Weight Loss Diet 4 MIN READ 473 VIEWS August 6, 2021

Understanding The Nutritional Differences Between Whey Protein And Mass Gainers

Written By Jyoti Jaswal

mass gainers

Whey protein is a supplement that is typically extracted from milk by separating it into two layers of milk solids and a whey filled transparent liquid. This process separates the fatty content of the milk from the actual protein-filled substance. The milky white liquid is then processed into a fine powder by dehydrating it. 

Depending on the concentration of the protein present in this mixture, whey protein is available in 3 primary forms – whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey protein blend. 

A mass gainer is typically consumed by aspiring bodybuilders and gym-goers as a way to put on some healthy body weight and support their prolonged physical exertion. It is very dense in nutrients and contains a lot of calories which can help you put on weight. 

Mass gainers usually have a ratio of protein to carbs as 3:1, which means that you get about 40 grams of carbohydrates for every 20 grams of protein that you consume. Most of the calories that you absorb from these gainers come in the form of glucose and maltose. 

There are several essential components that set apart the whey protein from mass gainers, starting right from the ingredients. For example, mass gainers have a lot of added ingredients such as protein blends and carbohydrates as a way to increase their nutritional values. 

Best whey protein supplements on the other hand are just isolated forms of protein from various sources. However, there may be a few exceptions wherein protein is incorporated with more sources such as milk isolates, casein blends, etc. 

Let us understand the key differences between whey protein supplements and mass gainers and what impact they can have on your body:

Who Should Consume What : Mass Gainer or Whey Protein

Whey protein supplements

Whey protein has been used for quite some years by several bodybuilders as a way to support their muscles and help them get through a lot of physical exertion. They are beneficial in increasing the strength and endurance of the body. 

Whey protein supplements are also a universally essential form of food group, which means that it can also be used as a nutritional supplement for normal people and does not necessarily have to be consumed only by bodybuilders. 

Mass gainer supplements have more of a primary focus to help your body put on some weight. It consists of calories that provide you with the required energy to engage in some physical activity but do not really have a significant effect on boosting the effectiveness of your muscles. While a single serving of protein can get you up to 150 calories, mass gainers usually offer up to ten times the number of calories in a single-serve.

Fitness Goals and Nutritional Supplements

benefits of mass gainers
  • Bodybuilding: When it comes to actual bodybuilding, all mass gainers are going to do is provide you with a very brief surge of energy that will go down within a few minutes and potentially leave you with an insulin spike due to the number of sugars present in it. Whereas one of the benefits of whey protein is that it can actually help target your muscles and reduce lactic acid build-up while boosting its healing process. This is why bodybuilders in specific are recommended to opt for whey protein rather than mass gainers. Don’t go overboard with the consumption as the side effects of whey protein can disrupt your kidneys as well. 
  • Athletic/Lean Physique: If you are someone who is working towards fitness for strictly aesthetic purposes and does not want to indulge in heavy lifting as such, it is best that you stay away from the mass gainers. They can cause a lot of changes to your body and can potentially disrupt your entire fitness journey by randomly increasing your body fat. You can opt for whey protein instead and cut down on your carbs and fats intake to get a leaner and meaner appearance. 
  • Improve Sports Performance: Athletes, in general, need to be at the top of their fitness levels at all times to keep up with the increased physical exertion levels that they go through on a day to day basis. Consuming the best mass gainers can disrupt their body’s metabolic activity and even potentially their performance in the field since they make a lot of changes to the body. It is always recommended that sportspersons consume a lot of protein as it can help with practical situations such as increasing stamina and endurance, automatically leading to better performance on the field. 
  • Weight Gain/Bulk: If you are someone who is simply looking to put on some weight, then the one benefit of mass gainers is definitely going to come in handy for you. It is important to consume only healthy sources of food and avoid consuming too many processed items since they can have a bad effect on your health, even if they help you put on a lot of weight. Make sure not to go too overboard with the mass gainers though, as the side effects of mass gainers can potentially damage your kidney and liver due to all the nutrients present inside them.

Given below is a table that represents the nutritional information of a typical mass gainer supplements and a whey protein substance: 

ComponentGeneric Whey ProteinGeneric Mass Gainer
Energy (kcal)125200
Protein26g5g
Carbs1.3g25g
Added Sugar0g3g
Fats2g2g
CholesterolNegligible12mg
Glutamine4.3g1.3g
Percent Whey Isolate80%Zero
Disclosure of all IngredientsYesNo
ThickenersNoYes

It is easily discernible from this information that when it comes to overall health and maintenance, it is always a good idea to opt for whey protein powder supplements over mass gainer supplements since they have a better source of nutrients and do not tend to disrupt your bodily processes. Unless and until you have the very specific purpose of exclusively gaining weight, do stay away from mass gainers.

Irrespective of whether you end up choosing whey protein or mass gainer, always make sure to follow a healthy and balanced diet plan in combination with a rigid exercise schedule that can help you stay at your peak fitness levels at all times.

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