The 6 Best Supplements for Weight Gain of 2023, According to a Dietitian

Naked Mass is a third-party tested supplement that only has three ingredients

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Best Supplements for Weight Gain

Health / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

It seems everywhere we look, there’s a heavy emphasis around weight loss, but not everyone wants or needs to lose weight. In fact, some people want to gain weight for health or strength reasons. Weight gain is especially important for those with restrictive eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or those with illnesses like cancer or gastrointestinal disorders that can cause unwanted weight loss. Healthy weight gain is also important during pregnancy and for children and adolescents who are growing. Some others may want or need to regain weight after unintentional weight loss due to mental health challenges like anxiety or depression

If you’ve been chronically or severely restricting your food intake or if you are dealing with an illness that reduces your appetite or stomach capacity, it may be hard to increase your intake of solid food. Maria Sylvester Terry, MS, RDN, LDN says, “Folks who have a weight gain goal may find it daunting to eat a surplus of calories, meaning beyond their maintenance needs. This requires access, planning, and the physical process of eating more calories. So, supplements can help make this process feel manageable.” 

Supplements for weight gain will often have a higher fat and carbohydrate content which makes them different from protein powders. When looking for a weight gain supplement, you may want to consider the macronutrient breakdown as well as the content of fiber, added sugars, vitamins, and minerals. To select the best supplements for weight gain, our dietitian consulted with nutrition experts with experience in fitness, chronic illness, and eating disorders. We also researched dozens of options on the market considering price, ingredients, availability, and nutrition profile.

Reviewed & Approved
  • Naked Mass is our choice for best overall weight-gain supplement because it’s made from high-quality ingredients, third-party tested, high in calories, and protein.
  • Ensure Original Nutrition Shake with Fiber is a great option for anyone who’s short on time and wants a product at an affordable price point.


Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. They also may interact with other supplements or medications you are taking. Please always speak with a healthcare provider to discuss any supplements you plan on taking.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: Naked Mass

Mass Natural Weight Gainer Protein Powder

Amazon

Why We Like It: Naked Mass is our top pick because it is high in calories, has minimal ingredients, and is Informed Choice certified

It’s Worth Noting: While we like this supplement because it is so nutritionally and calorically dense, the full serving of four scoops may be too large for some. It’s also quite expensive.

Naked Mass checks a lot of boxes as our best overall pick. It is Informed Choice certified, a third-party organization that tests products for banned substances and ensures they are manufactured to high-quality standards. It also has third-party testing for heavy metals.

Since this product is unflavored, it can be easily added to any smoothies or shakes like you would use a protein powder. Each four scoop serving provides 1,250 calories, 252 grams of carbohydrate, and 50 grams of protein.

This supplement has no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners and only has three ingredients. If you prefer a flavored supplement, Naked Mass also comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors. These flavors are also free of any artificial flavors or sweeteners—they are sweetened with organic coconut sugar.

A half serving of two scoops contains almost 700 calories and 25 grams of protein and could be a better fit especially if you struggle with getting full fast. Note this product is also more expensive than other weight gain supplements. Using a half serving at a time could help stretch out the number of servings per container.

While this supplement is high in carbs, and protein, note each serving only provides one gram of fiber. It is certified gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free, but It is not suitable if you have a milk allergy, are lactose intolerant, or vegan. 

Price at time of publication: $70 ($6.36 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: powder 
  • Serving Size: 4 scoops 
  • Calories: 1250 
  • Fat: 2.5 grams 
  • Carbs: 252 grams 
  • Sugar: 21 grams 
  • Fiber: 1 gram 
  • Protein: 50 grams 
  • Protein Source: whey protein concentrate, micellar casein 
  • Dietary Considerations: gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, contains milk

Best Budget: Ensure Original Nutrition Shake with Fiber

Ensure Original Nutrition Shake with Fiber

Amazon

Why We Like It: Ensure Original Nutrition Shake with Fiber has a well-rounded amount of fat, carbohydrates, protein, three grams of fiber, and it is a good source of 27 vitamins and minerals. 

