When you lose someone’s trust, it’s hard to regain it. It’s a principle which can also be applied to the bodybuilding supplement industry.
Enter MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder.
The product’s manufacturer, CytoSport, has been under the public eye for the past six years. A damning report which revealed the presence of metals in some of its products left many consumers wary of taking bodybuilding supplements in general.
Could the company get back on track with MUSCLE MILK® Protein Powder? Famous athlete endorsers such as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Clay Matthews III of the Green Bay Packers believe in the brand’s new battle cry, #STRONGEREVERYDAY. Will the rest of the fitness world, too?
It should be interesting to find out in this review.
About MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder
According to the product’s official website, “MUSCLE MILK® Protein Powder is an excellent source of protein to help fuel recovery from exercise and help build muscle. This easy-to-mix powder can be added to supplement shakes, smoothies, and favorite recipes. Use before workouts, after workouts, or prior to bedtime to help build lean muscle.” Formula notes:
- Thirty-two grams of protein per serving. Not too many protein blends can keep up.
- Unique ingredients. Includes l-glutamine, l-carnitine, and maltodextrin.
- Comes in 18 flavors. Choose from Banana Creme, Blueberry, Cafe Latte, Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel Kick, Cookies N’ Creme, Crushing Cookies N’ Creme, Go Bananas, Intense Vanilla, Knockout Chocolate, Mango Tangerine, Mocha Latte, Peach, Strawberries N’ Creme, Strawberry Banana ,Vanilla, Vanilla Creme, and Vanilla Latte
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder Supplement Facts (Chocolate, 1.93 lbs.)
Serving Size 70 G
Servings Per Container 25
Amount Per Serving
|Calories From Fat||110|
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 12 G||9|
|Saturated Fat 2 G||10|
|Trans Fat 0 G|
|Cholesterol 20 Mg||7|
|Sodium 80 Mg||3|
|Potassium 300 Mg||17|
|Total Carbohydrate 9 G||6|
|Dietary Fiber 5 G||8|
|Sugars 5 G|
|Protein 32 G||192|
Ingredients: Protein Blend (Calcium Sodium Caseinate, 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, Crystalline Fructose, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Dicalcium Phosphate, Less than 1% of: Potassium Chloride, Inulin, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Bicarbonate, Acesulfame Potassium, Soy Lecithin, Di-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, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin, Contains Ingredients Derived from Milk and Soy. This Product Is Manufactured In A Facility That Processes Milk, Soy, Wheat And Eggs.
Instructions: Mix 1 scoop (35g) into 5-8 fl. Oz. Water. Mix 2 scoops (70g) into 10-16 fl. Oz. Of water. Recommended usage for individuals looking to build size And gain muscle mass: Mix 2/3 cup (70g) (2 scoops) (2 servings) Muscle Milk Powder into 10-16 fl. Oz./day. Recommended usage for individuals that want fewer calories: Mix 1/3 cup (35g) (1 scoop) (1 serving) Muscle Milk Powder into 5-8 fl. Oz./day. Muscle milk can be used either before workouts, after workouts or prior to bedtime. Individual nutritional requirements vary depending on gender, body weight, level of activity And exercise/training intensity. CytoSport products complement a smart eating And hydration plan, that when combined with a balanced exercise or resistance training program, may contribute to weight management And recovery from exercise. Use as a part of a well-balanced diet that includes whole foods And other protein sources. Do not use this product as your sole source of nutrition.
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder: Destroy the Opposition Like Clay Matthews
You should know by know Clay Matthews is the Pro Bowl linebacker of the Green Bay Packers, one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League (NFL).
Well, he happens to be an endorser of CytoSport, a bodybuilding supplement company which has come under fire in the past few years (more on that later).
With MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder, you can muscle up a la Clay Matthews.
Why’s that? Well, we simply look at the protein content. This product has a whopping 32 grams of protein per serving.
