Update 7/27/19. Muscle Milk is one of the most popular protein powders on the market. It's been around for years. From my own experience, I can tell you it's also one of the best tasting protein powders too. In this review, I will break Muscle Milk down by its ingredients and show you the good and not-so-good. This will give you a better idea if it's right for you.
Muscle Milk Nutrition Facts
Muscle Milk has the following nutrition information:
|Amount Per Serving||Per 1 scoop||Per 2 scoops|
|Calories from fat||50||110|
|Total fat||6 g (9% DV)||12g (18% DV)|
|Saturated fat||2 g (10% DV)||4 g (20% DV)|
|Trans fat||0 g||0 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||1 g||1.5 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||3 g||6 g|
|Cholesterol||10 mg (3% DV)||20 mg (7% DV)|
|Sodium||80 mg (3% DV)||160 mg (7% DV)|
|Potassium||300 mg (9% DV)||610 mg (17% DV)|
|Total carbohydrate||9 g (3% DV)||19 g (6% DV)|
|Dietary fiber||2 g||5 g|
|Sugars||2 g||5 g|
|Protein||16 g (32% DV)||32 g (64% DV)|
In the table above “DV” refers to percent daily value. The letter “g” refers to grams and “mg” refers to milligrams.
Muscle Milk Calories
One scoop of Muscle Milk is 35 grams. To put things in perspective, 28 grams = 1 ounce. So, 1 scoop is a bit more than an ounce. In one scoop, there are 150 calories while in 2 scoops Muscle Milk powder has 310 calories. It's more calories you mix it with anything other than water. Because of these calories, I don't recommend 2 scoops if weight loss is your goal.
What Kind of Fats Are In Muscle Milk?
From the Nutrition Facts label above we see that Muscle Milk is high (20%) in saturated fat if you use 2 scoops. I believe much of this saturated fat comes from the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the product. Unlike other types of saturated fats though, MCTs, don't appear to raise triglyceride levels.
The label says other sources of saturated fat comes from sunflower oil, cocoa powder (chocolate flavor only), the protein blend and soy lecithin.
Sometimes MCTs are used for weight loss. My guess is this is why they are in the product. There is some research noting MCTs can help weight loss.
Every 2 scoops of Muscle Milk powder provides 1200 mg of MCTs. MCTs can also be found by themselves on Amazon.
Protein In Muscle Milk
The supplement provides a good amount of protein – 16 grams in 1 scoop and 32 grams of protein in 2 scoops. The protein in Muscle Milk comes these ingredients, as they appear in order on the ingredients label:
- Calcium sodium caseinate
- Milk protein isolate
- Whey protein isolate
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate
- Whey protein concentrate
I've listed these in descending order. In other words, calcium sodium caseinate makes up most of the protein blend while whey protein concentrate makes up the least.
Does Muscle Milk Have BCAAs?
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are popular in bodybuilding shakes and powders. Muscle Milk powder does have BCAAs but the label does not tell me how much BCAAs it has per scoop.
Fiber In Muscle Milk
Muscle milk does provide some fiber but unless you use 2 scoops, it's not technically a “high fiber” shake. Even if it was, I would not choose this product because of its fiber content. There are other low calorie, high fiber alternatives out there. Even the fiber in Metamucil might help (click to read review).
If you make your own shakes with fruits/veggies you are getting LOTs of fiber too.
Muscle Milk Vitamins
Muscle Milk has the following vitamins and minerals
|Nutrient||1 scoop used||2 scoops used|
|Vitamin A||15% DV||35% DV|
|Vitamin C||15% DV||35% DV|
|Calcium||25% DV||50% DV|
|Iron||15% DV||35% DV|
|Vitamin D||15% DV||35% DV|
|Vitamin E||15% DV||35% DV|
|Thiamin||15% DV||35% DV|
|Riboflavin||15% DV||35% DV|
|Niacin||15% DV||35% DV|
|Vitamin B6||15% DV||35% DV|
|Folate||15% DV||35% DV|
|Vitamin B12||15% DV||35% DV|
|Biotin||15% DV||35% DV|
|Pantothenic acid||15% DV||35% DV|
|Phosphorus||20% DV||40% DV|
|Iodine||15% DV||35% DV|
|Magnesium||15% DV||35% DV|
|Zinc||15% DV||35% DV|
|Copper||15% DV||35% DV|
|Chromium||40% DV||80% DV|
As can be seen, for the most part, we don't get a lot of the vitamins or minerals and that's ok. Vitamins and minerals are only needed in small amounts. That's they are called “micro-nutrients”. One exception is chromium. Muscle Milk provides a LOT of chromium – 40% of daily value and 80% Daily value for 1 and 2 scoops respectively.
I hope they don't do this for weight loss because that is an urban legend based on poor research. Here's my review of chromium and weight loss to learn more about that.
Does Muscle Milk Taste Good?
I think Muscle Milk is one of the best tasting protein powders I have ever tried. Whether I put it in oatmeal, in a smoothie or mixed with milk, it tastes very good. One of the things I most like about the powder is that you can cook with it. Because of the higher fat content, Muscle Milk does not clump up (clot together) when it's microwaved. I like making chocolate oatmeal with it.
