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Protein Powder and Weight Gain: The Heavy Truth

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Protein powder has become a trendy way to pursue weight gain, and for good reason. Trendy? Well, human bods are about 15% protein by mass, so maybe "trendy" is the wrong term here. “Inevitable”? Better.

Table of Contents

Protein Powder and Weight Gain: The Heavy Truth

Protein powder has become a trendy way to pursue weight gain, and for good reason. Trendy? Well, human bods are about 15% protein by mass, so maybe "trendy" is the wrong term here. “Inevitable”? Better. 

The average person needs approximately 56 grams of protein per day, and protein powder is, frankly, an easy way to get this amount of protein. While most people believe that protein powder is a safe and reliable way to gain weight, others have questions about the possible ramifications.

What say we explore the pros and cons of protein powder as a weight gain strategy? Let's do! Maybe we'll even find the elusive answer to that question -- Is Protein Powder a Reasonable, Safe, and Reliable Way to Pursue Weight Gain?

Can I use protein powder to gain weight?

Let's put it this way: yes. But as in all those practices which we would like to be simple and straightforward, using protein powder to gain weight has to be done correctly. This is your body we're talking about. It's even been called a temple, as you may have heard. You do not want to be careless with something that is even occasionally referred to as a temple. 

Gaining weight via protein powder is a bit more complicated than just popping pills and calling it a day. Proper protein intake requires calorie counting, macronutrient splitting, supplement timing, and overall discipline in order to make sure your body gets the amino acids it needs while not overdoing things. Let's explore.

Calorie counting

Calories are what matter when it comes to gaining or losing weight. Protein powders work because they contain high-quality sources of protein that can be converted into muscle mass (and calories). But how many calories does protein powder contain? On the whole, protein powders typically contain about 120-180 calories per shake. If your aim is to gain weight, these calories should be regarded as a supplement and not the sole source of your daily nutrition. This is why calorie counting is so important when dieting or trying to gain weight -- if you don’t track every single calorie that goes into and out of your body, it’s very easy to consume more than your body can handle without gaining weight (and muscle). Intention- ally calibrating your calorie intake according to your goals is a surefire way to get where you want to be. Remember: mind + muscle = mass. 

Macronutrient splitting

In order to gain weight, your body needs both protein and carbs. But which ones? Protein should make up the majority of your calorie intake (in the ballpark of 60-70%), while carb consumption can be adjusted de- pending on how active you are and what kind of diet you’re following. Gainers typically need more carbs than athletes or people who engage in regular physical activity, as muscle growth is primarily fu- eled by glycogen (a type of carbohydrate). However, we are not cardboard cut-outs -- everyone is different. It’s vitally important to listen to your body, and your physician, to assure you’re going about this the right way.

Best protein powder for weight gain

Protein powders are not all the same. In general, plant-based protein powder is the best type of protein for weight gain as it is quickly and easily absorbed by your body, thanks to about 150,000 years of physiological practice. 

It is also sustainably produced. Sustainability -- a word that has become dull through constant use -- is a another way of describing a process that yields lots of what you want without taking doing damage to the planet: our warm blue rock adrift in freezing space. 

Casein protein powder is also a familiar option, although it takes longer to digest, and as a product is part of the problematic cattle industry.

Plant-based protein powders (like pea or rice protein) are very effective, and their being lower in calories speak to a plant-based protein being a cleaner metabolic burn once inside your body. You may need to consume more plant protein to hit your calorie goals, but you'll be assured that it contains none of the trace by-products of the cow/whey-based protein supplements. Plant protein is what gives the cow's milk its protein content in the first place.

Best protein powder for weight loss and muscle gain

If your goal is both weight loss and muscle gain, you'll want a protein powder that's high in protein but low in carbs and calories. Egg whites are a great choice, as they're almost pure protein with very little fat or carbohydrates. But you may be interested in a non-animal-derived protein for your weight gain project. 

When it comes to the best protein powder for weight gain, plant-based protein powders are typically the most effective, and may be accurately described as the closest to their natural source once they have been transformed into a powder. 

