Mass gainer supplements are great for bulking up – but is taking mass gainer safe? Can it make you sick?
Today we’re looking at the safety of Mass Gainers and if they’re a risk to your health. We’ll look at what’s in it, how it affects your health, and how you can reduce any risks and keep yourself safe while you gain muscle.
What is Mass Gainer – And What’s In It?
Mass gainers are a combination of protein and carbs powders – and some of them add extra dietary fats, vitamins, and minerals. The whole point is to make it easier to increase your calorie intake to gain weight and build muscle mass.
The liquid format makes mass gainers easier to drink than a normal meal would be to eat. It’s also more convenient for storage, transport, and long-term investments since it has a shelf-life of at least 2 years.
Mass gainers are popular with skinny guys trying to gain weight, busy people trying to hit their macronutrient goals, and athletes who need lots of carbs and protein immediately after workouts.
This is important: Mass gainer is best as a post-workout supplement for muscle recovery and growth. The combined benefits of carbs and protein together are perfect for this role.
Is Taking Mass Gainer Safe?
Yes – taking mass gainer is safe and most mass gainer supplements are healthy when used in the right amounts.
There is no real risk with most mass gainer supplements if they’re used as a part of a balanced diet and in proper doses. The only problems people encounter are excessive use or an improper diet alongside mass gainer.
It’s definitely easy to crutch your diet on a mass gainer and miss out on important nutrients.
Mass gainer supplements are typically lower in vitamins and minerals than real food, which can lead to deficiency if you’re not vigilant.
This is especially true in super mass gainers which are very high in calories and may take up 50% of your daily needs in a shake that provides few micronutrients.
Mass gainer should be treated like food, but with a few more precautions.
Ultimately, it’s just a liquid form of food and has a macronutrient profile that might look similar to something like chicken and rice. In this sense, it’s very safe and should be fit into your diet in the same kind of way – looking to match your carbohydrate and protein needs.
However, it does have fast absorbing carbs and many supplements will use low quality carbs that are basically just sugar.
Mass Gainer Quality
This is why mass gainer carb quality is one of the most important things to look out for. Starchy carbs and mixed sources can help offset some of the risks of enormous simple carb intake – like insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and pre-diabetes risks (1).
The important thing is to moderate your intake of mass gainer to make sure it fits your needs.
If you’re using 1-2 shakes a day with a poor diet, you put yourself at risk of pre-diabetes and metabolic problems due to the rapid absorption of low-quality carbs. If you use 1 shake and have a good diet, you’ll simply get bigger and stronger.
Higher quality mass gainer supplements are safer and healthier than their counterparts. Equally, leaner mass gainers – those with fewer calories but more protein – are even healthier than their super mass gainer counterparts.
High quality mass gainers will use a combination of carb sources and starchier carbs, with fewer sugars, to improve your long-term energy.
This also reduces your risk of metabolic damage even lower. For example, Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass uses oat, pea, and potato carbs to get a better starch profile. Look for this kind of plant-based carb blend.
The lower carb content and higher protein content of lean mass gainers does much the same.
Higher protein means more muscle gain, and lower risk of fat gain, while the higher protein to carb ratio makes it actively useful for your metabolism – maintaining a regular energy availability and boosting consistent muscle growth.
Can Mass Gainer Make You Sick?
There’s no reason that a normal, healthy person should get sick from using a normal, healthy amount of mass gainer. Some of the very large servings – like the 1350 calories in a Dymatize super mass gainer – might be too much for your digestive system.
This is normal, but you can just decrease the number of scoops you use and reduce the digestive burden.
There are no ingredients that should make you sick.
Mass gainers are typically quite simple and do not involve volatile substances. You may get sick due to personal, individual intolerances – e.g. if you’re lactose intolerant or have a severe FODMAP sensitivity – but they’re not likely to get the average person sick.
Equally, mass gainers have a relatively long shelf life that ensures they’re not going to go off very quickly. The average mass gainer has 2+ years on its shelf life at the time of sale (by law, in many countries) and should last well through that period of use.
If you have any major concerns about mass gainer – or your mass gainer is making you sick – then you should stop using it and contact a doctor.
Mass gainers are considered generally safe for human consumption (the standard given to most safe supplements and foods) and shouldn’t be treated as if they’re evil and dangerous. They may be unnecessary or over the top, but not unsafe.
Conclusion: Our Final Thoughts
Mass Gainers are safe and they shouldn’t make you sick.
There’s always the possibility for an adverse reaction to any foodstuff, and mass gainers are no different. They should be slightly less safe than a well-regulated food (like meats and rice), but shouldn’t cause any problems for healthy people.
Treat mass gainer as a food and not some form of exotic muscle-building powdered magic.
It’s a simple and uninteresting group of nutrients that can help skinny guys build muscle, help athletes recover, and provides a simple nutritional solution to busy days, poor access to a kitchen, or a poor appetite.
Mass gainers are just dehydrated food that turns into a thick shake.
Take them in the right doses with a balanced diet and you’re not going to get sick or risk any form of serious drawback. If you have any adverse response, stop use immediately and talk to a doctor.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.