4 Best Plant-Based Vegan Mass Gainers for 2021

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In this review article I share my product evaluations of what I currently think are the top vegan mass gainers available these days.

We’ll be going over their macros and amino acids profiles, as well as their protein & carb sources, cost per serving, & more.

 

Few true mass gainers for the vegan lifter/athlete

Q: Are there vegan mass gainers?

A: There are not very many vegan weight gain products on the market compared to how many vegan protein powders there are, or compared to how many non-vegan mass gainers there are for that matter either.

I’m a little surprised that more vegan fitness supplement companies haven’t stepped up their game in this regard and come up with a high-calorie**, high-carb weight gain product that is plant-based.

But…

…there a few vegan gainers that are of good quality & that are readily available — whether on Amazon or on their own respective websites — and this is nice considering ten years ago or so there were none.

 

** “high-calorie” 

There’s no hard & fast rule that says how many calories per serving a supplement powder has to have in order to be considered (or marketed as) a mass gainer. 

I’m arbitrarily going with 400 calories per serving as my bar to qualify for this product review article.

My experience with dozens & dozens of “regular” protein & meal replacement powders — vegan or not — tells me most of them are between 100 & 240 calories per serving or so.

And so 400 is up there where “real” meal calories start happening, and a mass gainer’s primary intended use anyways is to provide more meal-sized quality calories to the athlete/weightlifter.

 

 

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Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

 

What’s next

I want to cover a couple of program notes before we kick the individual product reviews into gear, so you’ll know how the article’s going to flow.

The cost analysis stuff for these mass gainers that I’m sharing is based on the prices I’m seeing today as I put this review together, so bear in mind you might see different numbers when you check them out.

Speaking of which — any product names in blue & product images are links to their respective Amazon** product pages if you want to read buyer reviews, check current price, etc., and they open in a separate browser tab.

** – except for Vegun Nutrition’s VeganMass, which they only sell on their own website…so the links go there instead.

 

Here are the main topics I’ll share details of for each of the four powders in this review:

  • Calories & macronutrients per serving
  • Ingredients used for the carbs & protein
  • Amino acids profile
  • Other ingredients
  • Cost per serving
  • Online buyer ratings
  • Available flavors

I’ll also provide a few head-to-head comparisons between the gainers using some of these categories to help you sort out which of them suit your particular needs better.

 

Big range of serving sizes & calories

Keep in mind that there is a pretty wide variation in the manufacturers’ suggested serving sizes amongst these four gainers, and so the amount of calories each provides varies too as you might expect.

And so to make product comparisons of these mass gainers’ macros or cost per serving relevant, I’m taking the liberty of providing alternative serving sizes for a couple of them, in addition to showing you what the manufacturer would have you consume.

 

(For example, I just don’t think it’s good for your digestive system — or kind to any of your friends & loved ones within 15 feet of you for the rest of the day — to drink a 1,280 calorie vegan mass gainer in one sitting.)  😉

 

 

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Okie dokie, here’s who’s here today:

Top 4 vegan weight gainers

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer

 

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer

 

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass

Vegun Nutrition Vegan Mass - heydayDo image

 

 

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer

 

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Vegan gainer online buyer reviews

About the numbers you’ll see here & also down in the individual product review section:

* All of them come from gathering all the online reviews I could find for each of these products, be it from Amazon, the manufacturer’s website, & the other online retailers selling that product as well.

* The ⭐ rating represents my calculation using all of those buyer reviews, and the % sign you see indicates the percentage of buyers who gave that particular product a 4 or 5-star rating.

 

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer  4.7⭐

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer  4.5⭐

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer  4.5⭐

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass 4.9⭐**

 

**Note: Vegun Nutrition’s VeganMass has the highest buyer rating as you can see, but while they sell other products on Amazon, they only sell this VeganMass powder on their own website.

And given my jadedness level at this point in my life 😜, I’m not bowled over by overwhelmingly glowing buyer reviews if the only place they come from is on the company website.

 

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Vegan gainers’ cost comparisons

There are a couple of ways to compare costs of these types of supplement products that go a little deeper than simply comparing their price tags.

One of these is cost per ounce, and another useful metric is cost per serving.

 

Vegan gainers cost per ounce

Amazon provides a cost/ounce for many food-oriented supplements they’re selling which is nice, and their numbers are accurate more often than not.