It’s Worth Noting: Compared to other weight gain supplements, this shake is on the lower end of nutrients with 220 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and nine grams of protein per serving. 

We like that this weight gain supplement offers more than just a source of calories. It’s a good source of many nutrients including fiber. Getting enough fiber is important for digestive health, healthy cholesterol levels, and to help with blood sugar management. It is also rich in unsaturated fats which are important for heart health.

If you need to gain weight, this is a convenient, budget-friendly way to add more calories and nutrition to your day. You can drink this shake alongside a meal for a nutrient-dense drink or you can drink it on-the-go for a quick snack. It may be best if you need a smaller boost to support weight gain, as it is lower in calories compared to other supplements.

It comes in a variety of flavors which can be especially appealing for those with low appetite. Besides vanilla, this shake comes in milk chocolate with the fiber. Other flavors without the added fiber include: dark chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, coffee latte, and banana nut.

While it’s not third-party tested, Abbott Nutrition—the manufacturer of this supplement—is a trusted brand recommended by many doctors and used in healthcare settings. Note it is not suitable for a vegan diet, milk allergy, or soy allergy, but it is gluten-free. It is also a good choice if you are lactose intolerant.

Price at time of publication: $42 ($2 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: liquid 
  • Serving Size: 1 bottle 
  • Calories: 220 
  • Fat: 6 grams 
  • Carbs: 34 grams 
  • Sugar: 10 grams 
  • Fiber: 3 grams 
  • Protein: 9 grams 
  • Protein Source: milk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, nonfat milk 
  • Dietary Considerations: Not free from milk or soy, but it is gluten-free and suitable for lactose intolerance

Best for Kids: PediaSure Grow & Gain with Fiber 

 Pediasure With Fiber Nutrition Drink Bottles

Amazon

Why We Like It: Pediasure Grow & Gain with Fiber is a WIC eligible, widely available, nutritionally well-rounded option for kids in need of a supplement for weight gain. 

It’s Worth Noting: It is higher in added sugar than other supplements and not suitable for milk or soy food allergy.

If a child is not gaining weight, a healthcare professional may recommend adding a supplement for weight gain. We like Pediasure Grow & Gain with Fiber is a good source of many nutrients in addition to adding calories to a child's diet. It is also suitable for kids with lactose-intolerance and gluten-free diets but not for a milk or soy allergy. 

It contains 240 calories in an eight ounce bottle, and we like that it has 27 vitamins and minerals that kids struggling to eat enough nutrition may be lacking. It also has three grams of fiber—a nutrient both kids and adults might not get enough of.

There are 12 grams of added sugars per serving; however, keep in mind that this should be consumed as a supplement to your child’s food intake to help with gaining weight. Ideally, your child will also still be eating a wide variety of foods and drinks.

While it’s not third-party tested, Abbott Nutrition—the manufacturer of this supplement—is a trusted brand recommended by many doctors and used in healthcare settings.

Price at time of publication: $63 ($2.63 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: liquid 
  • Serving Size: 1 bottle 
  • Calories: 240 
  • Fat: 9 grams 
  • Carbs: 33 grams 
  • Sugar: 12 grams 
  • Fiber: 3 grams 
  • Protein: 7 grams 
  • Protein Source: milk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate 
  • Dietary Considerations: Gluten-free, lactose-free, but not soy-free or suitable for a milk allergy

Best for Muscle Gain: Thorne Creatine 

Thorne Research Creatine Powder

Amazon

Why We Like It: Thorne Creatine is unflavored, has just one ingredient, and is NSF-Certified for Sport

It’s Worth Noting: Creatine needs to be paired with strength training in order to gain muscle.

If you are specifically looking to gain more muscle, creatine can be a good supplement to take. Creatine is an amino acid with research-backed benefits specifically for athletes or those looking to gain muscle. Creatine has been shown to boost athletic performance, facilitate muscle recovery, and promote muscle growth. 

