In terms of fitness and health, it is possible to be quite confused regarding your diet, especially owing to the myriad of opinions you get to hear from fitness enthusiasts both at the gym and on the internet.
So if you’ve been considering starting supplements to your diet to accompany your gym workouts or simply because you want to take a step forward in terms of staying healthy, then this is a concise guide for you that will help you figure out whether you should consume whey protein or mass gainers.
While both have their advantages and disadvantages, it is advised to choose anyone between mass gainer or whey protein that you think will complement your fitness lifestyle and habits in the best possible way. Additionally, you will get to know the difference between mass gainer and whey protein so you can figure out which one is best for you.
What Is A Whey Protein Supplement?
The source of whey protein is usually attributed to it being a byproduct when milk and cheese are processed. During milk processing, straining, and curdling, whey is obtained – which then goes on to be processed even further and ends up as the whey protein that we know of and consume.
Due to it essentially being a byproduct of milk, whey protein is extremely easy to digest and can be released into your bloodstream equally efficiently. While containing the fewest amount of carbs and fat and the highest amount of protein, whey protein is currently the most popular protein source.
Types of Whey Protein Supplements
|Directly from the processed whey
|Directly from the processed whey
|By hydrolysis of whey isolate
|When to take
|Both pre-and-post workout
|More than 90%
1. Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Concentrate, or WPC, typically refers to protein concentration in a particular whey protein supplement. The highest percentage of protein concentrate in WPC can be around 89 percent, while the rest constitutes fats and minerals. It largely differs between various WPCs as to the protein concentrate amount in each of them.
2. Whey Protein Isolate
This is the type of whey protein supplement with no fat or carbs in it and is thus perhaps the purest protein form. It is largely composed of protein – and the protein percentage in whey protein isolate can be somewhere around 90 percent.
3. Whey Protein Hydrolysate
This is the type of whey protein supplement that is easiest to digest, owing to its quality of having undergone the process of hydrolysis. Hydrolysis, quite simply, is responsible for breaking down protein chains, essentially making them faster and easier to digest.
Who Should Use A Whey Protein Supplement?
Since whey protein is often considered the purest form of supplementing protein in your body, it suits both experienced bodybuilders or even individuals who have only recently started to go to the gym. Since it can help in the synthesis of proteins inside your body, it can drastically improve satiety levels, meaning that you can keep your appetite at bay for longer with whey protein supplements.
Hence, it follows that whey protein supplements can prove to be excellent for initial weight loss since it works on lean muscle growth and can increase satiety levels upon consumption. It can also improve your stamina, increase your endurance, and generally make your muscles more resistant to fatigue.
For regular gym-goers, whey protein supplements are often combined with exercises such as weight lifting to ensure muscle growth. Hence, it is great for experienced bodybuilders and even individuals who just want to increase their protein intake in their diet.
When To Take Whey Protein?
The duration of when it is best to consume whey protein is extremely versatile. Owing to this fact, you can consume whey protein at most times during the day – whether it be between your meals during the day, after you’re done with your workout sessions, or even days when you’re not training.
Multi-phase whey protein, especially, can help in repairing your muscles and tissues after your workout sessions while also working on lean muscle so you can aim for greater muscle growth. When it comes to individuals who are just trying to get healthier, whey protein is excellent incorporation that they can consider during the times mentioned above.
It proves to be even more crucial for bodybuilders since whey protein is excellent in building muscle and repairing tissues on non-workout days before inevitably hitting the gym the next day to resume muscle-building exercises.
What Is A Mass Gainer?
As the name suggests, this supplement is often used by individuals who want to get that extra muscle mass to accompany the building of lean protein in their system. For this purpose, they’re also referred to as weight gainers.
They have quite a high amount of fats and carbs as constituents, and most of the carbohydrates are formed from the combination of maltose and glucose.
The ratio of carbohydrates to proteins in mass gainers can range from 3:1 or 2:1, with the higher proportion being that of carbohydrates and the lower is that of protein.
Hence, mass gainers supply calories to the individual and can be consumed through shakes – which, per serving, can be around 1200 calories.
Who Should Use A Mass Gainer?
