While exposing most of the useless supplements on my channel, and through my ebooks and blogs, I often question people to please tell me what do they think when they hear about a supplement.
For e.g. if I tell you that there is a category of supplements in the market called as the ‘fat burners’, what is the first thought that comes in their mind, especially if they have never heard of this supplement before? The answer is simple, a supplement which helps you in fat burning. Isn’t it so simple?
Similarly, a ‘pre-workout’ is something to be taken before the workout, an ‘intra-workout’ is to be consumed during the workouts, a ‘testosterone booster’ is to boost testosterone and so on. Sounds simple, isn’t it? It does, but it really is not.
Please understand these names or terms mean nothing in terms of science or research. They are self-designed names primarily from the point of view of marketing, and nothing else. It doesn’t mean anything, nor does anyone regulates them. You can give any name to a supplement, without anyone asking you the proof whether it works or not. Because, there is simply no regulation to manufacture and make such useless supplements. The market is full of them.
It’s normal to assume that if a product is in the market, then it must be safe. But dietary supplements are regulated in a post-market manner, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not evaluate the contents or effects of supplements before they are sold. A harmful or illegal dietary supplement can stay on store shelves for a long time, sometimes even years, before the FDA can remove them.
Now, let me ask you another question. Have you ever tasted a ‘black forest pastry’ or a ‘Belgian chocolate pastry’. Most of us have, or have at least heard of them, at some point in time. Now, the second question, what is the meaning of these terms? Does this means that your bakery owner, goes to the Black Forest (Yes! That’s a real forest in Germany) to get the ingredients for your pastry; or does he go to Belgium every week or month, to get you the special chocolate which he proudly names as Belgian chocolate. He probably wouldn’t even have visited these countries anytime in his life.
These names are given primarily for one reason, i.e. marketing. These are fancy terms which sounds attractive and that’s why sells. You will never name a pastry as ‘simple white pastry’, or ‘chocolate pastry’. There are names to them, ‘pineapple pastry’, ‘rainbow pastry’, ‘butterscotch delight’ and so on. More attractive the name, faster it is likely to sell. That’s why, the big burger in McDonalds is called the ‘Maharaja Mac’, not the ‘big veg burger’.
Similarly, when you hear the names ‘fat burners’, ‘pre-workouts’, ‘intra-workouts’, and ‘mass-gainers’, it doesn’t actually mean anything, because no one is checking or regulating the ingredients inside them. More than 80% supplements, specially sports and dietary supplements are either absolutely useless, or they don’t work for the purpose they are sold for. The list is long, and I have been exposing them for some time now. CLA, garcinia, raspberry ketones, L-Carnitine, chromium, HMB, glutamine, BCAAs, EAAs, green coffee bean, apple cider vinegar, and many more such supplements have been repeatedly exposed by multiple researched evidences, but are being openly sold to innocent people, who fall in the trap of these supplement companies, supplement dealers, trainers and dieticians, just because they believe that these people won’t lie to them.
But scamsters and snake oil salesmen are everywhere, and they have been there since the time of human evolution. This is inherent human nature, and they will exist till humans exist. It is you, who has to educate yourself and save your health and your hard earned money from these thugs.
The reason I explained you all this was because one of the supplements to join the ranks of these useless supplements, is the good old ‘mass-gainer’ or the ‘weight-gainer’ supplement. Before we move forward with this topic, I would like to tell you one simple thing: ‘no one needs a mass gainer, simply no one, at least no one in India.’
These supplements are not new. They came in quite early when the advent of sports supplements started in India, somewhere in the late 90s. Back then and even now, people believe in their buzzword, that this supplement will make them buff up like a bodybuilder, as these gainers are advertised with pics of muscular athletes, next to them, giving the person an illusion, that it is these supplements, which made the bodybuilder in the picture, the way he is. But it is hard to imagine now that, what stupidity we used to believe back in those times, while reading muscle magazines, is still prevalent, despite of so much information and knowledge.
When you think from the side of the supplement industries, there are two things to remember. That, every 3-6 months, a new supplement has to come in the market to spark new interest and rake in more profits; and second, where there is a want, add a supplement there.
So, if people want faster fat/weight loss, let’s give them dreams. Let’s give them tons of useless supplements, none of which will actually work, but the people will either never come to know the truth, or by the time they come to know, there would be another new supplement, promising them faster weight loss, without any hard work. The profits should keep coming, by hook or crook. There is nothing called ethics, or trust in this business.
