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Weight Gainer Supplements – Effectiveness Versus Real Food

Weight Gainer supplements are a popular supplement for those that have a hard time putting on weight. Whether it be for a specific sport, building muscle, you name it – these supplements are for those that aren’t too worried about macro nutrient makeup, but simply want a large amount of calories. This concept isn’t a bad idea for those that struggle to gain weight due to a fast metabolism or a weak appetite (both of which I’m jealous of!) due to the basic necessity for the body to have more calories than it burns in order to gain weight. By having a caloric surplus, there is a higher chance of putting on lean muscle mass with a good weight training regimen.

Weight gainer supplements are usually loaded with carbohydrates, with a decent amount of fat and a good amount of protein as well. There are, however, many misconceptions about weight gainers and many fail to realize many crucial details regarding the supplement facts.

For one, many people are quick to turn the tub of weight gainer around and look at the calories, without paying much detail to the serving size. While it may say 850 calories, you may be missing right above it where it says that you need 4 heaping scoops in order to reach this amount. Open up the tub and you might also see that the scoop provided is enormous.

For example, let’s take a look at GNC’s “Beyond Raw Re-Built Mass” 6 lb weight gainer supplement.
This weight gainer comes in a 6 lb. size and contains 850 calories per serving, with 3 level scoops being the serving size. Although this is a good amount of calories for one serving, there are only 11 of these servings in the entire 6 lb container, meaning this entire product contains a total of 9,350 calories. This product is listed at $84.99 online, with a $67.99 member price. Granted this is one of the more expensive weight gainer supplements to use as an example, it gets the point across.

Now, also consider that with these three scoops that are required to reach these 850 calories, you’ll also need a good amount of water in order to be able to chug it all down. When you mix 850 calories of weight gainer with water, what do you have? A disgustingly full stomach. Not exactly the most logical route for somebody that has a weak appetite, is it? On top of that, I’ve tried a few weight gainers and for the most part, was not too impressed by the taste.

Let’s compare this weight gainer to what I call a weight gainer, which is a large pepperoni ranch-flavored pizza from Hungry Howies. For about five bucks, we have 2,520 calories. To match the total calories of 9,350 that comes in the previously mentioned weight gainer product, we will have to order four large pepperoni pizza’s, which will give us a total of 10,080 calories, provided the Hungry Howies nutritional facts are correct. So, for about 20 dollars, we’ve matched the total calories of the weight gainer product with almost the same macro nutrient makeup (carbohydrates – protein – fats), and we have a delicious pizza to ENJOY. I don’t know about you, but 4 large pizza’s will disappear much faster than a 6 lb tub of weight gainer in my house.

This brings us back to the main factor that determines whether or not you gain weight: a caloric SURPLUS. Since someone purchasing a weight gainer would already be at the point where they would accept a less favorable macro nutrient makeup, why not save some money and go with some real food?

This isn’t to say that your diet should be pure crap. 

BUT, if you’re struggling to gain weight and the factor that is hindering you is an overall need for more calories, you may find these substitutions more cost effective.

Other Factors

Like many other supplements, weight gainers commonly come with other ingredients that may influence weight gain such as creatines, branched chain amino acids, and various other “goodies”. While I personally would prefer to find an alternative that better meets my calorie-per-dollar requirements, this article isn’t intended to steer you away from weight gainers. If you’re one of the few that can destroy a large pizza AND chug a serving of a weight gainer (and can afford it), and require this in order to surpass your caloric needs, then by all means do so! Also, if you choose to steer clear from weight gainers and try to find other cheaper, calorie-dense foods that have a favorable macronutrient makeup that fits your needs, don’t feel like it has to be PIZZA.

More High Calorie Foods To Consider

Peanut Butter – Peanut Butter is an extremely easy way to get in calories FAST. Most of the calories come from fat, and because a gram of fat has more than twice the calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate, this means you can eat less mass and get more calories. You can find 40 oz jars of peanut butter online that retail for about five dollars, providing 6,650 calories in an entire jar. I personally have no problem destroying half a jar of peanut butter in one sitting with a spoon, especially if it’s sweet.

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