Will your protein shake make you gain weight?

Gaining or losing weight always ultimately boils down to one thing: how many calories you’re consuming vs. how many calories you’re burning. If you’re in a caloric surplus, you’ll gain weight. If you’re in a deficit, you’ll lose it. No powder will miraculously turn you into a bodybuilder, nor will it suddenly strip you of all the fat you want to lose! Your weight loss or weight gain journey is not fully dependent on your protein intake, even if protein does have an impact on it. However, protein powders can help you with both gaining or losing weight depending on how you consume your protein, and there are different things you can do to your shake to help you achieve either goal. 

Protein powder for weight gain

Protein is an essential part of any weight gain or weight loss strategy. It’s key for building muscle, as your body uses branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as fuel for muscle protein synthesis (the process of building muscle). Complete sources like a protein powder can help provide these essential amino acids for help with weight gain. 

How you use your protein powder and which type you choose will dictate whether you gain, lose or maintain weight. If you want to gain weight, you might choose an option like our PERFORM protein powder(with added BCAAs), which has a higher calorie and carbohydrate content. However, if you want to pile on the pounds, you also might want to add your own ingredients to make a high-calorie shake to sip on as a snack throughout the day. Try mixing your protein powder with ingredients like a plant-based milk, banana, avocado or oats to create a high calorie blend. 

However, it’s also worth noting that protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it helps you feel fuller for longer. If you’re drinking too many protein shakes, you might find yourself feeling much fuller than usual, making it difficult to reach your daily calorie goals. The typical recommendation for weight gain is to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight so, although it is an important part of gaining weight, it’s not worth going above and beyond your recommended daily protein intake if it comes at the cost of your calories.

If you’re new to protein powder, you might also find that your high protein intake can cause bloating, cramping, flatulence, nausea or digestive issues, especially if you’re consuming whey protein and are sensitive to dairy. You’re at a much lower risk of suffering from these digestive issues if you opt for an allergen-free plant-based blend, like our protein powders, which are made from plants like pea, rice and hemp. You can learn more about the potential side effects of protein powders in this guide.

Avoiding weight gain with protein shakes

Protein is also essential for losing weight. A higher protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and increases levels of satiety, meaning hunger levels are reduced. That helps cut the probability of late night snacking and increases the time between meals. 

So, for those of you who definitely don’t want your protein powder to make you gain weight, you should opt for a lower calorie and lower carb option like our VEGAN PROTEIN powder. If you’re consuming your shake as a snack or between meals, your calories should be kept as low as possible, meaning it’s better to drink it without any added (high calorie) ingredients - water is your protein powder’s best friend. That way, you can get your hit of the most satiating macronutrient without compromising on calories.

You could also utilise your protein shake as a meal replacement when you’re trying to lose weight. A well-timed shake can help you stay full throughout the day, and can also provide you with the vitamins and minerals you might be missing out on because of the calories you’ve cut. A nutritional shake like WHOLE can provide you with 20 grams of protein, essential fats, 22 vitamins and minerals and Omegas 3, 6 and 9, all in just 150 calories. You can then add some other ingredients to your nutritional base, like berries, greens and seeds, to create a personalised, delicious low-calorie meal. 

However, don’t go all out with the protein shakes if you’re trying to lose weight. While you might be trying to up your intake, if you have too many servings of protein powder a day, your overall calorie intake can also increase. We’ve gone into more detail about protein powders and weight loss here

Overall, these types of powders won’t make you either gain or lose weight on their own. If you do want to gain weight, you can use protein shakes to help you up your calories by adding more ingredients and pairing your shake with a weight training programme. If you don’t want your protein powder to make you gain weight, you simply have to ensure that it’s not adding any unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Remember, weight loss and weight gain is all about calories, and protein powders are simply a tool to help you stay on track with any weight goal you may have.