I recently saw an ad for a high-calorie "weight-gain" product that caught my attention. This ad showed some study results and claimed this was scientific proof this supplement works. Do you know if this is true?
I'm aware of the ad and the study you're asking about. First of all, "proof" is a very strong word--one scientific study isn't proof of anything. I'm very careful when using the word "proof"--in my opinion, studies offer evidence that something does or doesn't work. I think you would need a number of pretty solid studies before you could convince me they represent "proof" of anything.
In this study, weight trainers who used a high-calorie supplement made better gains than lifters who used no supplement.
Now, from a "scientific" standpoint, these results are not as valid as they could be because the two groups were not "blinded." That is, the non-supplement users knew they weren't getting anything, and the supplement users knew they were taking something. This leaves room for a "placebo" effect. An inside source told me there was a third group involved in this study that just received a plain carbohydrate powder. I'm told this "control group" experienced the same results as the weight-gainer group. If that's true, I guess it means using a supplement that contains calories may help you get better results from your weight-training program if calories are the "limiting factor" in your program. The results would also offer evidence that the high-calorie "gainer" supplement didn't work better than a plain carbohydrate powder.
So, I guess this means you should be sure to take in enough calories when you're trying to build muscle. How much is enough? Well, I'm convinced, for most, it's less than 3,000 calories a day.