Try this protein oatmeal recipe:
- 2 scoops oatmeal (or 2 scoops Oat Bran)
- 1 scoop chocolate Muscle Milk
- 1/2 cup of 1% milk
- Microwave for 1.5 minutes
- Add some Kretschmer wheat germ
- 2 scoops frozen blueberries
Muscle Milk Ingredients
Here are the ingredients in the chocolate version of this protein powder. Read the table from left to right. Ingredients are listed in descending order so if you do this, you'll see which ingredients are present the most – and which are present the least.
|calcium sodium casinate||Milk protein isolate||Whey protein isolate||Whey protein hydrolysate|
|Whey protein concentrate||Lactoferrin||L-glutamine||Taurine|
|Maltodextrin||Alkalized cocoa powder||Sunflower oil||Soluble corn fiber|
|Canola oil||Chrystaline fructose||Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)||Natural/artificial flavors|
|Dicalcium phosphate||Potassium chloride||Inulin||Mgnesium oxide|
|Potassium bicarbonate||Acesulfame potassium||Soy lecithin||DL alpha tocopheryl acetate|
|Ascorbic acid||Sucralose||Ferrous Fumarate||Vitamin A palmitate|
|Niacinamide||Zinc oxide||Copper gluconate||D-calcium pantothenate|
|L-Carnitine||Cholecalciferol||Pyridoxine hydrochloride||Thiamine mononitrate|
|Riboflavin||Chromium chloride||Folic acid||Biotin|
What Are The Sweeteners?
The ingredients list tells us that Muscle Milk contains:
- Crystalline fructose
- Acesulfame potassium
Both acesulfame and sucralose are artificial sweeteners. Fructose comes from fruits and is sometimes called “fruit sugar.” Crystalline fructose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are not really the same. Crystalline fructose is more concentrated than HFCS. Because it's very sweet, less is needed to get the desired effect – and that means fewer calories -theoretically – in a product. That said, fructose can raise triglycerides so people with triglyceride problems should monitor their levels if using Muscle Milk and other products that contain fructose.
The product label says that fructose is used to help make glycogen which is a source of energy our muscles use during exercise. There is research on this. Providing several different types of sugar might also benefit exercise because it allows for several entryways for the sugar to get into the muscles to make energy.
These are some of the reasons why I've seen fructose in various exercise drinks over the years. Even so, given its relationship to heart disease, I wish companies would take crystalline fructose and fructose out of products. Interestingly, I noticed crystalline fructose is not in the ingredients of Muscle Milk Pro Series 50 powder.
Is It Gluten-Free?
Yes, Muscle Milk is free from gluten.
Folate Or Folic Acid?
If you look at the table of vitamins and minerals, you will see folate listed. But, in the actual list of ingredients, it's called folic acid. That says to me that Muscle Milk has folic acid and not folate.
Folate is the natural form of this B vitamin. Folic acid is the synthetic form. While we do absorb folic acid better than folate, I'm not sure if this is always a good thing. Some research hints folic acid might increase cancer risk. Folate -which we get from foods – does not do this. Obviously, this is a complicated issue. For women who not thinking about having babies, I think folate is best. Speak to your dietitian for more insights on this issue.
What About Wheat Allergies?
The product label states that the Muscle Milk is made in a facility that also processes wheat, soy milk, and eggs. Those with allergies to these products should consider this.
Does Muscle Milk Go Bad?
There is a “best by” date stamped somewhere on the container. That doesn't mean you can't use the product after that date. When a protein powder expires would depend on where and how it was stored. Limiting its exposure to heat and moisture can slow down spoilage.
What Is The NSF?
Muscle Milk bears the letters NSF on its container. The NSF is a company that provides independent testing of supplements. Basically, this is an extra level of confidence people can have about the supplements they take.
Supplements bearing the NSF stamp of approval don't contain any illegal or banned ingredients. This is important for athletes who are subject to random drug and steroid tests. Using NSF certified supplements can reduce the chances of failing a urinalysis test.
Does Muscle Milk Have Creatine?
Creatine is a popular supplement for increasing muscle strength and power. Muscle Milk powder does not contain creatine. That's not a problem because most people don't need creatine supplements. You make about 1-2 grams naturally and most people get about 1-2 grams a day from foods they eat. Foods rich in creatine include chicken, steak and turkey. Basically, any food that has a mom will have creatine.
It's Not At GNC or Vitamin Shoppe Anymore
In 2018, Both GNC and Vitamin Shoppe stopped carrying Muscle Milk. Why? When I asked, I never got a good answer. People I spoke to who worked at GNC said it was because it wasn't a good source of protein. Those at Vitamin Shoppe said they did not know. One thing I noticed is Vitamin Shoppe has a protein power called BodyTech Hexatein-SR which has a lot in common with Muscle Milk.
Is it possible both Vitamin Shoppe and GNC stopped carrying Muscle Milk because they wanted to save money by selling their own versions?
Is Muscle Milk Good?
I like Muscle Milk and that's primarily because it lets me add a good tasting protein powder to my oatmeal. Adding 1 scoop to my smoothies also makes me fill fuller longer as would any other protein powder. I think Muscle Milk is best used for people who exercise regularly and those where weight loss is not the main goal.