T Nation

Are Gainers a Waste of Money and Health?


#1

So I read few days ago that gainers are waste of money because for lower price you can get whey protein and buy some oats or other carb and get the same effect, plus high sugar content in gainers is bad for pancreas and potentially harmful.
Is it true? Or gainers are good investment?


#2

Who did you read that from? What were their credentials? If they are worth listening to, listen to them.


#3

I’ve avoided them due to the high sugar content and corn syrup in them.

I would think protein powder, oats, and dextrose would be good…if I were mixing my own.

Maybe even find a way to get some Greek yogurt into the shake for the probiotic additive…


#4

Oats aren’t a bad idea. You can blend them into a flour, add your whey, and you’re good to go.

I’d rather eat my food than get it from a gainer.

I think milk, oats, peanut butter, and whey might be a healthier approach just because there are more real food products.

I consume plenty of whey but I still think it’s good to limit your man made foods.


#5

I can only give my opinion on if they’re bad for your health, but they’re definitely a waste of money for most people. It’s nice to be able to have 1500 calories (or whatever it is) from one shake, but it doesn’t seem like a sustainable option financially.

This is $35 for 8 servings. That’s about $4.37 per serving which seems a little crazy to me when you could get 50g+ of protein from 2 scoops of protein powder for less than $2. But just by glancing at it, it looks like it has a good amount of micronutrients and not an excessive amount of sugar, so health-wise I don’t think every mass gainer is necessarily unhealthy.

Bottom line (like a lot of things in life) is that it comes down to how much money you have. If I had a job where I made $35/hr, I would probably buy a mass gainer if my goal was to gain weight. But I don’t, so in my opinion, it’s a waste of money. Not to mention it’s probably easier on your body in some way to eat healthy whole foods.


#6

It is a good investment at least for me. Weight gainers are not much more expensive than whey protein and I have insanely fast metabolism. So, it is very convenient when I am busy and need more calories in. I can’t cook and prepare all my food; getting 3500+ calories in consistently everyday with all whole food is pretty hard for me because I am 4th year engineering student; I barely have time to shower.

As long as the rest of your diet are healthy, there shouldn’t be problems. If you can consume enough calories with whole food, then don’t buy weight gainers.


#7

If you have the cash to blow on gainers and need for more calories go for it. Otherwise it’s definitely not worth the money. Should be alright healthwise unless you do some dumb shit like consuming gainers exclusively or excessively.


#8

Poor Investment

Yes, Weight Gainers are a poor investment. There is nothing magical about them.

Weight gainers are traditional loaded with high glycemic carbohydrates such a Dextrose or Maltodextrin, which spike insulin. More of a workload is place on the pancreas, since it secretes insulin.

That increase in insulin isn’t usually a problem for younger individual, for Insulin Sensitivity individuals or for a short period of time for health individuals.

The Downside of Insulin

Insulin provide an anabolic effect. However, it produce a …

“Global Anabolic Effect”.

That means that it is instrumental in increasing muscle mass. However, at the same time it increases body fat.

As Jay Robb (Nutritionist) has stated…

“Insulin is a Fat Maker…”

Constantly consuming a high carbohydrate diet, especially one that contains a lot of high glycemic index foods, produce a lot of heath issues: Diabetes, Cardiovascular Problems, Inflammation, etc.

The Cost Issue of Weight Gainers

You can make your Weight Gainer for a lot less with real food.

The Formula For Gaining Weight

Dr John Ivy (Exercise Physiologist) and Dr Layne Norton (PhD Nutritionist/Natural Pro Bodybuilder/Powerlifter) independently noted that the key to gaining muscle mass while minimizing body fat is obtain by moderately increasing your daily caloric intake.

Ivy and Norton found that increasing your daily caloric intake by approximately
20% ensured a greater increase in muscle mass with a minimal increase in body fat.

2500 kcal Daily Intake /Example

If you are consuming 2,500 kcal per day, that would mean you’d increase your calories approximately 500 kcals per day.

Thus, you daily caloric intake would be 3,000 kcals per day.

Food Selection

  1. Fibrous Carbohydrates: These are the best carbohydrates. They have a low glycemic index and the fiber slows down the absorption time. That means less insulin is released.

However, the downside of Fibrous Carbohydrates is they are low in calories, which make it difficult for you to increase daily calories to gain weight.

An effective method that allows you to increase you daily caloric intake is…

  1. Increasing Your Fat Intake

a) Fats are calorie dense. They have 9 calorie per gram vs carbohydrates 4 calories per gram.

b) Saturated Fat are necessary for hormonal (Testosterone) production. Saturated Fats are not the evil villain they have been portroyed to be.

Thus, adding butter to your vegetables allows you to increase your caloric intake.

Consuming fatty meat ensure an increase in your daily caloric intake.

  1. Adding Olive and/or Avocado, Coconut Oil to your food increase your daily caloric intake.

  2. Consuming high fat Dairy increases you daily caloric intake: Eggs, Whole Milk, Cheese, Butter, etc.

Lowering Your Carbohydrate

  1. Decreases insulin levels.

When insulin levels are elevated it block the fat burning process.

When insulin levels are lower, it allows body fat to be used for energy.

“…Glucagon is a Fat Taker”. (Jay Robb)

One of the counter hormones to insulin is glucagon.

When insulin levels are low, glucagon levels are elevated; glucagon converts body fat to energy, burns body fat.

The See Saw Effect

Think of insulin on one side of a See Saw and glucagon on the opposite.

When Insulin goes UP, Glucagon goes Down.

When Insulin goes DOWN, Glucagon goes UP.

Summary

  1. 20% Caloric Intake Increse: This ensure you maximize muscle gain and minimize fat gain.

  2. High Carbohydrate/High Glycemic Carbohydrates: They increase insulin production, increasing body fat and muscle mass.

  3. Increasing Calories with Fats: Fat do not affect insulin release. Fat are vital for hormonal (Testosterone) production, especially Saturated Fats.

Fats are caloric dense, which makes it easier to increase you daily calorie intake. They also add flavor to your food.

Kenny Croxdale