June 5, 2023
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We are not all equal when it comes to weight gain. Indeed, if some are struggling to lose a few pounds before summer, others have real difficulty in earning it, when they really need it for health or aesthetic reasons. ” For gain weight healthyit is generally advisable to maintain a balanced diet by sensibly increasing the portions “, explains Pauline Bruel liberal dietician in Paris and practitioner at the hospital of Antony.

At the same time, it is essential toadopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain muscle mass by focusing on of the muscle strengthening exercises, adds Dr. Denys Barrault, sports doctor and former president of the French Society of Exercise and Sports Medicine (SFMES). But, for lack of quick results, some people sometimes give in to impatience and choose to bet on food supplements. Is it really a good idea? What are the most effective supplements? We take stock.

Reminder: what are dietary supplements?

THE food supplements are defined by European Directive 2002/46/EC as “food intended to supplement the normal diet”. They are most commonly available as pills, capsules, tablets, powders, or liquids. And the text to clarify: “There is a wide variety of nutrients and other ingredients likely to enter into the composition of food supplements, and in particular, but not exclusively, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibers and various plants and plant extracts (source 1).

In theory, a varied and balanced diet provides all the nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the human body, but certain lifestyles and diets, or certain medical conditions (pregnancy, obesity surgery, various diseases, unintentional weight loss due to cancer, etc.), do not necessarily guarantee sufficient intake. So that’s where dietary supplements can come in.” provided they are used in good conditions and on the recommendation of a health professional “, insists Pauline Bruel.

A dietitian or nutritionist will be able to assess your nutritional needs, diagnose any deficiencies, set up an appropriate nutritional plan and recommend the most suitable supplements, if necessary. most appropriate, their dosages and their duration of use.

Do dietary supplements really make you gain weight?

For some people, just eating more is not enough to see their weight skyrocket. “Patients with constitutional thinness (BMI too low), pathology limiting nutrient absorption, pathology involving unintentional weight loss or an eating disorder (anorexia nervosafor example) unfortunately do not always have a choice,” says Dr. Barrault.

What nutrients do you need to gain weight?

To gain weight without endangering your health, you must in particular ensure your intake of vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and proteins. The “simple” fact of gorging yourself by favoring high-calorie foods in large quantities is therefore not the right solution.

” The objective is to fairly increase all contributions, insists Pauline Bruel. No need to feed exclusively on junk food or follow diets that eliminate certain food categories, such as high protein diet which gives pride of place to proteins and limits the intake of lipids and carbohydrates”.

No, dietary supplements are not enough to gain weight!

Some complexes can actually be interesting for stimulate the appetite or help the organization better assimilate nutrients. But unanimous response from our experts, dietary supplements alone are obviously not enough to gain muscle mass or fat mass. In other words, diet and exercise (which increases feeling of hunger and promotes muscle gain) remain essential!

In addition, Dr. Barrault denounces the marketing issues that lead many companies to present their supplements as “miracle pills” which can actually turn out to be harmfulif they are not taken wisely. Indeed, some supplements designed to promote muscle mass gain have compositions that are opaque, even deleterious, to say the least, and are very widely available on the free stomach. In 2016, a report published by ANSES on the risks associated with the consumption of food supplements intended for athletes even ruled that these products presented an interest “questionable in view of the risks incurred (source 2).

Conclusion ? Before taking any dietary supplement, find out about the composition of the products and consult a health professional. ANSES also advises consumers of food supplements:

  • avoid prolonged, repeated or multiple doses during the year without seeking advice from a healthcare professional;
  • scrupulously respect the conditions of employment set by the manufacturer, responsible for the safety of the products he markets;
  • report any side effects to a healthcare professional ;
  • And favor supply circuits controlled by the public authorities.

What are the best supplements for weight gain?

Among the most popular active ingredients in food supplements to promote weight gain are: harpagophytum, spirulina, ginger, fenugreek and gentian.

Harpagophytum, appetite stimulant

I’harpagophytum (harpagophytum procumbens), also known as devil’s claw, is a medicinal plant native to semi-desert regions of southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. It is best known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties, which help promote joint mobility, but it has also been used for years to stimulate appetite – and therefore potentially weight gain. It is generally used in cures of one to two months, but let’s be clear, it does not directly induce weight gain.

Note: food supplements based on harpagophytum are strongly discouraged for people who suffer from gastrointestinal problems.

Spirulina, to increase protein intake

Spirulina (arthrospira platensis) East a blue-green microalgae, often considered a superfood due to its high content of essential nutrients. In detail, it contains 60% protein, 10% fat and 7% carbohydrates. It can therefore be very useful to limit deficiencies, in addition to an appropriate lifestyle and promote weight gain, especially for people at fast metabolismor who suffer from malabsorption. It is generally used in cures of one month, in the form of powder, capsules or flakes. Just like the harpagophytum, its consumption does not make you fat in itself, but it does increase the proportion of protein consumed, and contribute to maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

Note: food supplements based on spirulina are not recommended for people suffering from phenylketonuria, suffering from an excess of uric acid or presenting an allergic background.

Ginger, to stir up the feeling of hunger

THE ginger (zingiber officinale) is a root very well known for its culinary use. But it also has little-known medicinal properties. Consumed a few minutes before a meal, it would stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and whet the appetite. Concretely, food supplements based on ginger do not induce weight gain, but arouse the feeling of hunger. It is used before meals, in cures of one to two months.

Note: ginger-based food supplements are not recommended for people with gallstones and pregnant women.

Fenugreek, to improve nutrient absorption

Fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecumlisten)) is a herbaceous plant whose seeds are often used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Very rich in nutrients, it has been considered for many years as a traditional remedy to promote weight gain. Not only does it stimulate the feeling of hunger, but it also improves the absorption of nutrients and stimulates insulin production, which promotes fat storage. So many properties that can promote long-term weight gain.

Note: fenugreek-based food supplements are not recommended for pregnant women, diabetic patients and patients on anticoagulants.

Gentian, to whet the appetite and aid digestion

Gentian (gentiana lutea) is an herbaceous plant known for its medicinal properties and its use in making various bitter and digestive drinks. The consumption of gentian can whet the appetite and promote digestionwhich can indirectly contribute to healthy weight gain: when the digestive system is working properly and the appetite is stimulated, one is more likely to eat more, which can contribute to weight gain.

Note: gentian-based food supplements are not recommended for pregnant women, people suffering from ulcers, duodenum or stomach cancers and high blood pressure.

Oral nutritional supplements: what is the difference with food supplements? How to benefit from it?

As indicated at the beginning of the article, dietary supplements are intended to supplement the “normal” diet. They therefore contain active ingredients in so-called “food” doses and are subject to checks by the Directorate General for Consumer Competition and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) which can refuse the marketing of new formulations. Their presentation (in tablets, capsules, ampoules) is reminiscent of that of drugs, but they are readily available over the counter.

“To promote weight gain in cases of malnutrition, chronic illness, eating disorder or cancer, there are also real drugs, the oral nutritional supplements (NOC)”, emphasizes Pauline Bruel. Prescribed by a doctor, they are enriched with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. Their composition, texture and taste may vary for adapt to everyone’s needs.

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