Is Mass Gainer Good for Weight Loss? (Should You Use Them?)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 24, 2023
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Due to the nature of my job, I consider myself well-informed about supplements and all their applications.

However, the other day, one of my clients came up with a question: could a mass gainer have the opposite effect? He claims that it makes him eat less during the day and that he reported some noticeable weight loss.

I simply had to check this absurd possibility, so with my dietitian's assistance, I conducted a 4-week study on myself and a few of my clients to find the answer.

These are our results.

Quick Summary

  • If taken strategically, with less food intake and junk food elimination, a mass gainer could be a helpful supplement for weight loss.
  • Since this supplement's common effect is body fat build-up, you must be careful and use it in smaller doses than recommended or use it in full doses on particular days as an actual meal replacement.
  • Regardless, actual supplements that could help you lose weight undeniably include fat burners, protein powders, or even pre-workouts.

Could Mass Gainer Give You an Opposite Effect?

A scoop of mass gainer surrounded by pills

Mass gainer could potentially give you the opposite effect if, due to the prolonged feeling of fullness, it leads to a lower daily calorie intake.

In any other case (consuming more calories than you burn), the mass gainer isn’t considered a helpful supplement to lose weight.

These products are notorious as super-calorie-dense supplements, usually containing between 500 and 1000 or even more calories per serving.

This perfectly aligns with their primary purpose, aptly contained within their name.

To make things worse, most calories come from carbohydrates, and carbs may be the worst macronutrient choice when losing weight considering excessive carbs get stored as fat in a metabolic process called de novo lipogenesis [1].

Besides de novo lipogenesis, another drawback of high-carb intake is the spike in insulin levels that can eventually cause a sudden blood sugar drop, making you feel hungry and crave more food.

Unlike whole foods, these products don't contain dietary fiber, which would slow the release of sugars and fill you up, eventually controlling your insulin levels and appetite.

"The downside to mass gainers is that muscle doesn't come on at a measurable rate. So if the idea is to gain weight, it's fine. If the idea is to gain muscle, then it can be misleading. Honestly, products like this are probably better in the clinical setting as a way to prevent atrophy."

- Trevor Kashey, Ph.D. Biochemist

Besides the vast amount of calories, most mass gainers contain creatine, which causes water retention and may provoke even more apparent weight gain [2].

With all that said, unless you use them under strict conditions, these products will inevitably cause you to ingest more calories than you need, crave more food, and eventually gain more weight instead of burning fat.

Given these factors, unless used under strict conditions, mass gainers are likely to result in excessive calorie intake, increased food cravings, and ultimately weight gain instead of fat loss.

Moreover, mass gainers often lack the balanced nutrients needed to promote lean muscle growth and improve body composition. While they may contribute to weight gain, the additional pounds are more likely to come from fat rather than lean muscle mass.

Achieving a desirable body composition requires a combination of regular exercise, adequate protein intake, and a well-rounded diet that focuses on nutrient-dense whole foods.

How to Use It to Gain Minimal Fat?

A muscular person holding a mass gainer supplement container

To gain minimal fat from a mass gainer, you must consume it intelligently, which mostly refers to the amount and timing.

Since you are using a mass gainer, you probably want to consume more calories to sustain or find ways to gain weight with a fast metabolism, primarily as muscle.

On some occasions like traveling, they can come in handy as they can be a quick replacement for a real meal.

Since they contain a bunch of calories, even without time for food, you can be in caloric surplus with a mass gainer at hand.

In any other case, a smart move would be to take smaller servings and ignore the recommended serving written on the package.

Combining, let's say, one-fourth of serving with whey protein powder would strike a good balance between quality caloric surplus and drastic calorie intake.

You should also make sure that you always take it prior to your workout, so you can offset some of the carbs as much as possible.

So if you aim to lose weight, a much better option would be to choose a fat-burner which is far more suitable for fat loss.

What Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight?

Holding a supplement drink

Supplements that can help you lose weight are those with ingredients that reduce appetite or increase metabolic rate through thermogenesis, as fat burners do.

Also, look for supplements that contain a low calorie-to-protein ratio, like protein powders.

Most fat burners have so-called 'thermogenic' ingredients that stimulate heat production in the body.

These ingredients increase basal metabolism and overall energy expenditure, leading to more calories burned and eventually weight loss [3].

Most common thermogenic ingredients include caffeine, capsaicin, green tea extract, yohimbine, and bitter orange.

The second supplement, which isn't primarily tailored for weight loss but can aid in developing lean muscle mass and help you lose weight, is protein powder.

Although protein is one of the main ingredients in most mass gainers, unlike mass gainer, which has plenty of calories from carbs, whey protein is usually 40-90 percent pure protein (amino acids) per serving.

This means it has fewer calories per serving, but that amino acid count makes you satiated for longer and eventually contributes to weight loss.

Moreover, this supplement contains large quantities of amino acid glutamine, which, research suggests, could also help with weight loss [4].


What Are the Negative Effects of Mass Gainer?

The negative effects of mass gainer usually boil down to minor digestive issues that include bloating, cramps, and flatulence.

Other side effects (generally if you use mass gainer in large doses) include unhealthy weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, and ultimately kidney and liver damage.

Is Mass Gainer Good for Fast Metabolism?

Mass gainer could be good for fast metabolism since most mass gainers provide large amounts of calories per serving, helping skinny people increase their calorie intake and gain weight.

However, no matter the metabolism rate, mass gainer will eventually make your body create excessive body fat unless accompanied by an intense workout regime to manage consumed calories.


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