Does high protein cause weight gain?
Team Gabit
6 months ago |

Does high protein cause weight gain?

Your best companion in weight loss might just be a frenemy if not taken mindfully. Aid your knowledge and read further to know how protein causes weight gain and how to avoid it.

The most recommended nutrient in every individual’s weight loss journey is protein but like every other substance, it has to be taken in some controlled amount too. For those who are wanting to gain weight, there are a myriad of protein sources to choose from but for those who are wanting to lose weight, protein has to be taken carefully while avoiding certain mistakes. 

The role of protein in weight management

Protein causes weight gain and weight loss as well. While losing weight, protein helps to preserve muscle, boost metabolism, make you feel full and burn calories through the thermic effect. While gaining weight, protein supports in growing muscle, bulking up on calories and making you feel satiated. Thus, it depends on how you strategise your protein intake according to your weight management goals. 

Does protein make you gain weight?

does protein make you gain weight

Protein does make you gain weight. While this wouldn’t be a disadvantage for those wanting to bulk up, but for those who are looking forward to losing weight, this could come as an absolute disappointment. Added calories in protein supplements, cutting down on carbs and fibre, not exercising regularly or having more protein than required can result in unwanted weight gain. Too much protein consumption can lead to kidney, digestion, bone and heart problems. 

To avoid the effects of protein that makes you gain weight, you should follow the recommended intake of protein which is calculated as 0.8 kg of your body weight. Any consumption over this amount could lead to undesired weight gain. 

What type of protein is best for weight gain?

Here comes another situation, can protein make you gain weight if you’re practising calorie surplus? Consider these choices of protein that make you gain weight - 

does protein make you gain weight
  1. Protein powders - These usually come in five kinds - whey, casein, soya, rice and pea protein powders. Whey and casein are usually the most popular ones and are both sourced from milk. Rice, soya and pea are all plant based and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. 
  2. Mass gainers - These powders are a powerhouse of several macronutrients and at the same time, help to attain caloric surplus. 
  3. Creatine - These supplements credit weight gain to their trait of causing water retention than actually growing muscle or gaining fat. 
  4. Natural sources - These include eggs, greek yoghurt, quinoa, nuts, meats like chicken and lamb, fish like salmon and tuna and plant based proteins including lentils, beans, tempeh, tofu and chickpeas. 
does protein make you gain weight

Protein sources that may contribute to weight gain

Sources of high-protein are increasingly recommended for weight loss but they might have a counter effect and lead to weight gain. Here, are some proteins that make you gain weight if not consumed consciously - 

does protein make you gain weight

Processed cheese - If you’re a cheese fanatic and want it to be in your weight loss diet, be aware of the cheese you’re opting for. Processed cheese, being high in calories is definitely not the go-to. Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, feta or parmesan are both nutrient rich and low in calories. 

Packaged yoghurt - In smoothies, oatmeals or with fruits, packaged yoghurt is one of the most consumed sources of protein for weight loss but buying them from outside could also invite added sugars and preservatives since these yoghurts are mostly flavoured. Having store-bought yoghurt daily can lead to weight gain as a result of added calories. Consuming homemade curd or yoghurt comes for your rescue here.

does protein make you gain weight

Tofu - A plant-based protein and a favourite staple of vegans and vegetarians, tofu as a sourceful protein causes weight gain if fried or cooked in too much oil. 

Meats and fishes - Undoubtedly, meats are one of the best sources of protein and will make you feel satiated in your weight loss journey but the way you consume it decides that. If you’re a consistent consumer of fried chicken, pork and fish or processed meats like hot dogs, sausages or meatballs, you're more likely to gain weight than reduce. 

does protein make you gain weight

Nuts and seeds - Although these are high in protein, they can lead to weight gain if not consumed in moderation because they are calorie dense too. 

Common mistakes to prevent protein-induced unhealthy weight gain

does protein make you gain weight

Eating protein causes weight gain sometimes and doesn’t excuse you from calories. Avoid these common mistakes - 

  1. Even though your protein sources are likely to be not high-caloric, too much of them could increase the calorie count. If your chosen protein is cooked in oil then being boiled, roasted or grilled, it would account to weight gain. 
  2. For all the meat fanatics, chicken and fish might be the most obvious source of protein but if not eaten in moderation, these can result in weight gain. Lean chicken, healthy fishes or plant-based protein could save you from the trouble of protein causing weight gain. 
  3. Weight loss journey doesn’t require you to fully cut down on a nutrient. Cutting down on carbs naturally leads to a decline of fibre consumption as well. Reduction in both these nutrients can lead to overeating and an increase in cravings since they are responsible for satiety. 
  4. If you’re consuming a lot of protein but not exercising accordingly to burn your calories out, fat will start getting accumulated in your body. 
  5. Consider consulting a nutritionist to understand which are the proteins that make you gain weight and how much protein your body requires. 


does protein make you gain weight

As a nutrient, we can’t conclude on whether protein can be consumed for only weight loss or weight gain. It is the individual effort that matters here to choose the right protein, using the right cooking method, maintaining a balanced diet and exercising along with it. Avoid the basic mistakes with protein that makes you gain weight and you’re good to go on your weight loss journey! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does consuming high protein lead to weight gain?

If you cut off carbs and fibre from your diet, exercise less, consume more protein than required or eat high-caloric sources of protein, it is likely to lead to weight gain. 

Can a high-protein diet contribute to weight loss?

High-protein diets contribute to weight loss by making you feel full, burning calories through thermic effect and boosting the metabolism. 

Are there risks associated with consuming too much protein?

There are kidney, heart, digestive and bone risks associated with consuming too much protein. Nutrient imbalances, weight gain or allergies could be triggered as well. 

How does the source of protein affect weight gain?

The source of protein affects weight gain because if the source itself is high in calories, it will lead to weight gain. Consistent consumption of protein beyond the recommended amount and having packaged or processed sources adds to calories. Similarly, with meats and fishes, one must have their healthier versions, cooked without oil or with minimal oil. 

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