But if they don’t provide them or you just want to double-check their numbers, it’s easy enough to figure out since it’s pretty simple math.

 

I think cost per ounce can be more useful than cost per serving for many people, specifically those who are on top of their daily calories & macros.

Someone who dials in their diet’s macronutrient needs every day is much more likely to customize their own serving size for a supplement like protein powder or in this case, a mass gainer powder.

 

(For example, like when a manufacturer says to chuck in six scoops per serving when that person knows they only need two to round out their meal plan…)

 

Weighing our food is second nature to those of us who go on specific training cycles at certain periods during the year, like a caloric surplus muscle & weight gain cycle, or a caloric deficit, body fat “cutting” cycle.

So here are the costs per ounce of the four vegan gainers reviewed in this article using the prices I’m looking at today, ranked from the cheapest on up.

Note that IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer comes in both a 10 lb. & 5 lb. size:

 

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer   47¢ /oz.

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer    50¢ /oz.

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer (small)   74¢ /oz.

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass    89¢ /oz.

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer   91¢ /oz.

 

 

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Vegan gainers cost per serving

Cost per serving can be useful to help compare similar food-based fitness supplements too, you just might have to get a little creative.

On the one hand you may not care about exact calories or macros: you just need a “meal in between meals”.

And let’s say you’ve checked out the ingredients and are cool with what’s in the different products you’re comparing.

Now it comes down to cost pretty much (some might say “taste”, but a crappy tasting powder can almost always be repaired via additional ingredients of your liking).

 

So cost per serving could help you decide which one to go for, but here are a few things you’ll need to deal with when comparing say, these four vegan mass gainers.

One thing to consider is that none of their serving sizes are the same, which makes apples-to-apples co$t compari$on$ a little harder to line up.

 

Here’s how they rank, listed from largest to smallest by calories per serving:

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer  1,280 calories

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer  720

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer  570

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass  280

 

That’s a wide range for one thing, and for another I have an issue with the two gainers that have the largest & smallest serving sizes:

* Naked Mass’ 1280 calories is a ton of food for a real meal, let alone the calorie count for a “meal between meals” supplement powder.

* VeganMass’ 280 calories is not really even in mass gainer country — besides being below my supposed qualifying minimum of 400 calories — but there weren’t any other high-calorie vegan gainers to choose instead.

 

Cost per serving workaround

The easiest way to get an approximate apples-to-apples serving cost for these four powders is to:

  1. cut Naked Mass’ serving in half to 640 calories;
  2. double VeganMass’ serving size to 560 calories.

The upside of doing that for Naked Mass’ Vegan Gainer is that you:

  • won’t explode from pounding too many calories at once;
  • will get twice as many servings per container.

 

The weight-gaining logic of an additional 500+ calories per day

With those two portion adjustments, now our gainer servings are pretty similar: 640, 720, 570, & 560 calories.

This neighborhood (500-750 calories) makes sense if you’re:

  • working out regularly,
  • want to add lean muscle pounds,
  • & find yourself stuck at the same weight.

Why?

Well, because medical experts in weight management — including weight gain — agree that the way to healthily add lean muscle weight is to bump your caloric intake up anywhere from 300-500+ calories per day, and do it consuming quality calories only.

 

So if you can’t squeeze an additional 500+ calories’ worth of food per day in between your already spot-on diet (hint 😉) — whether due to a busy schedule or lack of room in your digestive tract — a 500+ calorie healthy gainer powder or post-workout homemade smoothie could work out well for you.

 

Here’s how the four vegan gainers rank in cost per serving, with their calories listed for reference so you can see they’re all in the same ballpark now:

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer  $2.73 / $5.45

640 calories / 1280 calories

 

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer 10lb.  $3.33

720 calories

 

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer  $4.64

570 calories

 

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass   $2.40 / $4.80

280 calories / 560 calories

Vegun Nutrition Vegan Mass - heydayDo image

 

Vegan gainer cost comparison bottom line:

After evening out the serving sizes like I did, Naked Mass’ Vegan Gainer is the cheapest, and both it & IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer are more inexpensive than the other two by well over a buck per serving.

On top of that, Naked Mass & IronVegan provide more calories than the other two as well.

 

 

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Vegan gainers amino acids profiles

This section compares the amino acids content of the vegan mass gainers in this article.

