Is Creatine Good For Weight Loss?

Written by Tihomir Stefanov, M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

Fact Checked

In theory, weight loss and creatine should not mix. 

After all, creatine is a compound that helps muscles create energy, and it is often taken by people who are trying to put on muscle mass. 

So does that mean that using creatine can actually sabotage your weight loss goals? 

In this article, we’ll delve into just that and answer common questions, such as:

  1. Is creatine good for weight loss?
  2. Should I take creatine while trying to lose belly fat?
  3. Will creatine stall weight loss?
  4. Should I take creatine while trying to lose weight?

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the question at hand!

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If you’ve wondered, “should I take creatine while trying to lose weight?” you are best off understanding what creatine is in the first place.

Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in the body, and it helps to supply energy to cells. 

It is typically stored in the muscles, and it is often taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders because it can help to improve muscle strength and endurance. 

When taken as a supplement, creatine saturates the muscles’ creatine reserves, where it is used for energy during high-intensity performance. 

And well, because your energy reserves are saturated, this allows you to have a higher training output as an end result of taking creatine. 

Regardless of the goal, creatine is one of the best-researched and safest supplements for optimizing training performance.

What’s Needed To Lose Weight?

Now that you’ve quickly learned what creatine is and why it might be a good idea to take it regardless of your goal, let’s answer the main question – is creatine good for weight loss?

In order to do this, we have to come clear on what’s actually needed for weight loss, what the side effects of weight loss are, and see how creatine fits into the whole picture.

And let us tell you – no supplement or magic pill can replace the one inevitable rule of weight loss…

The Caloric Deficit!

The caloric deficit is a hotly debated topic in the weight loss community. 

Some people maintain that it is the only way to lose weight, while others claim that it is possible to lose weight without reducing calorie intake. 

So, what is the truth? The answer may surprise you. 

The caloric deficit is, in fact, an inevitable rule of weight loss. 

This is because when you reduce your calorie intake, your body must compensate by burning stored fat for energy. 

In other words, you cannot lose weight without creating a deficit of calories – this can be done by decreasing food, increasing activity, or both.

It’s simple thermodynamics.

However, this does not mean that all weight loss diets are created equal. 

While a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, it is also important to consider the quality of the calories you consume. 

A diet rich in healthy fats and proteins will help you to feel satiated and energized, while a diet consisting mostly of processed foods will leave you feeling tired and sluggish. 

The bottom line is this: if you want to lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit. 

But be sure to focus on quality as well as quantity when it comes to your food (and supplement) choices.

Side-Effects Of Weight Loss

For most people, the notion of finally losing those excess pounds, once and for all, feels like a dream.

But the truth is that a period of weight loss, while perceived as good by us, is a bit different for the body.

It is a form of controlled starvation, during which the body desperately tries to get back to baseline.

This is why there is one major side effect of weight loss to be discussed and paid attention to – loss of lean body mass (LBM).

Let’s briefly explain this and then discuss how and why creatine may actually be good for your weight loss journey!

LBM Loss

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to be aware that you may not only be losing fat. 

Lean body mass is also often lost during periods of weight loss (think of lean body mass as any other tissue in the body except fat.) 

In some cases, up to 25% of the weight you lose may be lean body mass. 

While this can help you shed pounds quickly, it’s not always ideal in the long term. 

Losing too much lean body mass can lead to a slight decrease in metabolism and an increase in fatigue. 

And besides all that, let’s face it – retained, well-shaped lean body mass is what can really contribute to the true goal of weight loss – looking better.   

This is why it’s important to do your best to retain as much lean body mass as possible.

And it may be that creatine can do just that…

Is Creatine Good For Weight Loss?

Now to the question – should I take creatine while trying to lose weight?

As you learned, LBM loss and weight loss go hand in hand, but the goal is to minimize that loss of lean body mass.  

And well, if you’re trying to lose weight while retaining lean body mass, training is key.   

Where does creatine come into play? and is creatine good for weight loss?  

Well, the idea here is that optimizing your training performance may help you achieve that goal.  

And creatine can do just that.  

So basically, while creatine won’t directly impact your weight loss, it can increase your training output, thereby making it easier to create a caloric deficit (because you are more active) and retain lean body mass.  

Essentially, high-output training sessions during a caloric deficit are the best way for you to tell your body, “Buddy, I’ll need this muscle.”

And let’s not forget – these same high-performance training sessions will help keep your metabolism fast and sharp.

This is crucial to know because a slower metabolism is another issue that people on a diet face.

Will Creatine Stall Weight Loss?

If you’ve paid attention to what we discussed thus far, you should know the answer to the question of “will creatine stall weight loss?”

Here are a couple of facts for you:

  1. Creatine is simply an energy compound used during training
  2. Weight loss is a result of consuming fewer calories than your body needs for maintenance
  3. During weight loss, we also lose muscle mass, which we must retain
  4. To retain said muscle mass, you need adequate protein and proper exercise
  5. Creatine can help you maintain exercise performance, therefore making muscle retention easier

All in all, creatine won’t stall weight loss and it can only help, but there is one thing that people are particularly concerned about when it comes to creatine supplementation.

Creatine & Water Retention

As you learned, creatine is a popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and average gym Joes who are just trying to shed excess pounds. 

It is believed to help improve muscle mass growth and retention, as well as contribute to a better exercise output and, therefore, a quicker metabolism.

However, one of the supposed side effects of creatine is water retention. 

And though most people will convince you not to take creatine during a period of weight loss because of that water retention, the truth is a bit different.

Creatine draws water into the muscles, and the most it can do is make your muscles look fuller and fresh rather than bloated.

This is because the water is drawn into the muscle, and not subcutaneously (under the skin), which is usually the type of water retention that makes you look bloated.

For all of these reasons, if you’re wondering, “should I take creatine while trying to lose belly fat” wonder no more- creatine can be one of the best decisions you’ve made on your fat loss journey!

The Verdict

So, what’s the verdict?

While creatine supplementation will not directly impact weight loss, it can be beneficial because it optimizes training performance and therefore helps you retain muscle mass.

In addition, as people lose weight, there are certain adaptations that occur, slowing down the metabolism.

The increased/optimized training performance that creatine helps with may just be another key factor for retaining your metabolic rate, even when losing weight.

So there you have it – creatine can, in fact, be one of your best bets during a period of weight loss!

What is your experience with creatine? Comment below, and let’s discuss!

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