Thorne Creatine simply has creatine monohydrate in powder form, and it is NSF Certified for Sport meaning it has been tested to ensure the accuracy of the product label and that it doesn't have any harmful contaminants or banned substances.

This unflavored powder can be dissolved in any beverage making it a versatile supplement. It can be taken anytime of day but may be best for muscle gain when taking before or after a workout.

Keep in mind creatine needs to be paired with strength training to gain muscle. It also needs to be taken with proper dosing. Terry says, “For those looking to gain muscle by taking creatine, this should be taken daily, including on rest days.”

One serving provides five grams of creatine monohydrate. The amount of creatine that is best for you can depend on your goals. Creatine can be taken up to 20-25 grams for five to seven days for an initial loading phase. 

This dose will increase weight gain at a fast rate. After this phase, it is recommended to take five grams of creatine daily for maintenance. You can also just take five grams of creatine per day without the loading phase if you don’t want or need to gain weight rapidly.

Keep in mind this supplement is not suitable for children, and pregnant people should consult a healthcare professional before using. This supplement is free of gluten, soy, and dairy.

Price at time of publication: $36 ($0.40 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: powder 
  • Serving Size: 1 scoop 
  • Calories:
  • Fat: 0 grams 
  • Carbs: 0 grams 
  • Sugar: 0 grams 
  • Fiber: 0 grams 
  • Protein: 0 grams 
  • Protein Source: N/A
  • Dietary Considerations: Free from common food allergens, not suitable for kids, pregnant people should consult a healthcare professional before taking

Best Vegan: Soylent Creamy Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake

Soylent Creamy Chocolate Protein Nutrition Shake

Amazon

Why We Like It: Soylent’s Creamy Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake is an easy-to-drink, calorie-dense option to help people gain weight especially if they do not want animal-based ingredients. 

It’s Worth Noting: Some may appreciate this product is low in added sugar, but it does contain sucralose which may not be everyone’s favorite taste. It is also more expensive compared to other supplements for weight gain.

Soylent’s Creamy Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake can be a convenient weight gain supplement especially if you are looking for something plant-based. The 20 grams of protein come from soy protein isolate—a vegan protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Not only does it have a well-rounded amount of fat, carbs, and protein, but it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, and zinc. It also provides three grams of fiber per serving.

The 400 calorie bottle can easily be drunk with meals or throughout the day as a snack to boost your daily calorie intake. This shake is kosher, suitable for gluten-free, and vegan diets, but it is not soy-free. Besides chocolate, this shake comes in a variety of flavors including: banana, mint chocolate, gingerbread, strawberry, and vanilla.

Each serving provides only one gram of sugar, as it is sweetened with sucralose which you may or may not like.

While it is labeled as a meal replacement shake on the bottle, it is not recommended to replace meals when using this supplement to help gain weight. It should be added to meals, not a replacement. It’s also more expensive compared to some other weight gain supplements.

Price at time of publication: $69 ($6 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: liquid 
  • Serving Size: 1 bottle 
  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 24 grams 
  • Carbs: 36 grams 
  • Sugar: 1 gram 
  • Fiber: 3 grams 
  • Protein: 20 grams 
  • Protein Source: Soy protein isolate
  • Dietary Considerations: Suitable for vegans, gluten-free diets but not soy-free. It is also kosher.

Best Versatility: Benecalorie 

Benecalorie Calorie and Protein Food Enhancer

Amazon

Why We Like It: This unflavored supplement can fit into a variety of dietary needs, and it can easily be added to many different foods or drinks without affecting the flavor. 

It’s Worth Noting: It has a longer ingredient list with some preservatives and additives that are needed for this product to mix undetected into foods and drinks.

Benecalorie is a great option for those in recovery from an eating disorder or for those struggling to maintain weight with a chronic illness who are looking for a supplement for weight gain.

