Health and nutrition is a very subjective matter. For some, leaning down is a dreaded task while others may have a hard time putting on weight (check complete blueprint to gaining weight as a vegan). It’s all about how you want to see yourself.
Your body adapts to the foods you choose to eat and the exercises you incorporate in your daily routine. ‘Hardgainers’ might not necessarily agree with me on this, however. For them, it’s often more like “I’m eating everything in sight, I eat till I feel like puking even, but I just can’t seem to add on weight.” Well, as surprising as it may sound to some, this is indeed true for a good number of people.
If you happen to be a hardgainer and have been looking for a way to fix your skinny stature, you must have stumbled across the terms ‘calories’ and ‘macros’. Calories are essentially a measure of energy you get from the food you eat. Your body composition heavily depends on the amount of calories you end up eating over a set period of time.
Essentially, if you aren’t putting on any weight, you aren’t eating enough calories to support your desired growth; period. And weight gainers were made to solve this exact problem.
A vegan mass gainer is nothing but a balanced blend of easily ingestible concentrated calories. Say if for some reason, you just aren’t able to eat past your maintenance calories, adding a serving of a vegan weight gainer shake to your existing diet will easily ‘slingshot’ your daily caloric intake past your TDEE and put you in a caloric surplus that is essential for any form of weight gain (bear with me, for now*). While it might sound enticing and really convenient at first, it’s easy to get carried away and end up putting on a lot of fluff.
If you’re looking to put on healthy weight with help of a vegan weight gainer, I’d recommend you first learn the basics of caloric manipulation to influence your body composition. *My detailed guide to tailoring your own vegan bodybuilding meal plan should be a good starting point.
What is a Weight Gainer?
A weight gainer is a supplement that provides you with a balanced blend of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. It is a high-calorie protein powder that increases your daily calorie intake. It may even be viewed as an independent meal that you can drink at your own convenience despite not having the appetite or time to get in a meal.
A weight gainer / mass gainer supplement is best suited to ectomorphs that have a skinny body structure and find it hard to eat enough to put on any significant amount of weight. We have put together a dedicated guide for plant based ectomorphs that are finding it hard to gain muscle.
What Do Vegan Mass Gainers do?
A mass gainer can be labelled ‘vegan’ when all the nutrients it contains are sourced from plants. A vegan mass gainer, just like its standard counterpart, helps you amp up your caloric intake, thereby putting you in a caloric surplus. Depending on the brand, a single scoop of a vegan mass gainer taken in water can lend you 700 – 1200 calories.
If consumed consistently while following a structured weightlifting program, a vegan mass gainer may help in putting on muscles in stubborn “hardgainers”.
While you may see convincing results with just adding a mass gainer to your plant-based diet; you might want to have every edge that you can possibly squeeze in once you actually start seeing results. The ones that are science-backed and have proven their worth time and time after, are BCAA supplements and creatine.
While BCAAs ensure compensating for the lack of muscle-building amino acids in a typical vegan diet; creatine helps in faster recovery. Both, vegan BCAAs and vegan creatine supplements are worthy tools in any plant-based athlete’s arsenal.
Are Supplements Really Necessary?
No. Everybody works differently and has different needs. You’ll find people that are able to maintain a healthy body weight and gain muscles or lose fat without any using any supplement whatsoever. But, they are all always willing to compensate for it through their natural diet.
The math is really simple. Say if you need to eat 3000 calories to be in a 500 calorie surplus and you find it convenient to eat all your calories with a balanced macro profile from whole foods, there’s absolutely no need to even think of supplements.
But if your work restricts you to eat those many meals throughout the day or you simply don’t happen to have the appetite, fetching a little hand from a supplement is no big deal.
Best Vegan Mass Gainers (Dairy Free)
It’s a terrible task to push yourself to eat more in order to achieve that calorie intake goal. It would be a whole lot easier to down a drink vegan weight gain shake rather than to chew extra food. And, mass gainer supplement works wonders for people who face much more difficulties to gain muscle. So, here’s the list of Best Vegan Mass Gainers to help you choose which one would be the best for you.
Naked nutrition’s natural vegan weight gainer is as natural, organic and pure as it gets. Comprised of merely three ingredients, a serving of this mass gainer can lend you as much as 1230 Calories. That’s a whopping 50% of an average 2500 kcal diet.
As for the macronutrients per serving, you ingest 50 grams of plant-based protein, 248 grams of complex carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 10.3 grams of BCAAs.
A supplement like this can be a boon for ectomorph vegans that have a hard time adding mass to their frames.
Further, vegans with a limited appetite or ones with a busy schedule that can only fit in a couple of meals in their day time can immensely benefit from a gainer shake made out of this powdered mix.
