If taste is the most important factor to you when choosing a nutritional drink then Muscle Milk will not leave you disappointed. While there are other products on the market that contain higher levels of quality protein there are few that are quite as enjoyable as this blend.
When you think of protein powder, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
Is it a picture of beautiful white or brown powder hitting the bottom of the shaker bottle ready to be delivered to your muscles?
Or maybe you’ve had a bad experience and your mind is fresh with the awful taste of some of the more unsavory blends out there.
Perhaps it’s a certain brand that’s stuck in your mind. I’d wager to say that if we were to ask about the first protein powder brand that came to mind, there’s an 80% chance you’d say, “Muscle Milk of course.”
Whether or not you believe the hype behind it, you can’t deny Muscle Milk’s dominance in regards to branding.
Their products are literally EVERYWHERE, from gas stations to vending machines at airports—their presence as a leader in fitness nutrition is undeniable, even if you’re not enveloped in that world.
Muscle Milk is a product developed by Cytosport, a sports nutrition company that was founded in 1998 by the father and son duo: Greg and Michael Pickett.
The brand quickly became one of the world’s most well-known protein powders and has sold millions of dollars around the globe.
Though the company has had a lot of success, it has also endured a fair share of challenges.
In 2010, it was reported by Consumer Reports that an investigated yielded the findings of heavy metals when testing Muscle Milk products including cadmium, mercury, and arsenic.
Despite all of this controversy, Muscle Milk has remained resilient and has still continued to etch its legacy in the sports nutrition industry and while their commitment to staying on the cutting edge of athletic performance is great, there are many other brands that have righteous mission statements, but aren’t as widely embraced as Muscle Milk.
Let’s take a closer look to see what’s really inside of the blend that changed the face of fitness supplements, and took protein shakes mainstream.
This Muscle Milk review will help you figure out it this blend is the right one for you.
A large container of Muscle Milk comes labeled with a nice story about how big your muscles can be, pictures of protein molecules, and some educational words on the way different parts of the protein—as well as fats and carbs—affect your body.
If you glance over to the left, a long list of ingredients shows you why Muscle Milk has come under fire, to the point of being called “fat-laden junk food”—they include:
- Protein Blend (Calcium Sodium Caseinate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Lactoferrin, L-Glutamine, Taurine)
- Cane Sugar
- Natural Flavors
- Sunflower Oil
- Cocoa Powder
- Canola Oil
- Medium Chain Triglycerides
- Crystalline Fructose
- Potassium Chloride
- Soluble Corn Fiber
- Dicalcium Phosphate
- Magnesium Oxide
- Potassium Bicarbonate
- Stevia Extract
- Soy Lecithin
- Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate
- Monk Fruit Extract
- Ascorbic Acid
- Ferrous Fumarate
- Vitamin A Palmitate
- Zinc Oxide
- Copper Gluconate
- D-Calcium Pantothenate
- Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
- Thiamin Mononitrate
- Chromium Chloride
- Folic Acid
- Potassium Iodide
There has been a lot of commentary on the efficacy of Muscle Milk vs. the ingredients they use. Their main selling point is clearly their taste.
Of course there are scattered reviews bashing the taste, but that’s a small percentage.
The reason that Muscle Milk has become such a huge product, even being sold at convenience stores next to your favorite energy drink, is undoubtedly because of its palatable taste.
It definitely isn’t because of the high protein content. Here are the relevant nutrition facts:
- 6g total fat
- 10g carbs
- 2g sugar
- 16g protein
What is least impressive is that there are a measly sixteen grams of protein per serving, further driving the point home that this is a drink of the smoothie variety and not a product that most fitness professionals would take when trying to pack on the weight.
Another important note is that Muscle Milk doesn’t rank very high on LabDoor.com. The one area in which they received a very low score was, surprise, ingredient safety.
LabDoor documented a finding of Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K) when testing the product, which is a controversial sweetener that has been linked to negative effects of prenatal development, cognitive functions and carcinogenicity.
Again, depending on your stance when it comes to artificial sweeteners, you might not care about their use. But there are plenty of other ingredients in Muscle Milk for you nitpickers to have a cow over.
Ultimately like so many other protein blends that are around, there are several other options that will give you the same result, as well as a multitude of other powders that will give you the same benefits without all the additives.
The price is not too shabby either, coming at around $40 USD for a 5lb. Container.
- Versatility (can be used pre and post workout, or just as a general supplement)
- Lots of ingredients, including preservatives, fillers, and sweeteners
- Low protein per serving (16g)
- High carbs
While it’s priced low, Muscle Milk delivers below average protein per serving, which might not make it as good a value as you would assume right of the bat (kudos to CytoSport’s marketing team for that one).
Honestly, we feel that Muscle Milk is best used as a meal replacement option rather than a bodybuilding one.
Their heavy, education-based marketing efforts have brought them huge success in the everyday consumer market, but realistically, a fitness professional may suggest another option.
Unless of course, they are somehow profiting from a sale
Taste and mixing ability also rank high for Muscle Milk, and the flavor variety is pretty extensive, though the insane amount of (seemingly) unnecessary ingredients may not lend itself well to this protein blend.
It seems that these days, you either get a protein powder which is delicious with tons of crazy ingredients, or, zero added ingredients with a “meh” taste.
In the end Muscle Milk seems like an average product created for an average market, one that they’ve clearly researched and served well, having led to incredible success. Take it or leave it, but it’s clearly here to stay.
Hope you enjoy our Muscle Milk review! If you decide to try it out be sure to send us a note and tell us your thoughts.