This supplement has a high amount of calories in a very small volume thanks to its high fat content—33 grams per serving. It can be easily mixed in a variety of foods and drinks, such as yogurt, shakes, soups, and oatmeal. Since it is unflavored, the supplement shouldn’t impact the taste of a food. We also like it is rich in the antioxidants vitamin E and vitamin C, as well as zinc, a nutrient important for immune function.

You will notice it does contain a longer ingredient list of ingredients with some added preservatives and stabilizers, but these are needed to help it mix effortlessly into food. 

This supplement isn’t suitable for a milk allergy, although it is lactose-free. It is also a great choice if you need a gluten-free supplement for weight gain or are on a low-residue or fluid restricted diet.

Price at time of publication: $43 ($1.79 per serving)

Product Details:

  • Form: powder 
  • Serving Size: 1 package (1.5 fluid ounces) 
  • Calories: 330
  • Fat: 33 grams 
  • Carbs: 0 grams 
  • Sugar: 0 gram s
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams 
  • Protein Source: calcium caseinate
  • Dietary Considerations: Not suitable for vegans or milk allergies but is gluten-free, kosher, and suitable for a low residue or fluid restricted diet

Who May Want to Use Supplements for Weight Gain

Weight gain supplements can be valuable for kids, teens, or adults struggling to gain or maintain their weight. Certain illnesses, like cancer or gastrointestinal disorders, can reduce appetite and your ability to meet your energy needs, leading to unintentional weight loss and malnutrition. 

For kids and teens, weight gain is normal and expected until at least age 20, so if they are merely maintaining weight, that can be a sign that something might be wrong. Weight gain supplements can be a convenient way of increasing energy intake in a smaller volume. 

People who can especially benefit from weight gain supplements include:

People recovering from restrictive eating disorders

Restrictive eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) can cause significant, harmful weight loss. Weight restoration is an essential part of the treatment process to restore physical and mental health. 

Recovering individuals can often have especially high energy needs, as their bodies heal all internal systems that were damaged from malnutrition. Energy-dense supplements can be a helpful means of meeting recovering individuals’ especially high energy needs for weight restoration. 

People with unintentional weight loss

Mental health conditions like depression or anxiety and physical health conditions like gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, or thyroid disorders can result in unintentional weight loss. This can be due to increased energy needs, metabolic and hormonal changes, and reduced appetite. A weight gain supplement can be a helpful boost to regain weight lost and promote mental and physical well-being.

People who want more muscle mass

If you have a goal of gaining more muscle, you need to be eating enough along with following a strength training program. If you struggle to meet your calorie needs from food alone, a supplement to gain weight may help you reach your goals.

Kids who are struggling to grow and gain weight

For children and teens, growth charts are used to measure normal growth in height and weight. They reflect continual upward trends until age 20, meaning that weight gain is normal and expected. If kids or teens are struggling to gain weight and maintain their growth curve, a healthcare professional may recommend weight gain supplements to help normal growth and development.

Who May Not Want to Use Supplements for Weight Gain

While supplements for weight gain are likely not harmful for most people, they may not best suit everyone’s needs. The following people may not need or benefit from supplements for weight gain:

Adults whose weight is stable

If your weight is stable, then you are likely at a place your body feels comfortable and weight gain supplements are unnecessary. Maintaining a well-rounded, calorically adequate diet should do the trick for preventing unwanted weight loss.

People with regular hunger and fullness cues

If you have regular hunger and fullness cues and are able to honor them, you likely won’t need a weight gain supplement. Your body’s cues should guide consistent, adequate eating to meet your body’s needs.

Our Approach to Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements. 

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.com.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Know About Supplements for Weight Gain

Potency & Purity Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  • Third party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  • Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  • The third party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab.com, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  • Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  • Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

While there are some supplement categories that have many options that have been third-party tested, many supplements for weight gain are treated more like food products and are not third-party tested. We recommend selecting products from brands that are transparent about their values, formulations, and manufacturing processes.

