Source: health.harvard.edu
Source: LegitScript.com
Source: garagegympower.com
Source: getfitkpsf.com

To Use Supplements or Not? All You Need To Know About Gaining Weight Safely

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In the wake of social media, it's become very easy to find validation in comparing yourself to others — including the shape of your body.

To get specific, there are tons of Instagram models who show off their curves to their followers and credit their curviness to the latest diet trends. And in response, almost everyone wants to know exactly how they did it. Likewise, many diet teas and supplement companies have resorted to paying celebrities and influencers to pose with their products as a marketing tool, requiring those who participate to share with their audience just how much said tea/supplement has helped them achieve their "dream body." 

A more recent trend arising in the social space is the use of the controversial supplement Apetamin to gain weight. Before I get into my research on it below, I'd like to say that I personally believe naturally gaining (or losing) weight is the best way to go, because shortcuts generally come with side effects. While I always tell my clients that genetics play a huge role in your body shape, there are ways to gain weight safely without compromising your health.

That being said, here's what I found about Apetamin.
 

1. There isn't actually a lot of valid research on it, and most trusted health sites don't even mention it.

While this doesn't actually prove anything, I find it worrisome that sites like WebMD and Livestrong don’t discuss Apetamin and its benefits or side effects at all. I did find an article on LegitScript, a blog edited by health professionals, which states that the supplement is currently an unapproved drug by the FDA. Put simply, it means that Apetamin is not tested for long-term effects or potential dangers it poses to people who are currently using it. Sketchy.

2. Apetamin contains cyproheptadine.

Cyproheptadine is used to relieve allergy symptoms, and a side effect of this is an increased appetite. Since Apetamin does tend to make you feel more hungry, it’s supposedly a common drug used in treating anorexia or in extreme malnutrition cases. However, a 2016 study found that cyproheptadine raises the risks of obesity. The study followed 499 participants in the Democratic Republic of Congo and found that a whopping 73% of them who had ingested it were at a higher risk of developing the health condition. 

3. Some people have found it beneficial...

Since I couldn't find much from notable sources (again, this is not a reassuring sign), I did read blogger Jess Mocha’s experience with Apetamin. According to her, alongside diet and exercise, Apetamin assisted greatly in her fitness journey. She expressed struggling with having a fast metabolism, so weight-gain was especially tricky. When discussing the product, she did note, however, that drowsiness and dizziness were common side effects. 

As I stated several times before, there aren't many notable sources on the use of Apetamin. As a friendly reminder, any and all supplements should be used upon consulting your doctor, and these trends are not a sure way to know if something is safe. Before trying a supplement, attempt to gain weight naturally. Not only is it safer, but using supplements will cause fast changes rather than lifestyle changes. Long lasting habits are best for permanent results.

For weight gain, here are some tips to consider!

1. Eat above your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

In short, your BMR is the number of calories your body needs at rest to support basic bodily functions. To gain weight, you must factor in your BMR plus the amount of exercise you do and then some. The goal is to add on extra calories at a slow and steady rate to build muscle and put on the pounds! Click here for a calculator you can use to find your BMR.

2. Lift heavier weights.

Lifting weights is a tool used to tell your body to build, build, build! According to celebrity trainer, Jay Cardiello, lifting heavier weights allow women's bodies to produce a slightly higher amount of testosterone, assisting in gaining lean weight. Just remember to eat foods higher in carbohydrates and protein after a weightlifting session to feed the muscles you're trying to build.

3. Don’t be afraid of the carbs!

Healthy carbs (whole-grain bread or pasta, rice, fruits, potatoes, etc.) are ideal foods. Livestrong states that your diet should comprise of 45-65% carbohydrates if you're trying to gain, since carbs are the body’s primary energy source and more calories are needed to put on pounds. Though junk food contains high calories and many carbs, these foods supply “empty calories” and have little nutritional value.

4. Eat more frequently and more densely.

Aim to eat 4-6 times per day and make sure the food is nutrient and calorie dense. You don't want your body to run out of fuel when you’re trying to gain. Once you let your stomach run on empty, your body begins burning your stored energy — which is exactly what we don't want! A way to ensure this doesn't happen is to eat calorie-dense foods (nuts, whole-fat dairy, legumes, and whole grains). These healthy snacks are full of nutrients and have more calories packed into smaller servings.

Weight-gain can be a tricky task for some people. While it seems easier to take a quick and easy supplement, I highly suggest you consult with your physician. Unapproved drugs are not always safe. Your body is capable of gaining weight on its own if you follow the steps above. In any fitness journey, it’s important to love yourself before, during, and after and remember to treat your body with kindness!

Have any weight-gain advice, Sweat Sisters? Comment below!

SWEAT REPORTER | Paytra is a musician and writer out of New York City. She moved from a small town in Michigan at age 16 to pursue her dreams, and has been making her mark in the Big Apple ever since! She is a Business Management major and double-certified personal trainer with 6 years experience, so she loves to write about all things nutrition/fitness. You can find her in the studio, at the gym, writing in her journal, or playing piano: and if all else fails, she’s hitting up her favorite coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan! site: PaytraMusic.com