High calorie protein powder for weight gain

Mass gainer protein powders are high-calorie, high-protein powders that are specifically designed to help you gain weight. These protein powders typically contain whey protein concentrate or isolate, casein, eggs, and maltodextrin (a type of carbohydrate). Some of them are also loaded with sugar, since the object is not an increase in healthy muscle mass, but isn't mass alone. 

Consumption of mass gainer supplements can thus lead to side effects you might rather not have to deal with. Cramps and bloating are common side effects. Your body is not accustomed to consuming so many calories, mostly sugar in a single go, and added sugar just increases the issue. 

If your goal is weight loss, of course you should avoid mass gainers, as they are often high in calories and carbs. Maltodextrin is a type of carbohydrate that can cause side effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhea; the misery trifecta. 

If you're looking for a protein powder to help you bulk up without any side effects, whey protein isolate or egg whites may not be the best choices due to (and there is no other way to state this) their reputation for gassiness and cramping. If you have a beautifully sculpted physique and are double over with gas as a result, is that a good look? Discuss.

Lactose free protein powder for weight gain: Plants are Boss

If you're lactose intolerant—and there is increasing evidence that about 70% of us are lactose intolerant to one degree or another—whey protein isolate is not a good choice for a protein powder to help you bulk up. 

There are many plant-based protein powders on the market that can help you bulk up. These protein powders typically contain pea protein, brown rice protein, or hemp protein. If you're looking for a vegan-friendly option, there are many plant-based protein powders that can help you gain muscle without any side effects. 

Furthermore, plant-based protein powders are often lower in calories and carbohydrates than whey protein or mass gainers, making them a good option if weight loss is your goal, or even a more controllable and manageable approach to weight gain. Some plant-based protein powders that might be good choices for weight gain include: 

  • Pea protein powder 
  • Brown rice protein powder 
  • Hemp protein powder 
  • KOS protein powder

Protein powder for dogs weight gain

While we're on the subject of bulking, it is worth mentioning that some dog owners seek this effect in their four-legged best friends. You know, their dogs? 

If you're looking for a protein powder to help your dog bulk up, there are many options available. Protein powders designed specifically for dogs often contain high-quality ingredients that can help your pet gain muscle without any side effects. Some protein powders that might be good choices for dogs include: 

  • Arcadia Farms Muscle Building Formula 
  • Billy + Margot Adult Dog Weight gaining Formula 
  • Nutrience Substance All Natural Mass Gainer 

If you would like to add a little more gravitational pull to your beloved canine, there are ways. Just be sure you do that in consultation with your veterinarian.

Best dairy free protein powder for weight gain

KOS plant-based protein contains no dairy whatsoever, is sustainably sourced, and is produced in an ever-evolving array of unexpected and counterintuitive flavors. 

This may interest you if you're tired of protein supplements that taste like soil, or worse. KOS' flavor labs are constantly at work to create clean-burning protein supplements that taste like something you would actually consume for pleasure. What an idea! And KOS is a non-GMO, soy-free solution drawn straight from the ground floor of the food chain. If you'll forgive the ghastly forgive. 

Muscle famously weighs more than fat. Plant-based protein is key to weight gain that is made of the right stuff -- muscle. And plant-based protein burns with more metabolic efficiency. 

The Plant Kingdom is the very foundation of the food chain -- and thus life itself - on this happily moistened planet. It contains (and happily shares) everything we need. Make use of it. As we have been as a species for a long long time.


Is weight gain always a healthy pursuit?

If you are underweight or have a medical condition that requires you to gain weight, then gaining weight may be necessary for your health. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will help you build muscle without putting on excess fat; a pursuit which can be augmented with a clean-burning plant-based protein powder.

Does whey-based protein powder have environmental downsides?

Well, yes. And thanks for asking. Animal-based protein powders have been found to be some of the most destructive foods in terms of their environmental impact. The dairy industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and deforestation. 

How is plant-based protein powder better?

Plant-based protein powder is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to fuel your body without harming the planet. Never mind that it’s naturally packed with nutrients that are essential for health and vitality.


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