Does Whey Protein Make You Gain Weight?

Does Whey Protein Make You Gain Weight?

9 min read


04 Aug 2023

Grab your cheatsheet

  1. What is whey protein powder and what does it do?
  2. Is whey protein good for weight gain?
  3. How should you use a whey protein supplement?
  4. Whey protein vs mass gainer: What’s the best choice for me?
  5. Can I take whey protein supplements if I am trying to maintain a healthy weight?

Weight management is a primary factor when it comes to muscle building so it’s a good idea to know if the supplements you’re taking are likely to cause weight gain or weight loss. 

Protein powder has its fair share of health benefits. If you’re going to use it alongside a training schedule, you should make sure there are no adverse effects which might cause your plan to head in the wrong direction.

Here we’ll explain what whey protein supplements are and how they can affect your weight when used regularly.

What is whey protein powder and what does it do?

Whey protein powder is a workout supplement derived from milk. Millions of people worldwide use it to help them build muscle. 

Whey protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids required to ignite muscle protein synthesis. It helps our bodies recover after exercise and gives us the fuel we need to power through workouts and build muscle mass.

There are several different types of protein supplements, including plant protein powders, pea protein powders, and casein protein powders. 

All of them are great for supporting regular workouts, and weaving whey protein into your training regime will have numerous health benefits. 

Your main source of protein should come from eating a healthy diet including protein-rich foods. But whey protein powder is a convenient way to consume additional protein, which you will need if you are physically active, and it can help you to make those extra gains.

Read: Your ultimate guide to sports nutrition

The key benefits of whey protein

Adding whey protein to your diet can have a surprisingly positive effect on your health and wellbeing. 

Adding some extra pure protein through supplementation can be highly beneficial to your health. 

Some of the key benefits include…

  • Additional muscle growth: Whey protein promotes muscle growth and prevents age-related muscle loss when combined with resistance training. It’s rich in the amino acids which aid muscle growth and repair.
  • Weight management: Whey protein can help with weight management as it’s low in calories and helps satiety by promoting feelings of fullness without adding excess pounds. Does whey protein make you gain weight? Yes, if it’s added to a calorie-surplus diet, but it’s also good for controlling your weight by making you feel full to help avoid overeating.
  • Improved Blood Pressure: The peptides contained in whey protein can help lower blood pressure, especially in those with higher levels.
  • Diabetes Management: Whey protein is great for moderating blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
  • Reduced Inflammation: This can help to control issues such as heart disease and arthritis.
  • Cholesterol Reduction: There’s evidence to suggest that whey protein can reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of strokes.
  • Wound Healing: The amino acids contained in protein don’t just repair muscles. They can help to repair skin and tissue tears, too.  

There’s no denying that whey protein has a hugely beneficial effect on your health, so let’s look at it from a weight management angle.

Read: Clear Whey vs Whey Protein: What’s the difference?

Is whey protein good for weight gain?

Man drinking protein shake to gain weight

Whey protein is possibly one of the best ways to help you manage your weight. Although protein is relatively low in calories, it will help you to gain weight through muscle mass, rather than fat.  

The amount of weight you gain will depend on your calorie surplus. This means you can use protein powder to provide your body with additional calories on top of a calorie-surplus diet if you want to put on weight and add some serious muscle mass.

How a calorie surplus diet works

A calorie surplus diet means that you need to add excess high-calorie foods to increase your calorie intake. 

If you’re striving for a bulky, muscular physique, you’ll need to gain weight first, before slimming down to a leaner, more sculpted look. 

The foods you should include in your diet during your weight gain must include carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. 

It’s also essential that you eat a healthy, balanced diet as this will give you a high percentage of vital vitamins and minerals to help support your physical efforts.

So, can I use whey protein to help me gain weight?

Whey protein can help you gain weight, alongside a healthy calorie-surplus diet. You can add it to an existing diet plan that is already high in calories to make it a convenient and healthy way to get some extra calories into your body without eating more food and support your muscle-building journey at the same time. 

Can whey protein powder aid weight loss?

Just as protein power can help with weight gain, it can also help with weight loss too. Whey protein can also make you feel fuller for longer. 

By continuing to take whey protein and reducing your calorie intake through other foods, you can lose weight and continue to support muscle growth. This is important during the “cutting” period of a bulk when you want to lose fat but still maintain your muscle mass.

Taking whey protein while you’re on a weight loss journey is especially important as it will help to keep you physically and mentally strong during the process. 

Simply going into a calorie deficit without the added support of whey protein can leave you feeling tired, hungry and moody, which can also impact your cognitive health.  

Is there a limit to how much whey protein I should take?