The amount of people who are obsessed with weight loss, same are the number of people who want to gain mass, and for them the solution is a simple mass-gainer. Companies know that most people lack time to eat good food, making good meals and shakes is tedious, it takes a bit of effort, and no one wants to do that. So, instead give them what they always want, i.e. an easy way out.
Have you ever imagined that if the gainer supplements come with more proteins, more carbs and fats and more micronutrients along with loads of other supplemental ingredients like creatine, glutamine, BCAA etc. then why are they cheaper than a simple whey protein? Ideally they should cost more. That’s the trick which most people miss and that’s the reason ‘no one needs a mass gainer’.
Let’s understand what’s inside these gainers, or simply let’s dissect the ingredients in these gainers. The macronutrient composition in these gainers generally is a powder made of high protein and high carb sources, and limited fat content. The calories are generally 500-1500 or more per serving, divided into multiple scoops a day. Sometimes the recommended scoops is 6-8 large scoops a day. And these scoops are virtually double the size of a standard 30gm whey protein scoop.
On the other hand, the micronutrient content is just like an additional one in any other supplement in the market, as the gainers are bought for their calorie content, not their micronutrient content.
When we talk about the macros in a gainer, the protein is generally either from whey, or a blend of various other protein sources like casein, egg, soy, and other plant proteins, which actually doesn’t make any difference, as it has been cleared in various research studies that though whey is best among the rest of the protein sources when it comes to supplementation, but the difference is very minimal and hardly even noticeable when compared with other protein supplements, including plant protein supplements. I have made the biggest series of videos on whey, casein and soy and proven this point there very clearly. What matters is the overall quality and quantity of protein you take in a day from whole foods and supplements, not how much protein you get in scoop or two. The body stores ample amino acids, and the source doesn’t matter anymore.
So when you want to buy a supplement, a good protein, may be a whey or plant protein is the best investment you can make. You are paying for pure proteins, not for cheap carbohydrate fillers. That’s the reason, mass gainers, despite of having more calories and quantity, are cheaper than pure protein supplements.
But, now comes the second most important ingredient of a mass gainer, i.e. carbohydrates. Now, I want to ask the uneducated literates in this country, that most of the dumb dieticians and other self-proclaimed fitness coaches and influencers, often on one hand condemn that Indian diet is not good, because of its high carbohydrate content (which is entirely a false statement), and on the other hand, they recommend tons of shitty mass gainers to people, which are filled with the cheapest sources of carbohydrates like maltodextrin, wheat, rice, corn, oats etc.
This simply means that if someone tells you to have more carbohydrate through whole foods, then they are stupid, but if someone tells you to eat a more refined form of same carbs through a supplement then they are intellectuals? No, they are actually idiots and in almost all cases, supplement salesmen making profit out of selling you lies.
Also, the biggest problem with these supplements is that you can easily overdo them, as they are recommended to be taken in large quantities. This will severely effect your gut health (that’s why you fart the entire day on these gainers), both in short and long term. The second most important point is that, you will never be satiated as satiation level is liquid diets is quite low as compared to the solid meals.
Most people consuming these gainers, end simply with extra fat rather than lean muscles. You cannot gain muscle mass that fast, it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get good quality muscle mass. If you have gained 5-10kg quickly by consuming these gainers, then that’s probably water and fat.
Even with someone having extremely fast metabolism, they can easily get ample calories from whole foods. The only supplement they should invest in is a good quality protein supplement, not a gainer. They can make thick shakes with the protein supplements with foods like whole milk, nuts, bananas, nut butters etc. to get extra calories from healthy sources, instead of cheap fillers as used in a gainer. What would be better, consuming amazing whole grain paranthas with added ghee and butter to increase your calorie intake, or drink a cheap maltodextrin filled drink? Any person saying paranthas is not healthy and instead recommends you a gainer is probably lacking basic education to start with, forget about knowledge and wisdom.
You can get excellent quality calories from so many whole foods in Indian diets than from a powdered supplement made of cheap fillers.
Akshay Chopra is a renowned fitness professional, a speaker , a writer and the owner of Indias research based platform, Werstupid. He has been transforming lives, and has addressed many a people with motivational words. Known as the Encyclopaedia of Fitness Industry, his knowledge is unparalleled.
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