Form

Supplements for weight gain typically come in powdered or liquid form. The powdered forms are often more versatile and can be added to foods, shakes, or other beverages. Liquid forms are often more convenient if you are looking for a grab-and-go choice. 

Ingredients: What to Pay Attention To

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Christy Wilson, RDN says, “There are products that can serve as meal replacements that have a combination of nutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrate) and vitamins and minerals, whereas other products contain a combination of unregulated ingredients including herbal products and stimulants including high amounts of caffeine.” 

Be cautious with the latter, as they may cause harmful interactions or unwanted side effects, especially in individuals with preexisting liver, kidney, or progressive nervous system disorders. For this reason, we did not include any supplements for weight gain that have caffeine or herbal stimulants.

Dosage

There is no standard dose for weight gain supplements, as they vary greatly in their nutrient composition. Some contain one isolated ingredient, like creatine monohydrate, and some have a wide variety of ingredients, making them rich in all three macronutrients and dozens of micronutrients. Most manufacturers use daily values (DVs), dietary reference intakes (DRIs), recommended daily allowances (RDAs), and adequate intakes (AIs) to determine dosage of each nutrient. This information is typically available on the product label.

How Much is Too Much?

Upper limits are established maximum levels for safe consumption of micronutrients, and are available on the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website. Be sure not to exceed this upper limit, as the risk of adverse effects, like toxicity, is much greater above this amount. 

When it comes to weight gain supplements in general, we advise against replacing your solid food intake for a supplement. Eating a variety of solid foods can help you get a variety of nutrients—from fiber to calcium to omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Not all of these nutrients will be provided in a supplement. 

Terry says, “Ideally, you can create a plan with a registered dietitian to reach your goals through food so that you can take supplements when needed to meet your goals. Supplements should be just that: supplemental.”

Your Questions, Answered

What supplement should I take to gain weight? 

This will depend on the reason for your weight gain goal. If you’re in need of weight restoration as a result of an eating disorder or a chronic illness, you may need a more calorically-dense option with a higher fat content. If you’re looking to gain muscle, then creatine or a higher protein supplement may be a better option. 

Why can’t I gain weight no matter what I eat? 

Genetics plays a large role in our weight. If you have always been at a stable, low weight it may be the case that your body simply wants to maintain your current weight. This is called the weight set point theory.

If you were previously at a higher weight and lost weight due to an illness, it could be that your body is now hypermetabolic, meaning you need far more calories to heal your body and also gain weight. Some people that may have this are those with eating disorders or severe burns. 

How much does a quality supplement for weight gain cost? 

The cost of a supplement will vary greatly on the brand you choose and its ingredients. 

The biggest difference in cost can lie in the number of ingredients, the ingredient quality, whether they’re third-party tested, and the density of each serving. For example, our best overall pick is several times more expensive than other supplements; however, it is the most calorically-dense, containing at least four times more calories than the other supplements listed. Therefore, you could use less than a full serving to get a calorie boost.

Should I take a weight gain supplement everyday?

If you are struggling to reach your calorie needs for weight gain through food alone, daily supplements may be beneficial. Be aware of the upper limit for vitamins and minerals in the product to be sure you don’t exceed them. If possible, it is best to consume a third-party tested product to ensure you aren’t unknowingly consuming harmful contaminants on a regular basis. 

Wilson says, “Unless it is a nutritional supplement that is a meal or food replacement, dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” Consult with your healthcare provider for individual guidance on recommended frequency of consuming a weight gain supplement.

Who We Are

Isabel Vasquez RD, LDN is a bilingual registered dietitian whose clinical experience includes providing outpatient nutrition counseling to adults with a variety of chronic health conditions, along with providing family-based treatment for eating disorders in children and adolescents. She has helped guide dozens of families in promoting weight restoration for their children with restrictive eating disorders. Her work is especially focused on helping individuals divest from a one-size-fits-all approach to health and connect with their unique needs.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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