There is a limit to how much protein the body can absorb in a single meal. But if you take it regularly throughout the day—especially when you’re working out—you can increase your protein intake and support muscle growth at the same time.

Muscle protein synthesis can take around 20 to 25 grams of protein in one go. But any additional protein on top of that will also be used to good effect—and boost your energy in a big way. 

Consuming this amount of whey protein all at once will result in a high proportion of that protein being absorbed and utilised. 

There’s no official “upper limit” when it comes to protein intake. But, you should aim for an intake of 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight around four times per day. 

To support healthy muscle growth, half of this protein intake should come from your daily meals and the other half from pure whey protein. The best way is to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.

man putting protein powder into a shaker bottle

How should you use a whey protein supplement?

Getting the most out of whey protein means knowing how to use it properly. If you’re going to invest in a protein supplement, it’s important to know how to use it best to maximise the numerous benefits.  

Let’s take a closer look at the best hacks to get the most from your protein supplement.

Timing is important

If you’re using whey protein as part of your training plans, it’s a good idea to spread your protein intake throughout the day. 

This means there will always be a decent supply of amino acids to support your journey through energy and recovery.  Your main protein source should be whole foods consumed during your main meals—so it’s a good idea to spread out your supplements evenly.

Taking a protein shake with your breakfast is a good idea to ensure you’ve got a decent amount of protein in your system to kick off the day the right way. Taking one after a workout will help to repair muscle tears and promote muscle growth. If you’re using whey protein for weight management, a protein shake can work as a meal replacement, too. 

Determine your daily protein needs

Generally, athletes and active individuals should aim for around 1.5g of protein per kg of body weight per day. 

If you’re working out regularly, it’s important to have a decent amount of protein in your system at all times—so it’s important to get the numbers right.  

Remember: Make sure you combine your whey protein supplement with other healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbs.

Variety is important

How you take your whey protein is up to you, but it’s important to keep it interesting and there are a number of ways in which you can incorporate it into your diet. 

You can add whey protein to shakes, smoothies, pancakes, and even your breakfast cereal.

Mix it correctly

If you want to gain weight, it’s a good idea to add some extra calories to the mix and use milk for the mixture. If you’re wanting to cut down the calories, mix the whey protein with water. 

Choose a quality whey protein

A decent quality whey protein is essential if you want to support your body’s physical efforts.  Here’s what you should be looking for…

  • At least 24g protein per serving
  • No added sugars
  • Protein source
  • A good nutritional profile
  • High quality and purity
  • Good flavour and texture
  • A good value price 
  • Allergens 
  • Solid user reviews 

Read: What to look for when buying a whey protein powder

Crazy Nutrition’s Tri-Protein contains four proteins for maximum protein synthesis. This means three times the gains. Epic.

By using whey protein strategically as part of an overall healthy diet and exercise routine, you can effectively support your fitness and weight management goals.

If you want to bulk up, the best workout supplement to encourage weight gain seriously is Mass Gainer. 

Crazy Nutrition’s Mass Gainer has been carefully designed to give you everything you need to bulk up, build muscle mass, and increase your strength. It’s great for hard gainers and anyone who struggles to put on weight.

muscular man

Whey protein vs mass gainer: What’s the best choice for me?

Which whey protein you choose will very much depend on your personal goals. 

Whey protein helps with muscle growth and repair, weight management, and muscle support. It also gives you an added energy boost and comes with a treasure trove of other body-boosting benefits.

A mass gainer will do the same as whey protein, but because it contains excess calories, it will also help you to gain weight which you can then trim down to bulk muscle. 

Mass gainers are a great shortcut for those who have difficulty in gaining weight. Most mass gainers will provide you with convenient extra calories and a balanced ratio of macronutrients, including high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats in a convenient shake form. 

This is far more convenient than trying to consume those extra calories by eating bucket loads of extra whole foods.

Can I take whey protein supplements if I am trying to maintain a healthy weight?

Short answer—yes! Whey protein powder is a great addition to a diet or weight maintenance plan. It makes you feel full, reduces cravings—and doesn’t drastically increase your calorie consumption.

Does Whey Protein Make You Gain Weight? Only if you take it with a high-calorie diet. Taking it as part of a healthy, balanced diet is a great way to keep your weight on track.

If you exercise regularly, it will also give you the fuel you need to train harder and give your muscles plenty of nutrition. 

A high-protein diet is vital if you want to create a lean physique, and whey protein will support you in your journey and move you towards your goals more quickly. You’ve got this.

Read Crazy Nutrition’s resources for upping your workout game. Our insider guides are packed with essential information to take you to the next level.