Answer: Mass gainers are more suitable for skinny persons and hard gainers, while whey protein shakes are useful for those who want to lose fat mass besides building muscles or are diabetes or hypertension patients.
This article will cover the every differences between mass gainer and whey protein to help you find the right supplement to gain a muscular shape.
Since both products have similar ingredients, how is their efficacy different?
You can find the answer to this question in the subsequent headings.
So, keep reading till the end. But first things first…
Table of Contents
Is Mass Gainer the Same as Whey Protein?
No, whey protein is a mixture of proteins found in curd whey, while mass gainers are formulations containing a mix of carbs, proteins, some fats, and a small number of minerals as well.
As the name shows, mass gainers are formulated to help you gain mass!
That is why if you take a mass gainer shake, you will ingest a good amount of all macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids.
In contrast, whey protein gets its name from its origin as it is extracted from whey- a liquid filtrate produced as a by-product during cheese production.
Adding whey protein powder to your shakes would provide you with a bulk of protein content, but it would not overload the calorie intake.
Up next is a detailed comparison of their constitution and benefits;
Mass Gainer vs. Whey Protein – Key Differences
The main difference between these two growth supplements is their constitution and the types of macronutrients they provide.
Whey protein is majorly a source of protein and only contributes a small amount of other macro or micronutrients like fats, carbs, or minerals.
It contains many complex protein molecules like alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, immunoglobins, and bovine serum albumin. However, different products on the market have different types and concentrations of protein compounds.
And the more types it has, the more efficient a supplement is. So, you should check the ingredient list before buying a protein product.
On the other side, you get a comprehensive mixture of nutrients from mass gainers as their formulas are themed to increase calorie intake in addition to protein enhancement.
Hence, these products contain a large amount of protein, but many grams of carbohydrates and good fats are also present in each serving.
These macronutrients provide instant energy and cause a faster increase in weight gain.
Now the question is: who should take whey protein and who should go for mass gainers and why?
In the following section, we have covered the answer to this query with science-backed reasons;
Mass Gainer vs. Whey Protein – Benefits & Use Cases
Mass Bainer Benefits
1. Replenishes energy levels
When you drink a mass gainer shake right after the workout, it provides nutrients to your muscles to strengthen and expand and supplies a burst of carbs for instant energy.
As a result, you won’t feel much tired after a hard training session, and your motivation for the next workout session remains intact.
2. Mass gainer aids in bulking
As the name indicates, mass gainers are used for increasing body mass and get into a “Hulk” look with bulging muscles and an aggressive figure.
The credit for this goes to the all-rounder composition of these supplements as they contain all macronutrients, and most have a topping of micronutrients and minerals as well.
Mass gainers provide healthy calories through carbs and vital fatty acids. In this way, these supplements prevent you from taking in empty calories (that do more harm than good) to reach your daily calorie threshold.
These healthy calories build the calorie surplus needed to increase your body mass.
Plus, these shakes contain a major proportion of protein content that supplies all the raw material your muscles need to grow up and heal injuries.
3. Helps with poor appetite or fast metabolism
In particular, mass gainers are useful for those individuals who want to develop their bodies and bulk up but find it difficult to reach the required calorie intake.
Now, for some people, the reason may be a lack of time and energy to calculate and prepare meals with enough calories. However, many others have naturally poor appetites and feel full after a few bites.
Though surprising for others, eating larger meals is actually a difficult task for these “super-satisfied” people.
Also, some people take larger meals even yet find it difficult to gain mass. These are ectomorphs (also called hard gainers).
They have a fast metabolism, and their bodies quickly consume calories. That is why these people struggle more to develop muscles and need tons of calories to overflow their metabolic machinery.
In both these cases, mass gainers can help as they provide a burst of calories and nutrients within a single glass of tasty milkshake.
4. Includes whey benefits
A plus point of mass gainers is that most of these provide the benefits of whey proteins and protein powders.
As mass gainer formulae include a good amount of proteins (including whey protein complex), you automatically get the various benefits of whey powder through your gainer meals.
5. Save time and energy
Last but not least, mass gainers are a real advantage in a busy schedule when you have no time to cook meals and calculate calories in them.
Mostly, one gainer shake has 500-plus calories, so it is enough to replace one meal. Just swirl in a scoop or two in milk, and your healthy, nutritious, power-pack meal is ready!
Who should take Mass gainers?
Mass gainers are best suited for skinny persons with naturally lower appetites and hard gainers who face trouble gaining weight due to high metabolic rates. Hence, thin people who want to gain weight, especially beginner bodybuilders, can benefit from these shakes.
These supplements are also sometimes prescribed for people with disease-induced malnutrition.
Whey Protein Benefits
Though whey protein misses on some things you get from mass gainers, like an energy boost, the benefits it does offer are athletically worthwhile and help you reach your fitness goals faster.
It is an effective protein complex, and according to the U.S Dairy Export council reference manual, it has the highest biological value among all other protein sources.
From experience and research, we can say whey protein supplementation provides the following benefits;
1. Boosts muscle growth
Lean muscle growth is the key advantage you get from whey protein as it is a protein-loaded product. And this is what makes it so popular among athletes and gym-goers!