Big-name protein supplements such as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey and MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder couldn’t even measure up – they can only provide a “measly” 25 grams of protein per scoop (you can check out some of our awesome protein powder supplement reviews here).
In today’s supplement market, 25 grams of protein per serving is the gold standard. But 32 grams of protein per scoop? MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has one of the highest protein content we’ve ever come across. That’s saying a lot, folks.
On to the protein matrix. All we can say is MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has one of the the most diverse protein components.
Check it out: It has calcium sodium caseinate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate (WPI), whey protein hydrolysate, and whey protein concentrate (WPC). It reminds us of BSN SYNTA-6 in this regard.
Most protein blends today have both WPI and WPC. In our opinion, it’s best to have a combination of both because each of them makes up for the other’s shortcoming. WPC has a lower protein concentration (35 percent-80 percent, to be precise), but has more of the essential macros such as carbs and fats.
On the other hand, WPI is at least 80 percent protein. It absorbs faster than WPC but contains less macros.
If you want rapid-fire absorption of protein into your system after training, this product can help – it contains whey protein hydrolysate, a protein with high biological value and excellent digestibility prowess.
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder also has calcium sodium caseinate, a by-product of fresh skim milk. As the name suggests, it is rich in calcium and has decent muscle-sparing abilities like micellar casein (although the latter has higher quality).
Now, let’s break down the formula ingredients:
- Total fat, 12 g: This caught us a bit off guard. We always emphasize the body’s need for fats (especially the good kind) for maintaining proper body temperature and absorbing vitamins. However, MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has one of the highest amount of fats among protein blend supplements. We attribute this to the milk, sunflower oil, and canola oil content. While canola oil is a good source of good fats, it may also contain some bad trans fats. No need to be alarmed, folks. The ingredients list says MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has zero trans fats. If there’s any, the amount should be miniscule.
- Cholesterol, 20 mg: Doesn’t it make you wonder how a product with a heap of ingredients manages to keep its cholesterol levels to manageable levels? MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder trumps MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder, which has 75 mg of cholesterol per serving. Nicely done.
- Sodium, 80 mg: CytoSport also outdid itself in this regard. Just 80 mg of sodium per serving? Hey, sodium isn’t evil – it plays an important role in preventing muscle cramps, among other things. If you have cardiovascular concerns, too much of it may be detrimental (check with your physician first). You can easily spot other protein blends with 150mg-200mg of sodium per scoop. Having said that, MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder is a nice, low-sodium alternative.
- Potassium, 300 mg: Protein blends typically have 100mg-200mg of potassium per serving. This product’s amount is higher than most. While potassium helps regulate blood pressure, too much may not be good if you have cardiovascular or kidney concerns. If this applies to you, ask for your doctor’s advice.
- Total carbohydrate, 9 g: Think about it: Most protein blends today put a premium on whey, egg, and casein protein. How many of them have a good post-workout carb such as maltodextrin? Too few. MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has this ingredient, which helps increase protein synthesis and replenish energy stores after training. Good deal.
First off, we like the 32 grams of protein per serving. Other protein blends won’t be able to keep up with MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder.
The quality seems to be just as good. Proof is in the pudding – WPI, WPC, whey protein hydrolysate, calcium sodium caseinate, and milk protein isolate.
This protein blend also features L-glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body known for its ability to boost protein synthesis and increase growth hormone levels.
Pretty solid. It would have been better had this protein blend had micellar casein instead of calcium sodium caseinate. Solid, nonetheless.
Like we said, CytoSport did a good job in keeping the product’s cholesterol and sodium levels within reasonable limits. Its potassium levels are higher than most protein blend. Talk to your doctor if this concerns you.
On the plus side, MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder has five grams of dietary fiber per serving. Not too many protein blends have this. It ranks right up there with BSN SYNTHA-6, a more popular brand.
Who would have also thought a protein blend would include some l-carnitine? As you may know, this amino acid is renowned for its ability to help burn fats. Although the amount of l-carnitine in MUSCLE MILK® Protein Powder is miniscule, we can’t help but notice.