As is obvious, mass gainers are usually used by individuals who struggle to take in the appropriate amount of necessary calories that would help them build muscle, or even otherwise. Since the primary constituent of mass gainers is carbohydrates, it is best to recommend them to those who cannot consume the basic requirement of carbohydrates and fats.
In fact, the age groups most suited to consume mass gainers are male teenagers and men who are currently in their early twenties – since these age groups struggle to retain muscle mass, mostly owing to quick metabolism and various other factors.
When To Take Mass Gainer
Since mass gainers are typically consumed by individuals who want to increase their muscle mass, it is simple to infer when they should consume mass gainers during the day. Mass gainers can be consumed in the form of shakes – and it is usually recommended to consume them right after workout sessions and around an hour before workout sessions.
Consuming mass gainers before the workout session ensures better performance at the gym and supplies energy, particularly if you’re planning a difficult workout session, especially in weight training and other physically taxing exercises.
After the workout, mass gainers act in restoring glycogen levels in the body and work on restoring exerted muscles. Essentially, mass gainers are especially helpful for those struggling to gain weight or those who are, during the off-season, bulking up. They do this with the help of the replete carbohydrates and fats that mass gainers are popular for.
Mass Gainer Vs Whey Protein | How Do They Compare?
1. Calories Per Serving
As far as whey protein is concerned, it is not high on calories at all. With around 120 – 150 calories in a single serving of whey protein, depending on the type and brand, it is considered a great alternative for those looking to lose weight and consume as few carbs and fats as possible.
On the other hand, since mass gainers specialize in bulking and weight gain, its calories are almost ten times that of whey protein. The calorie count in mass gainers can be up to 1200 or even more in a single serving.
2. Macronutrient Profile
As we have seen already with the calorie count in both mass gainer vs whey protein, their macronutrient composition largely depends on the different ingredients they are infused with. Whey protein is infamous for having a high amount of protein – containing around 25 grams of protein; it is also low in carbs and fats – with the content being 2 – 5 grams and 2 – 4 grams, respectively.
On the other hand, mass gainers contain higher carbs and fats – up to 10 grams of fat, 100 grams of carbs, and around 50 grams of protein. Hence, the macronutrient profile of mass gainers is more fulfilling than that of whey protein – since the latter is consumed exclusively for its protein content.
Whey protein famously tastes extremely chalky and bland – as most protein powders. Luckily, it can be found in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and others. However, when getting flavored whey protein powder, it is important to check its ingredients to ensure against any additives such as sugar.
Likewise, mass gainers can also taste pretty bad and even somewhat chemical. So if the taste is a defining factor in choosing your mass gainer, then it is best to go for one that is flavored or even attempt to add it to milk or oats to drown out the taste a bit.
As opposed to many plant-based sources of protein, whey protein can be considered to be more creamy and smooth with regards to the texture. This means that you can simply add it to your shake without any further blending and not be put off by any gritty texture that it may possess.
Similarly, the texture of mass gainers can be somewhat more pleasant as compared to other powders. It can make for a fairly thick shake and can thus be incorporated into either protein shakes or milk in order to be consumed.
5. Cost Per Serving
If cost is a defining factor in choosing between mass gainers vs whey protein powders, then you should definitely keep in mind the difference in the cost per serving of mass gainers vs whey protein powders.
The former can be priced anywhere between INR 50 to 70, while whey protein powders can be priced between less than INR 80 to 100 per serving. It should be mentioned that the price difference largely depends on the brands and types – it is said that whey protein hydrolysates and isolates can be significantly more expensive than whey protein concentrate.
Verdict | Should You Use Mass Gainer Or Whey Protein?
The answer to whether you should choose a mass gainer or whey protein for yourself is extremely tricky because all individuals have different needs and goals in terms of the consumption of supplements.
However, it can be said that if your goal is building towards greater consumption of proteins that can help repair and build muscles while staying healthy and reducing your appetite to allow for healthy weight gain, then whey protein is the one for you.
However, if you’re someone who struggles with gaining weight and bulking up and thinks that weight gain is possibly your first target, then you should look into consuming mass gainers. However, keep in mind that both of these macronutrient profiles should be kept in mind since it is best to choose between any one mass gainer or whey protein that will suit your bodily needs.
Lastly, do not forget that these supplements should not be consumed together because both of these supplements perform completely different functions for your body.