As it contains various structural proteins and growth promoters, it boosts muscle fibers’ growth and also speeds up recovery after injuries.
2. Helps you lose weight
Also, if you want to lose some fats and get into a lean body shape, whey protein can help you with this fitness goal because it acts as a natural appetite suppressant.
Resultantly, its constituents make you feel full earlier, preventing excessive calorie intake.
And the best part is this satiety remains for a long time, and you don’t feel hungry any sooner. The reason is the reduction in ghrelin (hunger hormone) secretion after consuming the supplement.
NIH also confirms the weight loss effect of whey protein as an increase in fat loss was observed in obese subjects. Also, the noteworthy point was that whey protein spared the lean mass and only burnt down unwanted fats.
3. Reduces chronic inflammation
Though unfit for people lacking milk digesting enzymes, whey is effective in curing acute gut problems in others.
The whey contains prebiotics which remains preserved during the extraction of protein powder. These microbes mingle with gut microbiota and help them maintain healthy bowel movements.
Plus, a pharmacological study held in Japan concluded that milk whey culture is effective for the therapy of inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.
Similar effects were reported by the NIZO food research department, Netherlands. This research found whey protein’s potential to reduce clinical symptoms of colitis like diarrhea, fecal blood loss, and gut inflammation.
4. Improves immunity system
Whey protein also positively influences the immune system of the body. Firstly, it supplies immunoglobins, the antibodies that fight germs and keep them from causing diseases.
And secondly, it increases glutathione (GSH) levels in the body (glutathione is an antioxidant that safeguards body tissues from oxidative damage caused by irritant molecules that either get in or are produced inside the body).
A study by McGill University Health Center, Quebec, shows that whey protein supplementation in healthy men and women for two weeks increases the lymphocyte glutathione levels by 24%.
5. Lowers blood pressure
A property that gives whey protein an edge over pre-workout supplements is its ability to improve blood pressure, particularly in hypertensive individuals.
In contrast, many other performance supplements do the opposite.
A controlled trial held by Washington State University confirms that whey protein beverages significantly lower systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure in hypertension patients.
6. Reduces Cholesterol levels
Whey protein also reduces the probability of cardiovascular problems as it lowers blood cholesterol levels.
The lipid composition of seventy overweight people was evaluated in a 12-week study which shows that both LDL and overall cholesterol levels are lowered by regular whey intake.
7. Improves diabetes management
Also, whey protein supplements suit diabetic athletes as they don’t have to worry about glycemic spikes after taking their performance-boosting shake.
Plus, a marked reduction in after-meal glycemia is also noticed in type-2 diabetics who took a whey protein shake before the meal.
Who should take whey protein?
- Whey protein is ideal for people who want to lose fats but keep their lean mass intact. With its appetite suppressive effects, your body will be forced to consume fats when you are not taking too many calories. Plus, the protein overload would provide muscles with all the amino acids needed to develop and heal after strenuous workout sessions.
- Diabetes patients who are willing to grow larger muscles and get bulkier as whey protein supplements do not boost glucose levels. Instead, insulin receptivity and production are known to improve through whey supplements.
- Athletes and bodybuilders who already have a healthy, muscular body shape want to use supplements to maintain their performance. Whey protein would provide them with amino acids to compensate for protein degradation and muscle injuries but would not increase the fat mass in their bodies.
Mass Gainer vs. Whey Protein – Safety & Side effects
Mass gainer side effects
1. Fat gain
The major side effect of mass gainers is that these shakes can also increase fat deposition in the body and muscular growth.
Muscular growth is a relatively slow process. And if the calorie surplus goes beyond a limit, the additional carbs and fatty acids would get stored in adipose tissues as lipid droplets.
This weight is certainly unhealthy and would make you chubby rather than muscular.
2. High Glucose level
Mass gainers have many carbohydrates in each serving, so using even smaller amounts may lead to sudden glycemic spikes.
This condition can be alarming for diabetic persons as their bodies have less capacity to deal with sudden glucose irregularities.
3. Gut unrest
Mass gainers can also upset the gut, usually due to high protein content. As proteins are digested slowly and stay in the digestive canal for a longer time, you may feel bloated.
Sometimes, this feeling originates instantly as you ingest many macronutrients within a few sips. Plus, slow protein digestion may also result in abdominal cramps.
In addition, supplements with allergens like gluten-containing carbs or milk components like whey protein pose the risk of food allergy to some people.
That is why we recommend checking the ingredient list before purchasing to make sure that the product is fit for you or not.
Who should avoid Mass gainers?
- Persons who want to lose weight should avoid mass gainers because the increased calories and surplus carbs would likely go against their fitness goals.
- Also, diabetic patients shouldn’t go for mass gainers as they contain a good amount of carbs. And their glucose levels would burst if they consumed so many fast-absorbing carbs in one meal.
Whey Protein Side effects
1. Gut unrest
Whey protein powders can disturb your gut if you have lactase deficiency or are allergic to milk proteins.
