Hard gainers are those people who struggle to pack on the pounds no matter how much food they eat. There are many reasons why you might find it hard to gain weight, but the most common is that you are not consuming the number of calories your body needs for both energy and muscle conversion. Since there are quite a few people who struggle to reach their ideal weight, the body building community has come up with a solution: mass gainers.

The first few mass gainers released back in the day weren’t very good at all. They were just drinks with a lot of excess sugar and fat to increase calorie consumption. Some servings contained over 3,000 calories per 128 ounces, not very practical and realistic. Before research and experience, this is what hard gainers relied on. Old school mass gainers were really the best supplement for “clean eating,” plus they barely contained any protein to help with muscle rebuilding.

Thankfully, those old mass gainers were scrapped and today there are over 100 brands, all with specialized formulas, to help hard gainers bulk up and gain weight effectively and safely. However, with so many options to choose from, many novice body builders who are also hard gainers are left asking: which mass gainer should I buy?

Important Ingredients In Effective Mass Gainers and which Mass Gainer Should I Buy?

The first thing to remember about any kind of body building supplement is that no one formulation works for everyone the same way. It is worth taking the time to look into the different ingredients used in mass gainer supplements. The amount of nutrients you get will affect how quickly and effectively you gain weight and bulk up. Here are the ingredients mass gainers should contain for them to be effective and deliver what they promise:

Protein Quality

Although they are not protein powders, the quality of the protein used in the mass gainer matters a lot. Protein is the compound that helps your muscles recover, rebuild, and grow bigger. Checking the type of protein used in the mass gainer will help you determine the quality of the supplement. Checking the BV or Biological Value of the protein source is advisable. The higher the BV, the better and easier it is absorbed by the body. Here’s a list of the most commonly used protein sources and their BV:

  • Whey Protein Isolate is the best with 159
  • Whey Protein Concentrate with 104
  • Whole eggs have a 100 rating while egg whites rate at 88
  • Chicken and turkey have 79
  • The lowest are casein with 77 and soy with 74

Amount Of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are very helpful to the body building process, but too much can lead to fat build up instead of gaining muscle mass. Carbs also help increase the body’s ability to absorb protein so getting a mass gainer with a good protein to carb ratio makes it more effective. Look for mass gainers with a 2 to 1 ratio between carbs and protein. These are proven to be the best ratio for maximum weight gain.

Fat Content

You need fat to help you gain weight and mass gainers also use some form of fats in their formulation to encourage weight gain. When contemplating “which mass gainer should I buy?” look for supplements that do not contain any saturated fats because these aren’t helpful. In fact, saturated fats are bad for the body. Double check the fat content in every serving of the mass gainer and see whether these are the good kind of fat or not.

Sugar Content

Many mass gainers are very sweet; this is a red flag that indicates the manufacturer added sugar to increase the calorie count. Although some sugars are acceptable, such as naturally occurring sugars like fructose, there are others that should be avoided because they do more harm than good such as sucrose.

Read The Labels

Pay close attention to the labels and nutrition facts that come with the mass gainers before you buy one and start using it. These nutrition facts and lists of ingredients will give you a better idea if the mass gainer contains a lot of harmful additives or not. The answer to which mass gainer should I buy depends on your needs and goals. If you want to bulk up, go for more protein. If you are simply trying to gain weight, high-calorie content will be good enough.