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I'm 16 years old, have diabetes, and my goal this summer has been to try to gain at least 10 pounds before football season (I love football). I now weigh between 170-175 pounds. What are some good foods to eat to achieve my goal?


Your weight as it is sounds reasonable for a teenager playing football, but since you did not include your height and the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, it is hard to tell what a healthy weight for you would be. Football is a very good sport, however weight, muscle mass, strength, and heart health are all important considerations. Several very successful professional football players have managed diabetes along with their careers.

You should start with your diabetes team. Ask the dietitian to help you determine what a good weight for you would be and then go from there. Weight gain is a simple principle -- what you take in must be greater than what you burn. The fact is some of the ways people use to gain muscle such as eating more protein are actually not the best ways to go about it. Eating a very balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrate, adequate protein to promote growth for your age and about 30% of your calories as fat is a good place to start. The Food Guide Pyramid should give you a good idea of basic good foods to eat for normal.. I would definitely seek help from your diabetes team to get further guidance on how much extra food to eat to gain the weight in a healthy fashion.


Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:

I do not know where you live or if you see a diabetes team but I hope so since I think the dietitian on the team would be best able to give you ideas on how to gain the weight, in light of your health (for example do you have high lipid levels or a history of heart disease). I also do not know how rapidly you want to gain the weight, but we usually suggest no more than 2 pounds or so per week. Keep in mind that playing football in the hot summer can be very dehydrating and you can easily gain weight by replacing fluids on a hot day. Anyway, with all of that, I think you need to work with your insulin doses to be sure your blood glucose levels do not rise when you add extra food. The foods to add, again, depending on your health status, consult with a dietitian, and food likes and dislikes might include an extra ounce or 2 of protein, 5 or so extra starches servings,and 3 or so extra fat servings. This will add about 600 calories, so should put on some weight, but as to where to put those items into your diet, you need the advice of your team.


Additional comments from Maria Gallego, diabetes dietitian:

Good for you for setting a goal! You didn't mention your height which is needed to help you determine a healthy body weight. I'd assume that you are looking to gain weight in the form of muscle and not to add body fat. Basically to gain weight, you need to eat a bit more of foods from the 5 food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid (grains, fruits, vegetables, milk/dairy, and meat/meat alternatives). It would be best to work with a registered dietitian for personalized advice for trying to gain (or lose) weight. An exercise program that includes weight training will help you add muscle and not fat. Muscles increase with increased exercise...and muscle weighs more than fat.

By increasing your calories and by changing your activity level, your insulin needs will likely change as well. It is important to discuss this with your healthcare team. By managing your blood sugars you will be more effective on the football field!


Original posting 6 Aug 2001
Posted to Weight and Weight Loss


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:24
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