Ideally a post-workout or between-meal supplement like a mass gainer or a protein powder will supply a healthy supply of essential amino acids (EAAs), since it is high doses of EAAs that stimulate muscle protein synthesis, aka MPS. (2)

MPS is the process of muscle growth & repair necessary for those of us trying to build muscle & recover post-workout, and it is the essential amino acids (which includes the three BCAAs) that create the environment for that to happen. (3)

 

(per serving)

Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer

Naked Mass Vegan amino acids profile - heydayDo image

EAAs – 21.2 grams

BCAAs – 10.3 grams

Note: These numbers are based on their gigantic suggested serving size…if you use half as much you’re still getting amounts of EAAs & BCAAs that are close to being up there with the better whey-based protein powders on the market today.

 

 

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer

IronVegan amino acids profile - heydayDo image

EAAs – 17.4 grams

BCAAs – 8.1 grams

Note: Great numbers, especially for a vegan powder supplement.

 

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass amino acid profile - heydayDo image

EAAs – 10 grams

BCAAs – 4.8 grams

Note: These good numbers are based on their small suggested serving size (@ 280 calories). If you either doubled it or just added a 1/2 serving to it you’d get excellent EAAs & BCAAs.

 

 

GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer

EAAs – not available

BCAAs – 8 grams

 

Note: GNC doesn’t provide a profile for the essential amino acids in their PurEdge gainer powder — they just have a blurb in the marketing material that says a serving provides 8 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).

I wrote them for that EAA info when I started putting this article together but haven’t got a reply from them yet.

If I had to guess I’d say their EAA numbers would be similar to IronVegan’s (between 15 and 20 grams).

 

Vegan gainer amino acids bottom line:

All four vegan gainers here provide excellent amino acids, with IronVegan & GNC delivering the most — unless you wanted to try your hand at Naked Mass Vegan’s 1280 calorie serving.

Even at the half-sized 640 calorie dose Naked Mass Vegan gainer has a great amino acid profile, as does Vegun Nutrition’s VeganMass if you boost its serving.

 

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Naked Mass Vegan Weight Gainer Review

4.7 ⭐  89% 4&5-star ratings,  950+ online reviews

Naked Mass Vegan supplement facts

Serving size: 315 grams

Calories per serving: 1,280

Carbs per serving: 236 grams

Protein per serving: 50 grams

  • EAAs: 21.2 grams
  • BCAAs: 10.3 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 330 mg

Sugars: 54 grams

Naked Mass Vegan supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin from tapioca, coconut sugar

 

Main protein source(s):

Pea & brown rice proteins

 

Here are the ingredients:

Naked Mass Vegan ingredients - heydayDo image

 

Cost per serving

$5.45 / $2.73  (1280 / 640 calories)

47¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Highest buyer ratings amongst the four vegan mass gainers featured in this article.

Remember – you can cut their serving size in half and still get plenty of calories, EAAs, & BCAAs.

* Available flavors: chocolate, vanilla, unflavored

* Numbers are based on the 8 lb. tub of chocolate.

* It’s very (very) similar in caloric & macronutrient content to the world #1 gainer powder, Optimum Nutrition’s Serious Mass, which isn’t vegan since it’s based around whey & egg whites for its protein source.

* Sodium’s high for a protein drink, but not for a mass gainer: they all have a lot of sodium in them. Plus this is based on that whopping 1280 calorie serving size.

* Has high sugar content, but if you’re using this as a post-workout blast of calories, protein, & high-glycemic carbs…it’s perfect for that.

(I’d think twice about downing Naked Mass Vegan elsewhere during the day though, due to all that sugar…but I’m just picky that way about my diet.)

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer Review

4.5 ⭐  85% 4&5-star ratings,  500+ online reviews

 

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer supplement facts

Serving size: 190 grams

Calories per serving: 720

Carbs per serving: 120 grams

Protein per serving: 42 grams

  • EAAs – 17.4 grams
  • BCAAs – 8.1 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 530 mg

Sugars: 1 gram

IronVegan Athlete's Gainer supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Pea starch, rice flour, amaranth, quinoa, millet

 

Main protein source(s):

Pea protein, brown rice protein

 

Here are the ingredients:

IronVegan Athlete's Gainer ingredients - heydayDo image

 

Cost per serving

$3.33

50¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Available flavors: chocolate or vanilla

* Numbers are based on the 10 lb. bag of chocolate.