Dairy-sensitive people feel stomach aches and cramps if they consume whey shakes. This is because they lack the enzyme to digest milk sugar or proteins and undigested molecules are too large to get absorbed into blood vessels.
2. Milk allergy
Like milk sugar, some people are hypersensitive to milk proteins, especially from cow’s milk.
And the research puts the blame on 20 protein compounds found in the milk that provoke allergic reactions in sensitive people. However, among these allergens, only β-lactoglobulins are present in whey.
The chances of such allergic reactions are reduced if the manufacturer uses heat treatment during protein powder production. Similarly, it is easily treated with enzymatic cures.
Another side effect that whey protein users complain of is acne. Many people have experienced a skin outbreak after they started taking whey proteins.
Similarly, more lesions may appear, and acne may worsen in people who already face this skin issue.
A study conducted in gyms and dermatological clinics reported that two months of usage of whey protein induced exacerbation and onset of acneiform lesions.
The effect was more common in females and affected people with no acne history as well.
Who should avoid whey protein?
After using dairy products, people who feel abdominal pain or cramps should avoid whey because they contain milk sugar and allergen proteins.
However, you can use whey protein without any gut unrest by opting for Tri-protein, which also supplies an enzymatic blend to help you digest all components easily.
Whey Protein vs Mass Gainer – Pricing
Mass Gainer Cost
Most mass gainers come in the price range of $95-$125 per kg. And a 1000g bag is usually enough for 7-10 servings. Thus, it will last for a week or so.
Whey Protein Cost
Whey protein powders are comparatively cheaper and cost about $30- $60 per kg. The serving size is also smaller, so one bottle usually lasts about a month.
Hence, you should always choose fitness supplements thoughtfully as they can cost you a fortune, and there is no point in wasting your hard-earned money on something that doesn’t work.
Due to this reason, I love and always recommend Crazy Nutrition products, as they offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. So, you can return the supplement if unsatisfied with the results and get your money back to the vault.
What a deal, right?
Finally, here are our top favorite mass gainer and whey protein products that offer you a safer and healthy weight gain;
Best Mass Gainer & Whey Protein
Crazy Nutrition’s Mass Gainer
This has to be the best mass gainer I have found in the market for skinny people and hard gainers.
Let me explain why:
Crazy Nutrition’s mass gainer comes with multiple benefits, which make it better than other options on the market.
Firstly, it does not contain any filler and provides no empty calories. Thus, the probability of fat gain is minimized.
Plus, it offers 51 grams of protein within each shake, so you get all the protein you need for a day with just one meal. Most of this protein consists of whey protein; hence, you get two-fold benefits.
It is a gluten-free product; hence, you do not need to fear rashes and inflammation if you are sensitive to gluten compounds.
Similarly, this supplement also offers a solution for food allergies as its formula includes Digizyme- a blend of enzymes to help with the effortless digestion of all ingredients.
Its price starts from $34.99, and you also get discounts upon bulk shopping. Plus, you can enjoy free shipping on all orders above $50.
Crazy Nutrition’s Tri-Protein
If you are looking for the right supplement to help you gain muscles and lose fats simultaneously, I recommend you go for Crazy Nutrition Tri-protein.
This supplement comprises six protein complexes, including all three types of whey protein.
The best thing about its composition is that these protein blends differ and become available to the body at different times.
Hence, your body has a constant supply of amino acids that last a short before you take in your next protein shake.
Like other Crazy Nutrition products, this bodybuilding supplement also has Digizyme containing lactase, amylase, protease, cellulase, and lipase to ensure complete digestion and absorption of all effective ingredients.
The presence of lactase enzymes eliminates the risk of cramps due to milk intolerance.
It is available from the official webpage in three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel). For a one-time purchase, it is priced at $49, but with a subscription, you can get one bottle of 33 servings for just $39.99.
Also read: Mass Gainer vs Creatine
Should I take mass gainer and whey protein together?
No, it is unnecessary to take mass gainer and whey protein together.
Surplus protein supply does not seem to provide any good after a certain limit because your body has its limits to utilizing nutrients you ingest.
If you are using a mass gainer, you will get enough protein from it. Now, if you supply protein from whey powder that is more than your body’s requirement, it would likely be wasted or converted into fats.
Which is best for skinny guys – mass gainer or whey protein?
A mass gainer is a better supplement for skinny guys, especially those who are skinny because they are hard gainers.
As skinny people have to consume more calories than their body requirements, carb-rich products like mass gainers are more helpful compared to whey powders which offer more amino acids and only a minimal amount of calories.
Mass gainers and whey protein are both used to increase weight and get muscular, but their composition sets them apart in terms of efficacy.
Mass gainers are useful for ectomorphs, aka the people who find it hard to gain weight due to fast metabolism.
With enormous calories, energy-boosting carbs, and loads of protein content, these shakes ensure the calorie and nutrient surplus in your body, eventually leading to increased body mass.
Conversely, whey protein shakes are suitable for those who do not need to increase their calorie intake but want higher protein consumption to build muscle mass.
This supplement is also suitable for persons with type-2 diabetes or hypertension.
I hope this article helps you find the right product for yourself.