Weight Gainers: Overview
"Weight gainers" are specialized supplements formulated to help users increase their bodyweight by providing extra protein and carbohydrate calories in a convenient shake format. Weight gainers are most often used by younger athletes who are more likely to have difficulty putting on weight than older users. Many older adults and seniors, however, are regular users of weight gainer powders since they have a much higher nutritional value than plain protein powders but are no more difficult to use or consume than a protein shake.
Protein shakes provide mainly protein, but very little else nutritionally. Weight gainers are essentially beefed-up protein powders; they provide protein, plus significant amounts of carbohydrates and fat, and very often vitamins and minerals in modest potencies. Weight gainers usually have a blend of protein sources as their base ingredient, often a combination of whey and casein dairy protein, with egg protein and certain amino acids added by some manufacturers. To the protein blend, the other ingredients are added in amounts, combinations and flavors that vary from brand to brand.
There are a few things worth keeping in mind when considering a weight-gainer. First, a weight gainer product can't influence whether any resultant weight gain is due to muscle and lean body mass or an increase body fat; that is determined by exercise habits and overall nutritional intake. But weight gainers generally provide protein, fats and carbohydrates in a ratio that supports an increase in muscle and lean body mass when used by those engaged in a program of strength training.
Keep in mind is that while the suggested serving size of some weight gainers is very large, users can use smaller serving sizes as they see fit. Another important factor to consider is the importance of basic nutrition. Weight gainers will yield the best results when used by those with a solid and complete nutritional foundation. That means a healthy balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, a good multivitamin, omega-3 fatty acid supplement in addition to the weight gainer product. Finally, users should know that difficulty gaining weight can be a sign of a serious medical problem. A doctor can help you determine if an underlying medical problem is contributing to any difficulty gaining weight.