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Tips to gain weight

If you have diabetes and you’re underweight or struggling with your appetite, it’s important to eat the foods you like rather than being too restrictive with your diet.

This may mean eating foods that are higher in fat and calories. Speak with your diabetes team to review your medications and talk to a dietitian to help you make any changes. 

It’s important to see your GP if you have been losing weight without meaning to. We all have different body shapes, but if your body weight has changed and you’re not sure why, or it isn’t normal for you, then it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional. 

Do you want to put on weight?

If you need to gain weight, it’s best to get individual advice from a dietitian. Below are some things they might suggest. But you might also have to make changes to the way your diabetes is managed, so speaking to your healthcare team is important. They will also help you to understand why you might be losing weight. 

  • It might be easier to eat smaller meals and snacks — this can also help increase your appetite.
  • Use full-fat dairy products like milk, cream, cheese and yogurt which can be added to your meals or used a snack. For example you can grate cheese into soups or pasta dishes or add a tbsp of cream to porridge or rice pudding. 
  • Add unsaturated fats to your food where you can. Vegetable oils like olive, rapeseed or sunflower can be used to cook dishes or in dressings. 
  • Other healthy fats come from avocados, nuts and seeds, which make good snacks. 
  • Serve vegetables with spread or grated cheese.
  • Add cream or full-fat milk to foods like mashed potato or soups.
  • Have nourishing milky drinks.
  • Add powdered milk to cereals.
  • You may have heard of nutritional supplements, in the form of food or drink. These can be useful for some people who are finding it hard to gain weight or who have a poor appetite. Get some advice from a dietitian about whether they are right for you. 
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