Coming to the constituents of this vegan-friendly gainer, it contains zero artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors like (Red 40 or E631). The only ingredients used in making this plant-based mass gainer are pea protein powder, organic rice protein powder and organic maltodextrin (a gluten-free carbohydrate-rich constituent made from organic tapioca).
This naturally means that the gainer is GMO free, Gluten free, Soy free and Dairy free. Such a composition could be deemed suitable for the majority of vegans with or without allergies to certain plant-derived additives.
- Each serving is fortified with 10.3 grams of BCAAs
- Complex carbohydrates are gluten-free and come from organic tapioca
- No wheat-based carbohydrates
- GMO free, Gluten free, Soy free and Dairy free composition
- Corresponding to the recommended serving size of 4 scoops, one box only lasts for 11 servings
With a much leaner carbohydrate to protein ratio, the IronVegan Plant-based weight gainer a suitable choice for mesomorphs that are trying to bulk up a little while not gaining unnecessary body fat.
A serving of this mass gainer measures 2 scoops equating to 190 grams and gives you 720 calories in one go. For the macronutrients, you’ll get 120 gms of carbohydrates, 42 gms of protein and 8 gms of fat.
The protein blend in the gainer constitutes of fermented pea protein and organic sprouted brown rice protein.
Further, a long list of plant based ingredients make it a rich source of essential micronutrients as well. For context, the mix includes fruit concentrates, organic greens, organic sea vegetables, sprouted whole grains among others. However, despite being so rich in the ingredient profile, the gainer still retains its stance at being non-GMO.
IronVegan’s plant based mass gainer comes in two flavors – chocolate and vanilla. Although the chocolate flavor seems to be more peoples’ favorite, you certainly have the choice here as per your preferences.
- Convenient 720 calories per serving
- Leaner carbohydrate to protein ratio
- Non GMO, gluten free, soy free and dairy free composition
- Goes really well as smoothies or post workout thick shakes
- Rich in micronutrients like iron, calcium and potassium
- Some users have complained about the taste not being very likeable
While the biggest concern with plant-based protein powders is that they may interfere with bowel movement, that is not a cause for concern with the GNC PurEdge weight gainer that has various plant-based enzymes that can help exponentially in the way of digestion.
Not only this – it fulfills all of your essential protein needs since it includes all the essential amino acids. The ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is also minimal, making you gain faster without subjecting you to unnecessary carbs consumption.
Regular consumers of the GNC PurEdge weight gainer have stated this protein powder to be miraculous in terms of digestion and loaded with clean ingredients such as Zucchini powder and enzymes from pineapple and papaya.
With the amount of protein in four scoops being 70 g and the carbohydrates being 50 g, the nutritional value checks out for vegans trying to gain weight. The only downsides to this product remain the fact that the quantity is not enough in terms of four scoops making one serving – as well as the taste, which leaves much to be desired and is a largely sludgy consistency.
- Each serving has 570kcal, 50g of protein, also 8g of BCAA’s.
- Contains enzymes to enhance performance
- Gluten-free product
- Has a great taste
- Price is higher than the amount you get
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, ‘just what is it that differentiates a mass gainer from a protein powder’, you must’ve narrowed it down to the caloric content of both.
Essentially, vegan mass gainers are nothing but a thoughtful blend of vegan proteins, carbs and fats making them a convenient source of some extra calories on days when you’re short. However , there’s no reason why you can’t make your own vegan mass gainer shake with a vegan protein powder of your choice.
That way, the carbs in your gainer shake are certainly not processed and you know what exactly goes in to your high-calorie shake.
This promix vegan protein powder is a smart option if you think you could work a couple of ingredients alongside a protein powder in your blender. The powder being fortified with 200% DV of B12, you have a yet another reason for it to be a part of your vegan diet. (The average vegan diet is deficient in B12).
Free of artificial sweeteners and overwhelming flavors, the Promix Vegan Protein Powder is a humble mix of just three ingredients – organic canadian peas, organic sprouted brown rice and non-GMO vitamin B12.
The recommended serving size is 2 scoops which equates to 29 grams of the product. A serving of the vegan protein blend gives you 25 grams of protein and negligible carbs and fats on it own. This also includes 5.3 grams of BCAAs. Meaning, you’ve the room to add and adjust other ingredients in your shakes and smoothies as per your likings, allergies or calorie intake goals.
The blend has a very smooth texture and hence goes really well with any kind of smoothies or post workout shakes with ease. The product is tested and approved by an independent third party implying that the brand conforms to high industry standards. The mix is naturally non-GMO, Gluten free, soy free and dairy free.
