Is Mass Gainer Bad For You?

by Nader Qudimat
Updated June 13, 2023

So, you're trying to bulk up, and you've come across these protein products called mass gainers.

They promise to help you bulk up and build muscle in no time.

But you're smart.

You're not just going to take their word for it.

You're asking the important question:

Are mass gainers bad for you?

That's exactly what we're going to uncover today.

(Read: are pre-workouts bad for you?)

Is Mass Gainers Bad For You?

Mass gainers aren't inherently bad, but they can be if used improperly.

They are high in calories and designed to help individuals gain weight, but without proper exercise and diet control, these extra calories can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating mass gainers into your diet.

The Healthy Side of Mass Gainers

Let's talk about the good stuff. Here's why mass gainers can be a healthy addition to your diet:

Protein Powerhouse

Mass gainers are a rich source of protein, an essential nutrient for muscle growth and repair.

If you're hitting the gym hard, the high protein content in mass gainers can provide your muscles with the necessary amino acids to recover and grow.

Calorie Boost

Mass gainers are high in calories, which can be beneficial if you're trying to gain weight or if you have high-calorie needs due to intense physical activity.

They can help you meet your calorie goals without having to consume large volumes of food.

Balanced Nutrition

Many mass gainers offer a balanced mix of macronutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

This balanced nutrition can support overall health and muscle growth. Some mass gainers also contain a range of vitamins and minerals, further enhancing their nutritional profile.

Fiber Factor

Some mass gainers include dietary fiber.

Fiber is essential for healthy digestion and can help maintain a feeling of fullness, which can be beneficial if you're trying to control your calorie intake.


Mass gainers offer a quick and easy way to increase your calorie and nutrient intake.

They can be particularly useful if you have a busy schedule and struggle to find time to prepare nutrient-dense meals.

  • Protein Powerhouse: Mass gainers are loaded with protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.
  • Calorie Boost: They're high in calories, helping you meet your daily calorie needs.
  • Balanced Nutrition: Many mass gainers offer a balanced mix of protein, carbs, and fats.
  • Fiber Factor: Some even contain dietary fiber, aiding digestion.
  • Convenience: They're a quick and easy way to increase your calorie and nutrient intake.

The Potential Downsides of Mass Gainers: What To Watch Out For

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Here are some potential downsides to watch out for:

Added Sugars

While added sugars can make mass gainers taste better, they can also lead to health issues.

Consuming too much-added sugar can increase your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Artificial Additives

Some mass gainers contain artificial additives, such as sweeteners and flavors.

While these can enhance the taste of the product, they can also cause side effects in some people, including digestive issues and allergic reactions.

Unhealthy Fats

While fats are an important part of our diet, not all fats are created equal. Some mass gainers may contain unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, which can increase your risk of heart disease.

Fillers and Additives

Some mass gainers may contain fillers and additives, which are used to increase the volume of the product and improve its texture.

However, these ingredients often offer little to no nutritional value and can sometimes cause side effects like bloating and stomach discomfort.

Low-Quality Proteins

While protein is a key component of mass gainers, the quality of this protein can vary.

Some products may use low-quality protein sources, which can be less effective for muscle growth and recovery.

So to sum it all up:

  • Added Sugars: Some mass gainers contain added sugars, which can spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Artificial Additives: They may also contain artificial sweeteners and flavors, which can cause side effects in some people.
  • Unhealthy Fats: Some mass gainers may contain unhealthy fats, like trans fats.
  • Fillers and Additives: They may also contain fillers and additives, which offer little nutritional value.
  • Low-Quality Proteins: The quality of protein in mass gainers can vary.

Remember, not all mass gainers contain these unhealthy ingredients.

It's important to read the label and choose a product that aligns with your dietary needs and health goals. If in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist.

We reviewed what we believe to be one of the cleaner mass gainers, Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs.

What Does the Community Suggest?

Alright, let's dive into the world of Reddit and YouTube to see what real users are saying about mass gainers.

From the Reddit community, there's a mix of opinions.

Some users swear by mass gainers, saying they've helped them pack on pounds when nothing else worked.

They talk about how mass gainers have been a game-changer, especially for those with a fast metabolism who struggle to gain weight.

You can check out these discussions here, here, and here.

But not everyone's singing praises.

Some users caution about the high sugar content in many mass gainers, warning that they can lead to unwanted fat gain if not used properly.

Others mention digestive issues, saying that the high nutrient content can be hard on the stomach. You can find these discussions here and here.

A few users also raise concerns about potential long-term health effects.

They talk about the risk of kidney damage from long-term use of creatine, a common ingredient in mass gainers.

And some mention sleep issues due to the caffeine content in some products. Check out these discussions here and here.

Over on YouTube, the conversation continues.

One video by Ms. Sushma Jaiswal discusses how mass gainers can be beneficial for muscle growth, especially for bodybuilders and athletes.

But she also warns about potential side effects, including nausea for those with lactose intolerance, insomnia from caffeine, and kidney damage from creatine.

In another video by Mind Pump, they discuss the pros and cons of mass gainer shakes.