We also rarely come across a protein blend this transparent (transparency is always a plus). Each scoop has 310 calories, which is higher than most competitors (a protein supplement usually has 120-150 calories per serving). And get this – each vitamin and mineral has a daily value of at least 15 percent.
Checking MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder’s ingredients, you can’t help but notice the daily value for iron, biotin, and pantothenic acid reach 100 percent (to put things in perspective, anything higher than five percent is already considered high).
Chromium’s reaches an astronomical level of 240 percent. Wow.
Back in 2010, ConsumerReports.org conducted a study which revealed Muscle Milk Chocolate Powder contained the heavy metals arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Consumption of such heavy metals can be a health risk, especially to pregnant women and young adults.
A year later, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to CytoSport saying its Chocolate MUSCLE MILK Protein Nutrition Shake and Vanilla Creme MUSCLE MILK® Light Nutritional Shake “are misbranded” because they contain no milk.
It seems the manufacturer took heed, because MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder contains milk protein isolates. But has CytoSport (which Hormel Foods acquired in August 2014) cleaned up its controversial metal label?
Honestly, it’s hard to tell. All we can say is there are too many unfamiliar ingredients (di-alpha tocopheryl acetate, ferrous fumarate, niacinamide, cyanocobalamin) for our liking. That alone may hint at the presence of fillers. Watch out, folks.
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder Benefits
According to the product’s official website, “MUSCLE MILK products complement sound nutrition and hydration practices that, in conjunction with a smart exercise training program, may contribute to recovery from exercise, gains in lean muscle mass, and healthy weight management.”
The manufacturer enumerates the specific benefits of MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder:
- Sustained energy
- Build lean muscle
- Hunger satisfaction
- Workout recovery
We agree with each point, especially the part pertaining to building lean muscle. Who can argue with 32 grams of protein per scoop? Plus, more lean muscle equals more strength, right? Right.
We also feel the maltodextrin and l-glutamine components will help amp up your recovery process. Great additions. All of these add up to the company hashtag of #STRONGEREVERYDAY.
Who Takes It?
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder is for athletes and active individuals who are at least 18 years of age who want to build muscle mass and boost their recovery after their workouts. They can also take the product as an addition to their favorite shakes, smoothies, and snacks to help meet their daily protein requirements.
Any Side Effects?
Talk to your doctor if you are wary of the potassium and chromium content of MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder. If you are suspicious of the possible fillers this product has, better steer clear. Always follow your consumer gut (read this guide to help you buy a good supplement).
Lastly, better skip this product if you are allergic to soy, milk, wheat, and eggs:
- High protein content. Thirty-two grams of protein per serving.
- Good protein matrix. Combines WPI, WPC, whey protein hydrolysates, milk protein isolates, etc.
- Five grams of fiber per serving. Good for digestive health.
- Transparent ingredients. What you see is what you get.
- Eighteen different flavors. Lots of variety.
- Cheap price. $19.96 for a 1.93-lb. container.
- High potassium content. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about this.
- Possible inclusion of fillers. This, and the past history of the manufacturer, gives us some second thoughts.
Pricing & Buying Info
- 1 1.93-lb. container (25-Day Supply): $19.96
- Available online and in retail
Final Word on MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder
It’s hard to trust a brand which has had a spotty reputation. Certainly CytoSport has run into some tough spots the past few years. After reports of its supplements’ content leaked out, the company had to regain the trust of its consumers – no easy feat, to say the least.
MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder represents a new version of the product which underwent so much scrutiny (look ma, it finally has actual milk content!).
Certainly, its pluses outweigh its minuses – it’s a good product for gaining muscle mass and amping up the recovery process. However, we can’t help but raise our eyebrows on the possible inclusion of fillers.
We like this version better than the company’s old products. Like we said, always follow your gut. This one may be something worth giving a shot.