Nearly every high school stick figure has dragged at least one sceptical parent into a local Dischem to buy a wash basin sized tub of dreams from the next big thing in "supplement technology". 99.9999% of these people never get anywhere. Why? Well firstly the sheer fact that the individual in question feels that all his training woes end at the bottom of a tub of powder tell me that he has absolutely no understanding of what is actually required to make any sustainable progress in the gym. Secondly, mass gainers are in general an incredibly poor and unnecessary source of nutrition. Especially for those who have not yet learned how to eat in an effective and sustainable manner. Here's why.
1. The "ah I'll just have a shake" factor
I see this a lot. Guys get their shiny new tub of powder and suddenly quality whole food goes out the window because of the unsubstantiated claims made by the snake oil salesman of the global supplement industry. Even when implemented properly weight gainers are supposed to be in addition to your whole food consumption. Shakes are not meant to replace food and anyone who argues to the contrary is lazy and uninformed. Herbalife cunts included.
2. Terrible digestabilibty
Unless you're one of the blessed few with a lower intestine made of the sandals of Hercules himself then the majority of weight gainers are going to run through you like the ANC through state coffers. 1000 plus kilocalories per serving, 300g plus serving sizes, poor quality protein, little to no fibre, fillers, colours, flavours and upwards of 300g of maltodextrin are all recipes for a distraught digestive system. You're going to be bloated, uncomfortable and worst of all - you aren't going to be able to eat your whole food meals. What's the point of adding a 1000kcal shake to your daily intake when it stops you from eating the equivalent amount of food?
3. They're raw sugar
You'll see a lot weight gainers claiming to be sugar free. Horse shit. I can bet my bottom dollar you'll turn that cement bag around and see one of the first ingredients is maltodextrin. Maltodextrin according to the FDA is not technically sugar as it meets the minimum requirement of glucose bonds necessary to be classified as a complex carbohydrate. Yet these bonds are so high energy that they are broken down at a rate similar to which pure glucose is broken down. Giving glucose a GI of 100 and maltodextrin a GI of 98. Now, I'm not against sugar in sensible quantities as part of a macronutrient controlled eating plan but It's safe to say that a) 300g in a sitting is slightly overboard considering that most men will be eating somewhere in the realm of 300-450g carbs when trying to put on weight and b) if I'm going to use valuable carbohydrate macros on sugar I'm going to eat sweets or cereal or something I actually enjoyed instead of some overpriced cookies 'n shite flavoured sludge.
If you are struggling to gain weight then eat more food. Work out your current calorie intake, ensure you are getting 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight and add 200-300kcal each time you cease to gain weight. Simple. Save your money and buy eggs, peanut butter, milk, greek yogurt, oats, rice, potatoes, meat, bananas and other calorie dense and wholesome foods. Learn how to cook and put together wholesome and nutrient dense meals that you actually enjoy eating. Keep the supplement industry at arms length and stop seeking quick fixes for your shortcomings.