I once heard that to gain weight, one has to eat a lot of carbohydrates. What I mean by a lot is, by eating carbs in the morning, afternoon and evening plus as an additional midnight snack. So, I wondered, for someone who is trying to gain weight and build muscles, would it affect the body taking carbs like garri, in particular, every morning, afternoon and evening, with, of course, protein ( but not as much as carbs).

Note - Garri has 80g of carbs and 330 calories. Source - https://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/generic-garri-dry-213421331

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    I'm not that sure, but I'll say protein.
    – Prince
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 12:14
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    @Jan Although being overweight is a more common problem, being underweight is also a problem and carries substantial morbidity and mortality risk.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 16:42
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    The comments make it clear this is a request for personal medical advice.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:42
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because its off topic
    – Prince
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 5:20
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    I've never seen someone vote to close their own question. You can just delete it, you know.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


There is a much simpler reason why bulking up on carbs is good in general, also for bodybuilding. Your body needs energy, and hole grain carbs are a healthy source of energy, as its loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. The alternative would be to eat fat for energy but this has two drawbacks.

The first drawback is that fat is pretty much an empty calorie source, it contains no vitamins, no minerals, and no fibers. While we do need small amounts of fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins and to get our essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 faty acids, we don't need it for energy.

The second drawback is that burning carbs requires less oxygen than burning fat, because carbs contain more oxygen atoms than fat molecules. This is particularity important when doing cardio exercise. A body builder might not be too much concerned with that, but most body builders do build in quite some cardio training in their routine to maintain a good weight and fitness.

As far as general health is concerned, there is quite strong evidence that limiting fat intake to 15% of total calories is good for health. As mentioned here, in Uganda in the 1950s the rate of coronary heart disease in the African population was almost zero, while in the Asian population it was similar to what it is in the Western World. The explanation according to the article, for this difference is the fat in the diet.

A recent finding is that the Tsimané people have extremely low levels of heart disease, much lower than lowest observed results in modern societies like the Japanese people in Okinawa or people sticking to the Mediterranean diet. The Tsimané people's diet contains roughly the same amount of fat as that of the Africans in Uganda in the 1950, its roughly 15% of the calorie intake.

  • I disagree with the reasoning about fat. Fat is not necessary an empty calorie source. Foods high in fat (meat, fatty fish, nuts, seeds...) can be quite high in micronutrients, especially iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins B. If they have appropriate ratio of unsaturated/saturated fatty acids, they can be protective or at least less risky for heart disease. Inuits, who eat a lot of marine food, which is high in fat (including omega-3 FA), have less than average prevalence of heart disease.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 8:29
  • @Jan Yes, there are foods like nuts etc. that are high in fat, but the Tsimané people who include such foods in their diet get to their 15% of calories from fat this way. So, eating healthy whole foods packed with nutrients is not a problem. Eating refined oils and fats is a different story. Also note this article on inuit diet and heart disease. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 16:20
  • ,I can't accept your claim that "fat is pretty much an empty calorie source." Even pure fats are not empty: fatty acids are a part of cell membranes. Anyway, I'm finding highly questionable to recommend a high-carb diet to someone who wants to gain weight. Why not to gain weigh with a diet with mixed macronutrients?
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 9:30
  • @Jan The human body can make most of the compounds it needs, the exception are the essential nutrients. So, when it comes to fat we need only the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats and they are indeed necessary for cell membranes. We need a bit more than this to absorb the fat soluble vitamins. But it may be that more is better, so we need to consider if the human body would plausibly fare better when getting more. But I don't see why that would be the case as the human body has evolved in Nature, and bottles of cooking oil don't grow from trees. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 15:35
  • Fat is not only oil. If you want to be critical about oil, you can say oil, not fat. Your claim that fat is empty calories just doesn't sound right. Someone could also say that plain carbs (sugars, white flour products, white rice...) are empty calories but you did not mention that.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 8:19

In the bodybuilding scene, the logic that you need to consume carbohydrates to build muscles is this:

Protein calories will be used as an energy source when the body is lacking fat or carbohydrate calories for fuel. When the body receives sufficient quantities of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, protein will carry out its specific functions.

Note, that the article never says you need to consume "a lot" of carbohydrates or have them with every meal; they don't even need to be carbohydrates - fats will do the same: provide calories for energy, so the proteins won't get burned and could be incorporated into the muscles.

Garri, which is made from cassava, contains a lot of soluble fiber, which can cause a lot of gas if consumed in great amounts. There are other high-carb foods with much less soluble fiber, for example, bread, pasta, potatoes and rice.

Having >60% carbs in your diet is a risk factor for increased blood triglycerides, which might be further associated with increased risk of diabetes or heart disease, though (PubMed, 2000).

According to the following study, carbohydrate intake as such does not help to increase muscle mass: Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise? (PubMed, 2013)

In conclusion, whilst it cannot be excluded that carbohydrate addition may provide benefits for recovering athletes, on the basis of available data, no further beneficial actions of carbohydrates, irrespective of GI, are evident concerning muscle hypertrophy when a protein supplement that maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis is ingested.

Another study (PubMed, 2004):

We conclude that ingestion of carbohydrates improved net leg protein balance after resistance exercise. However, the effect was minor and delayed compared with the previously reported effect of ingestion of amino acids.

  • I said, would it affect my body if I keep taking carbs every day in order to gain weight, not build muscles. I also added that since I'm exercising, I also take protein in order for me to build muscles while taking carbs to gain total body weight
    – Prince
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 6:38
  • But my concern is, will it affect my body if I keep taking garri as my source of carbs every day
    – Prince
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 6:39
  • Eating a lot of garri and thus getting a lot of carbs should not be bad for health, but the amount of soluble fiber in it can cause you a lot of gas. But I added something above in the answer about consuming a lot of carbs. The idea that you need to consume a lot of carbs and that they need to be just carbs or that they need to come from foods high in carbs is a myth.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 8:33

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