied while providing a healthy amount of energy, especially when paired with lean protein and healthy fats.
Drink Plenty Of Water
The human body is largely composed of water, and we must replenish our bodies with water regularly, and especially after physical effort. It also helps in keeping the digestive system working properly by lubricating all the organs involved in digestion.
Avoid Soft Drinks And Fruit Juices
These drinks often contain high amounts of carbohydrates, sugars, or calories that help with weight gain, but they provide few or no nutrients and can be unhealthy for you if consumed excessively (3). So make sure to choose water over soft drinks and fruit juices whenever you can to stay healthy and hydrated.
Don’t Give Up On Exercise
You don’t have to go overboard with exercise, but even doing something like walking for 30 minutes every day can be very helpful because it will help promote heart health while helping the digestive system function properly.
Consume Fast Foods In Moderation
Fast foods are often high in calories and saturated fats, but they also tend to be very satisfying, which can lead you to eat more to satiate your hunger. However, they might not provide many nutrients at all, so you should mostly avoid these foods if you want to gain weight healthily. It’s better to focus on more nutritious high energy foods like complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats.
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Don’t Let Yourself Go Hungry
Your body needs the energy to perform even the simplest of tasks. So try and eat three healthy and balanced meals every day and don’t go more than 5 waking hours or so without eating. Avoid stressing yourself out too much about gaining weight. Focus on staying healthy instead of just trying to increase the number on the scale.
The Bottom Line
Can milk alone help you gain weight? The answer is maybe – if the reason that you aren’t gaining weight isn’t that you aren’t eating enough calories in total, then drinking milk may help you add additional calories into your diet. But remember, increasing your calorie intake will require some dietary changes (e.g., eating more often throughout the day), and changing your body’s energy balance through exercise is also important.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A critical review of the role of milk and other dairy products in the development of obesity in children and adolescents (2018, nih.gov)
- Calories (2021, nih.gov)
- Effect of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2007, nih.gov)
- Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training (2018, nih.gov)
- How much water should you drink? (2020, harvard.edu)
- How to gain healthy weight (2019, sanfordhealth.org)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, pubmed.gov)
- The truth about fats: The good, the bad and the in-between (2019, harvard.edu)