* Is fairly similar in caloric & macro content to the half-a-serving size of Naked Mass Vegan.

* Sodium is again high for a protein drink, but about par as far as mass gainers go.

* Lowest amount of sugar among this group.

* Lots of nutrient-rich ingredients: sprouted grains, sea vegetables, & plant oils.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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Vegun Nutrition VeganMass Review

4.9 ⭐  100% 4&5-star ratings,  140+ online reviews

Vegun Nutrition Vegan Mass - heydayDo image

 

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass supplement facts

(using manufacturer’s listed serving size) 

Serving size: 76 grams

Calories per serving: 280

Carbs per serving: 31 grams

Protein per serving: 30 grams

  • EAAs – 10 grams
  • BCAAs – 4.8 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 420 mg

Sugars: 4 grams

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Pea starch, oat bran, amaranth

 

Main protein source(s):

Pea protein, quinoa, Sacha Inchi (Mayan Nut)

 

Here are the ingredients:

Vegun Nutrition VeganMass ingredients - heydayDo image

 

Cost per serving

$2.40

89¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Available flavors: chocolate or vanilla

* Numbers are based on the 4.2 lb. tub of chocolate.

* Similar ingredients to IronVegan’s Athlete’s Gainer, but only 76 grams per serving in this vs. 190 in Athlete’s Gainer.

* Reminder – it’s only sold on their own website.

* Small dose size doesn’t really deliver “gainer-level” additional calories unless you increase it by 1.5x or 2x the suggested serving size.

* High sodium content as usual for a gainer.

* Low sugar.

* A lot more expensive than Naked Mass’ & IronVegan’s gainer products.

Check price or reviews on Vegun Nutrition’s website

 

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GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Gainer Review

4.5 ⭐  85% 4&5-star ratings,  130+ online reviews

 

GNC PurEdge Gainer supplement facts

Serving size: 145 grams

Calories per serving: 570

Carbs per serving: 70 grams

Protein per serving: 50 grams

  • EAAs – not publicly disclosed
  • BCAAs – 8 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 540 mg

Sugars: 10 grams

GNC PurEdge Gainer supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

GNC doesn’t say, not on the packaging nor on its product pages on Amazon & the GNC website…that’s kinda odd to me.

 

Main protein source(s):

Same as above: mum’s the word from GNC.

 

Here are the ingredients:

GNC PurEdge Gainer ingredients - heydayDo image

 

Cost per serving

$4.64

91¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Available flavors: chocolate or vanilla

* Numbers are based on the 4.5 lb. tub of chocolate.

* GNC doesn’t disclose what plants are used in their “Plant-Based Protein Blend”, and a lack of transparency with supplement ingredients doesn’t instill much warm & fuzzy feelings about the product.

* Nor do they disclose what’s in their carb blend. 😳

* The usual high sodium content found in gainers, sugar’s pretty low though.

* Costs a lot more than Naked Mass Vegan & IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

Vegan mass gainer review summary

To me, the gainers from IronVegan & Naked Mass are much better bargains than the gainer powders made by GNC & Vegun Nutrition.

Note that Naked Mass’ & IronVegan’s products are nearly half the price as those other two, and IronVegan’s ingredients are very similar to those in GNC’s & Vegun Nutrition’s.

Cutting Naked Mass’ serving size in half makes it 60¢ a serving cheaper than IronVegan and I think it should be, since Naked Mass is using tapioca maltodextrin as their main carb source.

Maltodextrin — regardless of what plant source is used — is a cheap ingredient to manufacture. (4)

 

IronVegan Athlete’s Gainer has a better overall nutrient profile compared to Naked Mass Vegan’s, thanks to the number & variety of high-quality ingredients in it.

This makes it like a “complete meal” type of supplement.

Naked Mass Vegan is a simple, to-the-point mass gainer powder designed for post-workout consumption: lots of protein & lots of high GI (glycemic index) carbs.

 

 

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Wrapping up

Related articles here on heydayDo

How to Use a Mass Gainer, How It Works, Side Effects, & More

How To Build Muscle & Gain Weight If You’re An Ectomorph

Make Your Own Homemade Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Gain

 

I hope that my review article on vegan mass gainers is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.

Let’s go.

– greg

February 2021

 

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About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.