While exposing most of the useless supplements, I often question people the meaning of the word “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?
Please understand these names or terms mean nothing from the perspective of science & research. The names are primarily from the point of view of marketing, and nothing else. They don’t mean anything, nor does anyone regulates them.
Not that a fat burner doesn’t work for burning fat, or a pre workout isn’t to be taken before workout; but a lot of supplements with the same purpose & name, are proven to be quite useless. For e.g. there are ingredients which help in boosting metabolism and burning fat, but over 80% of the other ingredients in these supplements, are proven to be useless for fat burn.
The list is long, and I have been exposing them for some time now. CLA, Garcinia, raspberry ketones, L-Carnitine, chromium, glutamine, green coffee bean, apple cider vinegar, and many more such supplements have been repeatedly exposed by multiple researched evidences, but are being openly sold in the market with false claims.
But 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 really needs a mass gainer, 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 misinformation we believed in back in times, while reading muscle magazines, is still prevalent, despite of so much information and knowledge.
Just like people are obsessed with weight loss, people are also looking 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 moderate protein and very high carb sources, and limited fat content.
The calories are generally in the range of 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 2-3 times the size of a standard 30gm whey protein scoop.
On the other hand, the micronutrients in added in the gainer are of no value, as the gainers are bought for their calorie content, not their micronutrient content. A good multivitamin/mineral formula would be anytime better for getting your micros.
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. 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.
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. I want to ask people, that on one hand, a large number of fitness coaches and influencers, 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 wrong, but if someone tells you to eat a more refined form of same carbs through a supplement then they are intellectuals?
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.
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.
Want to try a healthy high calorie shake, made at home with use of high quality whey and natural foods? Try the 1000 calorie shake I have made a video on.