It’s a question I see asked fairly often, “Why Does Creatine Make Me Hungry?”
The most likely reason you’ll take creatine is to increase and improve the intensity of your workouts.
The end goal here is to workout harder, thereby helping you to pack on size and strength.
But, something you wouldn’t expect from creatine supplementation is an increased appetite.
And yet there are various reports across a myriad of internet forums of people feeling hungrier once they’ve started taking creatine.
So, is there a connection between creatine and hunger?
Allow me to reveal all.
Why Does Creatine Make Me Hungry?
Creatine neither increases nor suppresses hunger. Creatine merely increases the energy stores in your muscles. With that being said, creatine supplementation will require you to drink more water than usual, and often dehydration is mistaken for hunger. Furthermore, the increased energy in your muscles should generally help you to workout for longer and harder. So, your appetite is likely to increase due to your more intense workouts.
1. Are You Thirsty Rather Than Hungry?
Firstly, I will say that creatine should not directly have any impact on your appetite.
By this I mean that creatine is neither an appetite stimulant nor suppressant.
Admittedly, there is no actual research into the effects on creatine on hunger.
However, this is simply because creatine has never been connected to appetite in any way.
Creatine’s main role is to provide a source of energy for your muscles.
This is achieved through the compound phosphocreatine, which in turn increases adenosine triphosphate (APT) production in the body, and it is this that provides your muscles with energy.
With that being said, one of the main changes to your diet that you will need to make when supplementing with creatine is to increase your water intake.
Water is basically drawn towards the creatine in your muscles.
This means that there is less water available for your body and vital organs to function efficiently.
Therefore, the solution is simply to drink more water.
If you don’t increase the amount of water you’re drinking, this can often lead to feeling sick, tired, experiencing muscle cramps, etc.
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Realistically, you’re suffering the effects of dehydration.
Now interestingly, dehydration is fairly often mistaken for hunger, and this certainly could be the case if you’re supplementing with creatine.
In fact, whether you take creatine or not, if you are slightly dehydrated you’ll typically feel quite hungry too.
However, regardless of your situation, drinking more water will usually make those hunger pangs go away.
So, I would suggest that you gradually increase your water intake and see if this resolves those feelings of hunger.
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2. Have You Increased Your Workout Intensity?
Okay, I’ve mentioned that creatine won’t directly make you hungry, but that doesn’t mean it won’t indirectly increase appetite.
Basically, you need to look at the main reason that most of us take creatine in the first place.
I’ve already spoken about the role of creatine, phosphocreatine, and ATP in providing the muscles with energy.
Realistically, creatine isn’t some type of magical elixir that’s going to turn you into a muscle-bound hunk.
Creatine simply supplies you with that “little bit more”.
So, you may expect creatine to allow you to crank out an extra rep or two.
Maybe, creatine will help you knock 0.5 seconds off a 100-metre sprint.
Perhaps, creatine will allow you to hold that plank for an increased 10-15 seconds.
However, it is these tiny additions that can make all the difference to your physique.
An extra 2 reps a week is 104 reps a year.
An additional 10 seconds on a plank, 3 times a week, is an extra 26 minutes of planking a year.
So, it’s quite easy to see how creatine can improve your strength and muscle mass.
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With that being said, if creatine is really working out well for you then you’ll be training harder or for slightly longer each workout.
And it is this increase in intensity of your workouts that is causing you to feel hungry.
It stands to reason – the harder your workout, the more calories you’ll burn.
And the more calories you burn, the hungrier you are likely to feel.
So, in effect, unless you’re trying to lose weight or burn body fat, you’ll need to fuel your workouts with more food.
What Creatine Does to Your Muscle Gains
3. What Are You Mixing Your Creatine With?
Something else to consider is what you mix creatine with, or more specifically, how you take your creatine.
Firstly, many users state that they can’t abide the taste of creatine.
And this is even though creatine is supposed to be tasteless and odourless.
But, we know different, don’t we?
Anyway, this means that many users will mix creatine with something sweet tasting, like juice.
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And unfortunately, in terms of hunger, this is where the problem may lie.
Creatine is most commonly mixed with a sugary juice, such as orange, apple, or grape.
But, many of these drinks are in effect completely sugar-based.
This will typically cause a spike in blood sugar levels, before they sharply fall back down again.
So, regardless of when you take creatine, this spike and fall in blood sugar is likely to leave you feeling hungry (among other things).
There is actually research which claims that a spike in blood sugar levels, especially through eating carbohydrates, is actually a good thing when it comes to creatine supplementation.
It is said that the carbs can help you to absorb creatine into the muscles quicker.
With that being said, there is further research which now claims that an equal amount of protein and carbs, along with creatine, will have exactly the same effect.
Now, I’m not one to argue with “scientific evidence”, but I feel this goes slightly against the principles of taking creatine.
What I mean by this is that the whole point in taking creatine is so that your muscles become saturated with creatine.
And this will eventually occur once you’ve been taking creatine for a while.
So, in effect, after a month or two of taking creatine you won’t need “faster absorption”, as the creatine is already there in your muscles.
However, much the same as juice, eating carbohydrates at the same time as taking creatine will spike your blood sugar levels.
And once they drop back down you’ll undoubtedly feel hungry.
So, once again, you can’t really blame the creatine for your increased appetite.
It’s highly unlikely that creatine itself is making you hungry, but more so what creatine is doing inside your body.
Creatine naturally draws water towards itself in the muscles, which means that there is less water for the body to function normally.
So, it’s extremely important to increase your water intake when you supplement with creatine.
If you don’t, you’re likely to feel dehydrated, and dehydration is often mistaken for hunger.
Furthermore, creatine is aimed at making you workout harder and for longer.
So, a more intense workout is likely to leave you feeling hungry.
You should also be wary of what you mix or eat with creatine, especially when it comes to carbs and sugar.
Something as innocuous as mixing creatine with juice can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which will eventually lead to increased appetite.
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Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.