Healthy weight gain is more complicated than it sounds. It’s easy enough to gain a few pounds with a sugar-filled diet, but healthy weight gain provides a much better yet more challenging alternative. Perhaps you have a very high metabolism, but you need to bulk up for your upcoming athletic season. You may be recovering from an illness or injury and need to put weight back on. For others, it’s a struggle to eat enough to reach and maintain a healthy weight. You may wonder, does protein make you gain weight? To gain weight healthily, focus on protein. The question is, where is that protein going to come from to ensure it’s the most nutrient-rich resource for your body’s needs? Read below in this definitive guide to protein and weight gain.
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Importance of Protein When Working Out
Protein is a building-block nutrient for muscle growth. It also enables tissue repair throughout the body. Your body can use this versatile macro-nutrient for just about anything, including for energy. During a workout, your body needs a balance of nutrients to fuel cell function. The right combination of nutrients includes vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.
After working out, your body’s muscles have been pulled, stretched, and torn. Protein works to repair and develop those muscles, and, therefore is a necessary after-workout nutrient.1
Can Protein Help You Gain More Weight?
Protein for weight gain makes sense. Unlike eating a diet that’s rich in carbohydrates, the use of protein encourages the building of muscle. It’s not healthy to gain weight by adding fat to your body—that taxes the heart and slows down your metabolism.
Consider the body mass index (BMI) calculations. Generally, this is based on body size overall. A person with a high BMI is typically considered unhealthy because of the amount of stored fat on the body. That stored fat can cause high blood pressure and heart disease. However, the typical BMI chart isn’t accurate for athletes. Because of their muscular build, it tends to provide a high BMI even though they have a low body-fat percentage.2
As you gain muscle mass from protein, your weight will increase, but in a healthier way. The right protein for weight gain isn't always the obvious choice.
Does Protein Make You Fat?
There’s a common misconception that eating too much protein can make you fat.
Eating the right amount and type of protein matters. In a study from 2016, researchers wanted to see if consuming additional protein would make someone fat. Over the course of four months, they had healthy males consume 3.3 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight each day. None of them gained any fat as a result of the increase.3
A study from 2014 found that when men who focused on resistance training and increased the amount of protein they took in by 4.4 grams per kilogram of body weight each day, they did not see any increase in stored body fat.4
How Much Protein Do You Need for Weight Gain?
There are numerous recommendations on how much protein a person needs in his or her diet. It’s best to use a weight-based recommended daily allowance scale. The general goal is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For active people, including those who want to build muscle mass, it’s important to go over these daily allowances.5
A combination of factors plays a role in how much protein you need each day to increase weight. This includes body composition, the amount of energy you expend daily, and your weight gain goals. Some research indicates you should consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day to gain weight. That is about 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein for each pound you weigh.6
Which Protein Is Good for Weight Gain?
Here’s where things get interesting.
There are sources of protein from animal products, including chicken, turkey, fish, dairy, and eggs. Those sensitive to dairy or whey products or those with allergies shouldn’t consume dairy-based protein sources such as milk and cheese.
For vegans or those following a more plant-based based diet, good sources of protein include quinoa, legumes, nuts, chia seeds, pea protein, and tofu, to name a few.
If you take a look at most of the protein products on the market promising weight gain, nearly all contain high levels of sugar and calories in them. This isn’t necessarily healthy weight gain.
Pea protein is easily accessible, and the right combination of nutrients to support natural and healthy weight gain.
Pea protein for weight gain can be an important resource. It’s lower in calories than a typical whey protein product, and it’s a better option than sugar-filled protein shakes on the market. It helps a person to gain lean body mass, not just any type of body mass, which is a healthier type of weight. It aids in providing amino acids and healthier calories.7
Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest is a type of pea protein isolate based product. It has 18-21 grams of protein in every 25 gram serving. It’s a highly bioavailable and satiating protein powder that accommodates many people’s dietary and lifestyle preferences. It has even been rated as one of the top five protein powders by Total Shape. A typical whey protein product made from milk contains about 20 grams of protein and 100 calories, but may have adverse effects for those who are sensitive to dairy or milk products.
Pea protein is free from common allergens. Those who have allergies to soy, eggs, dairy, and wheat can consume pea protein and gain weight, a common struggle for many.
Vegan Diet for Healthy Weight Gain
Pea protein allows people seeking to gain weight to do so without consuming animal-based products and who follow a plant-based or vegan diet. Pea protein is also a highly sustainable product. Animal-based proteins can be hard on the planet, but growing peas is not. They have a smaller carbon footprint than animal products and are ethically-friendly, too. When you consider that many conventionally-raised animals are subjected to inhumane environments, a vegan option can be seen as a moral benefit to many.
Protein and Weight Gain
Protein is an essential building-block within our diets, regardless of weight-gain goals. For athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals who need to gain weight, it’s also a solution that can support your overall health. The type of protein matters as some forms can drastically tax the body. Compared to animal-based products that may increase your carcinogen risk and products that are filled with sugar, pea protein like Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest is a great option overall, and it tastes great, with so many ways to use in your recipes!