They highlight the convenience of mass gainers for boosting calorie intake but also caution about potential downsides, including excessive weight gain if not used properly.

Finally, a video by Bony to Beastly raises the question of whether mass gainers are a good choice for skinny guys looking to bulk up.

They discuss how mass gainers can provide the needed calorie surplus but also caution about the high content of processed carbs and artificialflavors in many products.

So, there you have it. Real users, real opinions.

It seems like mass gainers can be a useful tool for some, but they're not without potential downsides.

As always, it's important to do your research and consider your own health.

Homemade Mass Gainer Recipe

If you want to be absolutely safe and in control of your ingredients, you can make your own mass gainer at home.

Here's a recipe:

  1. Grind 1 cup of oats in a blender.
  2. Add 1-2 scoops of protein powder.
  3. Throw in 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter.
  4. Add 1 ripe banana.
  5. Pour in 1-2 cups of milk or plant-based milk.
  6. Blend until smooth.

And voila!

A homemade mass gainer that's free from artificial additives and added sugars.

Here it is in detail:

The Ingredients

First things first, let's gather our ingredients. Here's what you'll need:

  • Protein powder: This is the star of our show. Choose a high-quality protein powder that aligns with your dietary needs and preferences.
  • Oats: Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. They'll give your shake some substance and keep you feeling full.
  • Nut butter: Nut butter adds healthy fats and a creamy texture to your shake. Plus, it's a great source of extra protein.
  • Bananas: Bananas add natural sweetness and a good dose of potassium, which is great for muscle recovery.
  • Milk or plant-based milk: This will be the base of your shake. Choose whatever you prefer or what suits your dietary needs.

The Recipe

Here's how you can make your own mass gainer at home:

  1. Start by adding 1 cup of oats to your blender. Blend until they're finely ground. This will give your shake a smoother texture.
  2. Next, add 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder.
  3. Throw in 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter. Feel free to adjust the amount based on your calorie needs.
  4. Add 1 ripe banana for a touch of sweetness.
  5. Pour in 1-2 cups of milk or plant-based milk. The amount will depend on how thick you like your shakes.
  6. Blend until everything is well combined and smooth. If the shake is too thick, add more milk. If it's too thin, add more oats or banana.

Mass Gainer vs Protein Powder 

When compared to other dietary supplements, mass gainers stand out due to their high-calorie content.

They're more caloric dense than protein shakes, which focus primarily on protein with fewer carbs and fats.

That doesn't mean they are a replacement for a balanced diet.

They should be used as a supplement to your diet, not as the main source.

Before starting on a mass gainer, consider your fitness goals, dietary needs, and overall health.

It's a good idea as well to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist.

Nootropic by Transparent Labs is an excellent choice as a gaming supplement.


Are mass gainers safe to use?

Mass gainers are generally safe to use for most healthy individuals. However, they should be used as part of a balanced diet and not as a replacement for whole foods. It's also important to follow the recommended serving sizes to avoid potential side effects.

Is it bad to have mass gainer every day?

It's not necessarily bad to have a mass gainer every day, but it depends on your individual health goals and dietary needs. If you're trying to gain weight and you're struggling to get enough calories from your regular diet, a mass gainer can be a useful tool. However, it's important to also get plenty of nutrients from whole foods.

Are mass gainers bad for the heart?

Mass gainers themselves are not inherently bad for the heart. However, if they lead to excessive weight gain, this could increase the risk of heart disease. It's important to use mass gainers as part of a balanced diet and exercise program.

Does mass gainer really increase weight?

Yes, mass gainers can help increase weight, particularly in people who struggle to gain weight or those who have high-calorie needs due to intense physical activity. They provide a high-calorie supplement with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

What are the potential allergens in mass gainers?

Mass gainers could contain potential allergens such as dairy, soy, gluten, or nuts, depending on the specific product. It's important to check the label for allergen information if you have any food allergies or sensitivities.

Are mass gainers suitable for everyone?

Mass gainers are best suited for those who struggle to gain weight or muscle. However, they may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain health conditions. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Can I use a mass gainer as a meal replacement?

While mass gainers are high in nutrients, they shouldn't be used as a complete meal replacement. They're designed to supplement your diet, not replace whole foods which provide a broader range of nutrients.

How often should I take a mass gainer?

The frequency depends on your individual needs and goals. Some people might take it once a day, while others might take it multiple times a day. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and consult with a healthcare professional if in doubt.

Can I take a mass gainer without working out?

While you can, it's not advisable. Without exercise, the extra calories from the mass gainer could lead to fat gain rather than muscle growth.

Are there any alternatives to mass gainers?

Yes, alternatives include protein shakes, creatine supplements, and of course, a well-balanced diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Bottom Line

So, are mass gainers bad for you?

The answer isn't a simple yes or no.

Like many things in life, it depends.

Whether mass gainers are bad for you or not depends on your personal health goals and how you use them.

They can be beneficial for those needing a calorie-dense, high-protein supplement.

However, misuse can lead to unhealthy weight gain and other health issues.

They should be used responsibly.

It's important to maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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