Does creatine make you gain weight?

A measuring cup with creatine, placed on top of creatine.

Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market and is used by most athletes, from strength training beginners to professional bodybuilders. While creatine has many benefits, there is some concern that creatine can result in weight gain. But does creatine make you gain weight? If it does, how much will you gain, and how can you get rid of it again? Let’s have a look

What is creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid naturally found in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during high-intensity exercises, such as weight lifting, and can help build muscle mass. Because of this, many athletes chose to take creatine to enhance their performance.

While creatine has many benefits, it has been known to have some minor side effects. The most common is an unwanted weight gain. A weight gain people often mistake for fat.

Before taking creatine, it’s good to understand why creatine makes you gain weight and how much you can expect to gain.

Related: The beginners guide to creatine

Does creatine make you gain weight?

Yes, creatine does make you gain weight. However, the type of weight gained from creatine isn’t a bad thing. Let’s take a look at how much weight creatine can make you gain and why.

How much weight does creatine make you gain?

We have already established that creatine does make you gain weight. However, the big question is how much weight you can gain. Some claim that you won’t gain much, while others believe that you can gain up to 10 kg (22 lbs) from creatine! But how much is it really?

Luckily for us, we won’t have to guess or get the answer from unreliable sources. Multiple studies have looked into how much weight you gain from creatine. We’ll have a look at two different, one measuring after a week and the other after a month of creatine usage.

One study wanted to know the effect loading creatine for a week had on a group of young athletes. After a week, the young athletes had gained an average of 1 kg (2.2 lbs), meaning that experiencing an increase in weight is possible during the loading phase.

Another study wanted to see if a group of active young adults would gain weight after a month of creatine loading. After 30 days, the group had gained an average of 2 kg (4.4 lbs), which again proved that creatine can cause an increase in weight.

According to the study, creatine can make you gain around 2 kg (4.4 lbs), which isn’t as bad as some claim it to be.

Does creatine make you fat?

An unwanted weight gain is a common side effect of taking creatine. Often, it can be as much as 2 kg (4.4 lbs) within the first 30 days. But does creatine make you fat, or is there a better explanation?

Let’s have a look at three different reasons why you could have gained weight since starting on creatine – and what role the supplement played.

1. Water retention

Water retention is the type of weight gain creatine can cause. Creatine draws water into your muscle cells, and as a result, you’ll gain weight.

The water weight can be seen as bloating or puffiness on arms, legs, and stomach. Your muscles may also seem bigger.

2. Muscle mass

Creatine is an effective supplement for building strength and muscle mass. While increased muscle mass isn’t the reason for the fast weight gain, it’ll make you gain weight over time.

This is a good type of weight gain. Not only does increased muscle mass make you look harder, but also increases your BMR. This makes it easier to lose fat in the future.

Related: Workout plan for beginners

3. Fat

Creatine can cause a rapid weight gain and a bit softer look, which makes some mistake it for fat. However, creatine won’t make you fat.

Creatine doesn’t contain calories, or at least only a few if it does. Fat is gained when you eat more calories than your body needs. If you don’t reduce your activity level or eat more calories after taking creatine, the weight gained won’t be fat.

Related: How to use macros to build muscle or lose weight

What to do if you gain weight after taking creatine

Water weight gained because of creatine is often temporary, but there are a few things you can do to reduce water retention.

Eat less salt

Too much salt will make your body hold onto the water. Try to keep your sodium intake below the recommended 2400mg a day.

Drink more water

Drinking more water stimulates urination which will help remove excess water. Being dehydrated can, on the other hand, lead to water retention.

Eat less carbs

Carbs are essential for fueling your body. They’ll, however, also make your body hold on to more fluid, so don’t overeat them. You can calculate how many carbs you need to eat here.

Be patient

Be patient, some things take time, and this isn’t any different. Stay active, go to the gym, drink enough water, and that retained water will be gone in no time.

Are there other risks of taking creatine?

Creatine is for most of us, a safe supplement, and the most common side effect is an unwanted weight gain. Other minor side effects might include nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps, dizziness, and heat intolerance. For most, these side effects can be avoided by not taking more than 5g daily and staying hydrated.

Conclusion

There is a real possibility of gaining weight after taking creatine. However, a fast weight gain is because of water retention if there are no other changes in diet and workout routines. It won’t be noticeable in most cases, and the water weight will disappear once you stop taking the supplement, if not before.