If you are looking for the best protein powder for gaining weight, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will look at the top 5 protein based supplements that will help any hard gainer climb up the scale. Both weight gainers and protein powders will be considered. Safety is always my number one priority when suggesting supplements to my viewers. As such, an emphasis will be placed on ingredients and potential side effects.
While most are looking to shed weight, many are in fact trying to do the opposite. Some people have such a fast metabolism that no matter how much they eat, their weight remains the same. Furthermore, they face a lack of helpful information on the internet.
With almost all health related resources geared towards weight loss, skinny people can feel like second class citizens. But the truth is that almost everyone would prefer to be underweight than overweight. In any case, many safe and effective options are available to help you bulk up. As a hardgainer myself, I understand the struggle of trying to gain weight too well.
If you find yourself in this category, protein powders can be an excellent tool when consumed correctly. And lucky for you, protein powders and weight gainers are actually considered some of the safest products in supplement industry! The issue is that many weight gainers are ineffective, overpriced, or straight up dangerous to consume. Realizing this, I decided to research and test as many supplements as possible. I filtered out the bad ones and compiled a list of the 5 best weight gainer for skinny guys.
This article will provide everything you need to know about gaining weight with protein based supplements and dispel any concerns you may have.
Top 5 Protein Powders for Weight Gain
Most Effective Best Tasting
This one is a staple amongst hardgainers. I’m a hardgainer myself and accredit a lot of my gains to this amazing product. The optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer is a high protein formula that delivers substantial calories in each scoop. 15 different flavors (including double chocolate, vanilla custard, strawberry, banana cream, and cookies & cream) are available in 5 or 10 lb bags with each bag containing 14 and 28 servings, respectively.
Lets begin with the basics. Each scoop contains 660 calories, 60 grams of protein, 85 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, and <7 grams of sugar. For a mass gainer, the macronutrient ratio is perfectly balanced although I would prefer to see a 1:2 protein to carb ratio.The protein blend consists of whey Protein Isolate, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, egg albumin, hydrolyzed whey peptides, and glutamine peptides. All of which have a high BV value (biological value, a measure of protein quality. More on this later).
The low sugar content is also a great thing. Unsafe weight gainers are loaded with fats and sugars to increase the calorie content. This sort of goes against the idea of eating healthy, right? High amounts of sugar can result in unhealthy insulin spikes which will make you feel very dizzy and will signal the body to store fat.
You also get 31 essential vitamins and minerals. If this seems like allot, remember that the nutrient needs of active individuals is not the same as inactive ones.
The taste of most flavors is simply amazing and customers really seem to enjoy vanilla and double chocolate. You can mix in things like cinnamon and ice cream to shake up the flavor, although it’s really not necessary. It also mixes the best out of all the weight gainers I’ve tried.
As for the cost, this is one of the better priced weight gainers. At about $2.85/serving you really can’t go wrong. As a general rule of thumb, a well priced weight gainer will cost around $3.00/serving and a whey protein supplement will cost $0.75/serving.
In terms of effectiveness, Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Gainer is in a league of its own. No weight gainer has produced more satisfied customers. It’s quite heartwarming reading through the testimonials for this product. Most notable was a review from a customer who was terminally ill. He lost almost 100 pounds and tried many different products for many years to no avail. After trying this product, he was able to get back to a healthy weight within a few months. I have experienced its effectiveness myself and never felt more satisfied with a supplement. If you are serious about gaining weight, give this product a go and you will not be disappointed
The only fault I found with the Optimum’s Pro Gainer is that the main ingredient is wheat-based maltodextrin, a high GI carbohydrate filler. It is excellent for spiking your insulin high enough to put you an anabolic state, but there are better whole food carb sources that can be used. Being that this is a mass gainer, its fairly acceptable. You will see allot of companies using this ingredient as it is cheap and easy to produce.
The bottom line: Optimum Nutrition really delivers with this product. It is reliable, tasty, inexpensive, and most importantly, it is a weight gainer with absolutely no side effects.
- Most effective supplement on our list!
- High calorie and protein content: 660 calories and 60g of protein)
- Low sugar and fat content: Less than 7 grams of sugar and 8 grams of fat
- 26 Vitamins and minerals.
