Originally Posted by Aplin
It is not.
You WILL retain water if you take Creatine Monohydrate. It will take about 7-14 days for your body to go back to normal.
As a fighter I experimented with this. I walk around about 75kg. I took creatine (diet EXACTLY the same) and my weight went up to 80kg in 6 weeks. I stopped taking creatine and was down to 76/76.5kg within about 10 days.
The alternative is Creatine Ethyl Ester. You will not retain the water due to the fact it isn't bonded with water, rather it is Monohydrate with ether attached (which the body better absorbs). However, there are studies that show the rate of strength and power increases is not quite as high as Monohydrate.
So, you have to weight it up: Monohydrate is likely to give you slightly better results (but you will look puffy whilst getting them) vs Ethyl Ester (which certainly boosts your creatine levels - but whether more or less than Monohydrate hasn't been conclusively proven).
Where did I say that you will not retain water? I just said that it is largely blown out of proportion. I have never known anybody to retain 11lbs of water after taking creatine tbh; it certainly doesn't make you look 'puffy', as the majority of the retention is going to be intra-cellular.
Francaux & Poortmans (1999) found 3.74lbs weight gain over 9 weeks (including a loading phase) and Kutz & Grunter (2003) saw around 1kg over 6 weeks I believe it was. Never saw such retention in the literature or anecdotally, although I do accept that retention will vary; it seems dose-dependant; Rawson et al last year saw no retention with intake of 2.5g I think it was.
I don't think there's any harm in seeing how you respond both performance-wise and in regards to weight fluctuations. If you see no scale-weight change but notice performance benefits in the gym - you may aswell take it, it's cheap and safe enough.