Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight? Myths and Facts

Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight? Myths and Facts - Lucid™

When it comes to supplements, creatine stands out as one of the most studied yet misunderstood options available. Despite its widespread use among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, there's still confusion surrounding its effects, particularly in relation to weight gain. Follow us as we answer a common question: does creatine make you gain weight?

We’ll delve into the science, nuances, and personal factors affecting creatine supplementation and weight gain to clear the air of any myths and leave you only with the facts. Let's jump into some basics:

Key Takeaways

Creatine does not cause significant weight gain or fat accumulation.

While creatine may lead to minor weight gain (2 to 4.5 pounds) during the initial loading phase, this is mainly attributed to increased water retention, not fat accumulation.

Strategies to manage water retention associated with creatine supplementation can help, but the weight gain effects are usually temporary. 

Creatine Basics

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid stored in the body and used as an energy source, primarily in the muscles. It's renowned for its ability to enhance athletic performance by increasing power and stamina during workouts. However, concerns often arise regarding its impact on body weight.

Luckily, many of the tales of serious weapons weight gain after creatine use are based on erroneous understanding, and creatine can actually be part of a healthy weight loss routine.

Let's bust a few of these myths:

Myth: Creatine Makes You Gain Fat

When you think of weight gain, you probably think of fat. It makes sense–most unwanted weight gain is caused by adding on unwanted fat.

Luckily, creatine isn't the culprit, and there's no evidence to indicate that creatine causes any substantial increase in body fat or long-term weight gain. Studies have consistently shown that creatine does not lead to an increase in fat mass.

In fact, findings suggest that creatine supplementation is more likely to result in an overall decrease in body fat.

A comprehensive meta-analysis of creatine supplementation trials involving adults aged 50 and above found no significant difference in fat mass between those taking creatine and those on a placebo; in fact, adults supplementing with creatine experienced an average loss of slightly over a pound of fat mass.

This is primarily because individuals typically supplement creatine to enhance their workouts, which can indirectly contribute to fat loss.

Fact: Creatine May Cause You to Gain Trivial Amounts of Weight.

The common belief that creatine supplementation leads to significant weight gain isn't entirely unfounded. Studies indicate that individuals may experience a slight increase in body weight , typically ranging from 2 to 4.5 pounds, particularly during the initial loading phase of supplementation. This phase involves taking higher doses of creatine to expedite its effects.

In most cases, the weight gained during creatine supplementation can be attributed to increased water retention in the muscles. Creatine is osmotically active, meaning it attracts water, leading to temporary water weight gain. However, it's essential to recognize that this additional weight is primarily water and not fat mass.

Myth: Creatine Weight Gain Causes Permanent Bloat

So we've established that creatine doesn't cause you to gain fat, but it may cause you to gain a few pounds of water weight. Does that mean you'll feel bloated while taking creatine? Not exactly.

First, creatine can help you pack on a bit of water for your muscles–but it's not likely to cause any serious bloat in your gut. All of the excess water is stored in your muscles, helping them appear fuller, and not in your digestive tract.

Fact: Creatine Water Retention is Temporary

The truth is that the weight gain (likely from water retention) that you see after you start taking creatine is temporary.

Creatine will hold some water on your muscles at first, but after regular doses, your body will regulate its fluid levels. Eventually, you won't notice the water retention anymore, but you might notice muscle gain.

Verdict: Does Creatine Make You Fat?

So, the verdict is in: creatine does not cause significant weight gain, and it does not cause you to gain fat. In fact, creatine does not have calories and cannot cause any real weight gain at all. It may cause you to pack on a few pounds of water weight, but this water causes your muscles to look fuller and promotes healthy muscle recovery. 

All in all, creatine can be a good weight loss tool when combined with exercise (but you can still reap some creatine benefits without exercise, too).

How to Combat Creatine Weight Gain (and Manage Water Retention)

If you're experiencing weight gain after starting creatine supplementation, here are some additional techniques to help manage water retention:

  • Incorporate Potassium-Rich Foods: Potassium helps balance sodium levels in the body, which can aid in reducing water retention. Add potassium-rich foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, and avocado to your diet.

  • Engage in Regular Exercise: Physical activity stimulates circulation and helps regulate fluid balance in the body. Aim for regular exercise to promote sweat and reduce water retention.

  • Monitor Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol can disrupt fluid balance and contribute to dehydration, potentially exacerbating water retention. Limit alcohol intake or opt for non-alcoholic alternatives to support fluid balance.

  • Experiment with Herbal Diuretics: Some herbal supplements, such as dandelion extract or parsley, may have diuretic properties that promote the excretion of excess water. Consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating herbal remedies into your routine.

  • Practice Stress Reduction Techniques: Chronic stress can affect hormone levels and fluid retention in the body. Incorporate stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to support overall well-being and potentially reduce water retention.

By combining these additional strategies with the previously mentioned tips, you can effectively manage water retention associated with creatine supplementation and maintain a balanced physique.

Creatine Safety and Considerations

Creatine supplementation, when consumed within recommended doses, is generally regarded as safe and has few associated side effects. Despite anecdotal reports indicating a potential for muscle cramping or dehydration, clinical trials have not consistently supported these claims.

Other Considerations

In addition to its effects on weight, there are several other considerations to keep in mind when using creatine. It's essential to stay hydrated while supplementing with creatine, as dehydration can exacerbate any potential side effects.

Additionally, individuals with pre-existing kidney or liver conditions should consult a healthcare professional before starting creatine supplementation, as it may affect kidney or liver function in some cases.

Finally, while creatine is generally safe for most people, it's always wise to follow recommended dosage guidelines and monitor for any adverse reactions.


Creatine remains one of the most researched and effective supplements for improving athletic performance. While it may lead to minor weight gain due to water retention, creatine does not cause you to gain fat. Understanding the nuances of creatine supplementation can help individuals make informed decisions about its use in their fitness regimen.

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  1. “Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?”

  2. “Changes in Fat Mass Following Creatine Supplementation and Resistance Training in Adults ≥50 Years of Age: A Meta-Analysis”

  3. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise”

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