- Made in the USA
- A serving gives you 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 5.3 grams of BCAAs
- Fortified with non-GMO 200% DV of vitamin B12
- Made from three simple and organic ingredients
- Does not include any artificial flavors or sweeteners
- Not as convenient as blending a vegan gainer powder straight out of the jar
Yet another weight gainer on the list that concerns itself greatly with digestive ease is Vegun Nutrition’s VeganMass. Right off the bat, this weight gainer contains all essential amino acids while having a multifaceted profile in terms of their protein content.
It is a great option for people who want to bulk up by building their lean muscle, as opposed to their body fat. With VeganMass sourcing its protein content from pea protein, quinoa, and sacha inchi protein, it does not lack in terms of having a complete amino acid profile.
In terms of two scoops for a single serving – for every 30 g of protein, you get a parallel 30 g of carbohydrates – yet again making this a great option for lean muscle builders. With zero cholesterol and minimal fat as well, you can get your value for money in terms of taste and consistency.
Unlike many protein powders that don’t taste the best, VeganMass promises you great flavor along with nutrition with their two variants of Chocolate Fudge Cake and Vanilla Cream Cake.
- Low-calorie content makes it perfect for people with a slow metabolism
- Provides 25 servings
- Has a nice flavor
- Might not suit people who need to have a high-calorie intake
How to Choose a Vegan Mass Gainer
Since everybody works differently, you have to know that all the vegan mass gainers available in the market won’t work the same for you. Some can take a long time to practically get your body into that surplus, or some will work faster than you think! However, there lie some vital things which you have to keep in mind before buying any vegan mass gainer.
While a large part of the vegan lifestyle may include reading the labels on consumable products in order to know its constituents to make an informed decision about the same, it applies especially to the purchase of vegan protein powders – and more so in terms of weight gainers.
Once you read the labels and get to know the ingredients in your prospective weight gainers, you can avoid those which have substances you might be allergic to or which can be potentially harmful. And since nutritional information is especially important for vegans and has to be fully informative in terms of all its constituent macro and micronutrients, the observation of ingredients in plant-based weight gainers is a must.
The taste of protein powders is often a dealbreaker for most people – and for good reason, too. Protein powders can often be off-putting in terms of taste – whether too chalky or too sweet, people cannot get used to the taste in many cases.
This can be avoided by experimenting with different vegan weight gainers and trying out their flavor variants to figure out which one tastes the best to you – especially since you’re going to be consuming it quite frequently.
Some brands have made quite the name for themselves in terms of the vegan weight gainer niche. It is pertinent to choose a brand that is not only popular but has been trustworthy and transparent about its ingredients to its consumers. While there may be a fewer number of vegan weight gainers in the market currently, it is still important to choose a renowned brand.
4. Calorie Content
While this factor depends mostly on your own body metabolism and body type, it is still important to get a vegan weight gainer that is high in terms of calorie content.
In terms of gaining weight, your intake of calories should be much higher than how many you’re burning – which is why, if you have a fast metabolism, then you should consider getting weight gainers with more than 500 calories per serving. Likewise, if you tend to gain weight quickly owing to slow metabolism, then your calorie count should be slightly lower.
While you should always look for quality over quantity in terms of your vegan weight gainer, you cannot neglect the pricing of your prospective protein powder.
It is important to do your research in terms of the cost per serving – and while balancing the quantity of the protein powder along with its price, you can find the perfect middle ground where you don’t have to compromise on your expenses or the quality.
When Should You Take the Weight Gainer?
Many fitness trainers suggest that mass gainer shakes taken after a workout is highly beneficial to provide your body with the energy it needs to repair the muscles.
According to them, it works to relieve the tension and fatigue you get from an intense workout routine. Also, you are more likely to feel less tired the next day. However, you should definitely follow the instructions written on the products.
Side Effects of Weight Gainers
One should be aware of all the potential side effects of a mass gainer before making an investment. Generally, most of them have mild side effects. Your body can react to a specific ingredient and grow some allergic reactions. As the mass gainers contain a high level of calorie, your body can gain excessive fat.
It depends mostly on your body type and metabolism. But if you don’t do the appropriate workouts, your body would not be able to cut the fat content and eventually you will get unwanted fats. Some people suffer from low metabolism that causes quick fat gain. Also, you can suffer from gas and bloating occasionally. The extreme amount of protein can contribute to liver damage.
Vegan weight gainers are specially made to help you maintain a healthy weight or to build up your size and muscle. There are a ton of options to choose from. But, they can do harm instead of good if taken without researching all the above-mentioned factors.
And you can’t ignore the instructions at any cost which indicate how much portion to consume and when to consume. Plus, you have to go through a fixed workout routine in order to burn the extra calories you’re taking through a mass gainer. So, keep all these factors in mind and pick one that will not only supply your body with calories but will also give you essential nutrients.