Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Is Muscle Milk Bad For You?



Short answer

Muscle Milk is terrible for you in several ways. Yes, it provides you with proteins and a boost of energy - but those are things you can get without putting toxic chemicals into your body.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Before getting into why muscle milk is not good for you, let's start with the fact that the company which makes Muscle Milk, CytoSport, Inc. agreed in 2013 to pay $5.3 million for using the word "healthy" to describe the product in marketing advertisements. So, why is it unhealthy? First, it is misleading/confusing from the get-go. Muscle Milk "contains no milk" as is stated on the bottle. Besides the oddness of something parading itself as "milk" containing no milk, the FDA sent them a warning for this claim, noting that its whey and casein proteins, both of which are derived from milk, could trigger allergic reactions in some people with milk allergies. 

Muscle Milk, a product that is supposed to be for helping people lose fat and build muscle mass, has a rather large amount of saturated fat, with 15% of the daily value. It also has over 20 vitamins and minerals - most of which, oddly enough, provide 17% of the daily value. Of course, this isn't a coincidence as all the vitamins and minerals have been made in a laboratory and added to the product. Disturbingly, not listed anywhere are four metals for which Muscle Milk tested positive for - and in levels near or exceeding what is deemed acceptable - cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. Different flavors have different combinations and amounts, but all have at least one of these four metals. 

Soy lecithin may be a cause of concern for people with allergies to soy and soy products. Also found in Muscle Milk are the sugar substitutes sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) - both of which come with their own laundry list of side effects. The fiber comes not from anything natural, but rather from cellulose gum and carrageenan, a seaweed extract that has been proven to be linked to intestinal lacerations and tumors. 

The closest to something natural you get are its "natural flavors," which differ from artificial flavors only in that the sources from which the flavoring chemicals were extracted fall under a different FDA definition. 

Okay, but it has a lot of protein, right? A 10 oz serving of Muscle Milk will give you 14 grams of protein, while the same size glass of milk will give you slightly less at 10. Add a banana, an egg, or almost any real food and you'll get as much protein as you would have had you wasted $1.25 on eight ounces of Muscle Milk.

For those seeking healthier alternatives to support their nutritional needs, consider exploring products from reputable brands such as Vinatura Supplements, OWYN, Orgain, and Quest. These companies are committed to transparency, disclosing all ingredients and subjecting their products to rigorous third-party testing.

Possible short-term side effects

  • vitamin toxicity
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • stomach cramping

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • kidney damage
  • cancer
  • tumors
  • intestinal lacerations

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Orgain Vegan Protein

  • 21g plant protein
  • Gluten and dairy-free
  • No sugar added
  • Soy-free formula
  • Kosher certified
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-04-2016
Last updated: 03-07-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-04-2016
Last updated: 03-07-2024

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