- Inexpensive (approximately $2.85 per serving)
- 15 great flavors to choose from. Mixes very well.
- No side effects reported by customers.
- Main ingredient is maltodextrin which has a high glycemic index.
- The provided scoop measures up to ~120 grams. Much less than the advertised 160 grams. Measure out your servings with a scale or use 1 and a quarter scoops.
Naked Mass is another great mass gainer without side effects. When ranking the top 5 weight gainers, I considered a range of metrics such as cost, effectiveness, taste, mixability, and safety of ingredients. Optimum Nutrition took the cake for most effective. But in terms of safety, Naked Mass definitely wins. Here’s why.
The makers of Naked Mass understand that customers seeking these supplements are very health conscious. And for good reason. With the rise of dangerous supplements, unethical marketing, and straight up false labeling, one cannot help but feel wary. The best way to dispel concerns is to keep and the amount of ingredients low and easily identifiable.
Naked Mass, as suggested by the name, is simple, effective, and made from only three ingredients— Naked Whey, Naked Casein and Organic Maltodextrin. In the previous review, I expressed my concerns for wheat-based maltodextrin. As opposed to Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Gainer, the maltodextrin in Naked Mass is organic and made from gluten free tapioca. This makes for a more cleaner source of complex carbohydrates.
All ingredients are GMO free, growth hormone free, soy free and gluten free. And customers really appreciate this. What I appreciate is that they took the time to test for heavy metals and the results are excellent. The levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury all test less than 2 MCG which is a completely negligible and safe amount.
The total amount of sugar per scoop is less than 5 grams, which is excellent considering how great it tastes. As a matter of fact, there is no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Let’s take a look at the macronutrients.
In each scoop you get 50g of Protein, 252g of Carbs, 1,250 Calories, 11.5g of BCAAs. The macronutrient ratio is excellent and will help you bulk up fast. While you only get 11 servings (compared to 14 with the Pro Gainer) each serving is very high in calories and carbs. I would even suggest taking half a serving and mixing in a scoop of regular whey protein. That way you get double the servings. The type of protein used is of high biological value and comes from the milk of grass-fed cows.
It costs about twice as much per serving as the Pro Gainer (click below to get an updated price). Considering it contains twice as many calories and is a healthier option, the price is still excellent and completely worth it. It comes in three flavors- chocolate, unflavored, and vanilla. Many customers preferred the unflavored version as the taste can be modified to their liking.
The main complaint with this product is that some find it difficult to digest. This is however rare and more than 80% of customers had no issue. I didn’t experience this and actually found it the easiest to digest on this list.
- Healthiest supplement on our list!
- Great Nutritional Content: 50g of Protein, 252g of Carbs, 1,250 Calories, 11.5g of BCAAs per serving.
- Healthy and Simple: Made from only three ingredients (Naked Whey, Naked Casein and Maltodextrin) and all ingredients are organic, GMO free, growth hormone free, soy free and gluten free.
- No artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.
- Excellent Price
- Taste Great: Comes in three flavors- Chocolate, unflavored, and vanilla. Many customers preferred the unflavored version as the taste can be modified to their liking.
- No side effects reported.
- A few customers (less than 5%) complained that its not easily digestible.
If you want the most effective weight gainer, go with Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Gainer.
If you want the healthiest weight gainer, go with Naked Mass.
But if you are looking for the best priced weight gainer, go with Dymatize’s Elite Mass. And of course, all weight gainers reviewed have zero side effects and contain no dangerous ingredients.
Dymatize’s Elite Mass comes in a 10 lb pound bag with two different flavors to choose from (double choclate and vinilla milkshake). It cost about the same as Naked Mass (click below for an updated price) but you get a whooping 30 servings!
Each serving contains 600 calories, 54 grams of protein, 72 grams of carbohydrates, 11.5 grams of BCAAs, & 1 gram of creatine. This is the first weight gainer on our list that actually uses a high quality carbohydrate and avoids the use of maltodextrin! The addition of creatine is great although not necessary and should be left to the consumer. The protein content consists of whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate and micellar casein. All great sources of protein and gluten free as well. Very little lactose is used and a few customer claimed they bloated less because of this.
It also contains “Zytrix technology”, a complex of digestive enzymes used to enhance digestion of high caloric diets.
All in all, this is a great product and very cost effective. But don’t expect it to taste as good as the previous two weight gainers. Do expect excellent weight gains. Customers reported around 5 lb increases per month!
Here is a product that delivers a level of quality and care unseen in the supplement industry. The makers of Naked Whey understand that customers seeking these supplements are very health conscious. And for good reason. With the rise of dangerous supplements, unethical marketing, and straight up false labeling, one cannot help but feel wary. The best way to dispel concerns is to keep and the amount of ingredients low and easily identifiable. Naked Whey, as suggested by the name, is simple, effective, and made from only one key ingredient— 100% Grass-Fed Pure Whey Protein. All other ingredients are GMO-free, growth hormone free, gluten-free, soy-free and sugar free. Each scoop contains 25 grams of protein, less than 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and 120 calories. This is a level of perfection only archived by Optimum and Naked.
BSN is a company that puts a lot of effort into scientifically researching and testing their products. They produce some of the best bodybuilding supplements and True-Mass is no exception. Its priced similarly to Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Gainer and tastes about as good. The difference is that you get a bit more calories, 2 extra servings, and a better carb to protein ratio (2:1).
In each serving you get 700 calories, 45 grams of protein, 90 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs. You also get 18 grams of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) fats to better round out the nutritional value.
Overall, this is a an effective and side effect free weight gainer that is a good alternative to OP’s product if you want a more rounded macronutrient content.
Are protein powder based supplements bad for you?
As already alluded in this article, no. Weight gainer shakes are generally not bad for you. As a matter of fact, weight gainers are some of the safest supplements in the industry and have no side effects. It is fat burners and hormone boosters that you need to be a little wary of.
There are, however, many brands of weight gainers that are unsafe and even dangerous. Here is the problem:
The FDA leaves the testing of dietary supplements up to the manufacturer (1). You are supposed to trust the manufacturer to inform you that their own products wont make you grow a third eye. Even the labeling is left to them!
This is why I decided to write this article. All weight gainers on this list are safe to consume and extremely effective. All ingredients have been thoroughly examined and researched.
What are the side effects of weight gainers?
Weight gainers are very safe to consume but some users have reported various side effects. This is especially true for weight gainers that contain creatine. While these reports are likely influenced by external factors (such as preexisting medical conditions or lifestyle choices), I still believe they are worth mentioning.
The side effects of weight gainer supplements include, but are not limited to, fat gain, allergic reactions, cramping, and Gastrointestinal problems.
- Fat gain: No surprise right? Don’t assume that all of the weight will be stored in the form of muscle tissue. If you are not following a strict exercise regimen and burning more calories then you consume, allot of weight will be stored in the form of adipose tissue.
- Allergic Reactions: This risk applies to all supplements but may be higher in weight gainers as they contain two of the most prevalent allergens— soy and milk. If you are allergic to either, consult with your doctor before taking. Signs you may be allergic include vomiting, shortness of breath, wheezing, and hives.
- Cramping: This complication arises when one consumes to much creatine and not enough water. Consume half a liter of water for each 5 grams of creatine.
- GI complications: This includes bloating, heartburn, and constipation. If you experience any, lower you dosage and consult a doctor.
How to take weight gainer for best results?
There isn’t much to it. Variation in weight gainer usage comes from 1) when it is consumed 2) how it is mixed and 3) how much is consumed
When to take a weight gainer:
There are two beneficial time frames to take your weight gainer— as soon as you wake up and right after a workout. In the morning, your body is low key nutrients needed to build muscle. A good way to replenish it is by drinking a shake as the nutrients will be absorbed fast. Post workout is another great option as nutrient needs, as well as rate of nutrient absorption, will be high. If you do not prefer to drink a shake in the morning and are not working out that day, feel free to drink a shake anytime you wish.
How to take a weight gainer:
Mix the powder in a shaker bottle or blender, with milk or water. Mix it with milk if you want extra nutrients (a cup of milk contains 120 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat) and with water if you quicker absorption. You would want a shake to absorb quick after a workout. In general, water is the best solvent for stomach absorption.
How much to take:
This really depends on your macronutrient needs. Start with what the label suggests. Monitor your progress weakly and adjust.