Muscle Milk is the brand name of a product that claims to have protein similar to that found in human breast milk. It is primarily marketed to people eager to build their muscle mass, such as body builders or people who dream of being body builders one day. But you may wonder: is muscle milk good or bad for you?
Is Muscle Milk Bad For You?
Muscle Milk comes in powder form. The company claims that the protein in the Muscle Milk (which is not really milk) can support growth of new lean muscle, and greater loss of body fat. It does not have any proof to support either of these claims. Muscle Milk’s ingredients mean that it is not at all healthy. Overall, the product is bad for you, especially when consumed regularly and/or in excess.
Muscle Milk’s Ingredients
Muscle Milk powder’s protein blend contains whey concentrate, whey hydrolysate, whey isolate, milk protein isolate, and calcium sodium caseinate. Other ingredients in Muscle Milk include the sweeteners fructose and sucralose, soy lecithin, fatty acids, corn fiber, canola and sunflower oils, and maltodextrin.
The primary sources of protein in Muscle Milk powder are casein and whey. These milk proteins have all essential amino acids. However, one serving of Muscle Milk has just 14 grams of protein, only 4 grams more than a glass of real milk of the same size. The sugars and other problematic ingredients in Muscle Milk makes simply drinking a larger glass of real milk a much better choice.
The product has a lot of saturated fat. In fact, one serving has 15 percent of the recommended maximum daily value of that kind of fat. While Muscle Milk has many different vitamins and minerals, none of them appears to be in significant enough amounts. It has been found that Muscle Milk contains potentially dangerous amounts of harmful substances such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.
The soy lecithin in Muscle Milk is problematic, too. For a number of different reasons, soy lecithin is not generally considered a healthy ingredient. Also, people who have allergies to soy lecithin will have issues with Muscle Milk.
The fiber in Muscle Milk is from carrageenan and cellulose gum. Carrageenan is a seaweed extract. It is a worrying ingredient, as it has been shown to be linked to the development of intestinal lacerations and even tumors.
Muscle Milk (especially when consumed in large amounts) can have a number of short-term side effects. These can include:
- stomach cramping
- vitamin toxicity
When consumed in large amounts on a long-term basis, more serious complications can result, including for example:
- Intestinal lacerations
- Kidney damage
- Weight gain
Drinking an excessive amount of muscle milk will lead to an excessive amount of protein entering the body. An excessive intake of protein can eventually lead to kidney damage.
Some of the symptoms of kidney damage can include:
- Feeling of pressure when urinating
- Urine that is purple, red, or brown in color
- Urine that is bubbly or foamy in appearance
- Waking up at night to urinate
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Breath that smells like ammonia
- Food takes on a metallic taste
- Puffiness or swelling in the face
- Swelling of feet or hands
- Itchy skin
- Difficulty in thinking clearly
- Weakness and/or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling cold, even in warm environments
Excessive intake of muscle milk can quickly lead to weight gain. This is problematic because when you are overweight or obese, you are much greater risk of developing a wide range of health problems such as:
- Kidney disease
- Fatty liver disease
- Sleep apnea
- Specific kinds of cancer
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Type 2 diabetes
Types of cancer that people who are overweight or obese tend to be at greater risk of developing, include:
- Kidney cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus)
- Cancer of the rectum or colon
- Breast cancer (after menopause)
One of the potential side effects of excessive intake of Muscle Milk is vitamin toxicity. Muscle Milk has large amounts of vitamins D and A. The body needs only a specific amount of these vitamins (and others) each day. There can be negative effects if you exceed those needs. This is especially problematic with Vitamins D and A, because they are fat soluble. A result of their being fat soluble is the fact that the excess Vitamins A and D in your intake will not be absorbed as they should be.
This can mean that vitamin toxicity will result. Whether or not you will develop such toxicity depends partly on factors such as your metabolism, gender, weight, and height. If you have vitamin toxicity, you might suffer from severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Getting too much Vitamin D can eventually cause an excessive amount of calcium to develop in the blood. Having too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can have symptoms such as fatigue, confusion, bone pain, muscle pain or weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, frequent urination, intense thirst, loss of appetite, and feeling sick.
Getting too much Vitamin A can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, and headache. Excessive intake of either Vitamin D or Vitamin A can be damaging and even dangerous.
Muscle Milk is Usually Something Best Avoided
While Muscle Milk has a large amount of protein and does have a number of nutrients, it is best avoided for most people. Excessive and/or long-term intake of Muscle Milk can lead to several different health problems.
Additionally, it can have numerous short-term side effects. If you are eager to increase your intake of protein, you should stick to getting your protein from natural sources (such as meat, legumes, real milk, and a variety of other foods).
“Should I Take Muscle Milk Prior to Workouts?” http://www.livestrong.com/article/339802-should-i-take-muscle-milk-prior-to-workouts
“Is Muscle Milk Bad for You?” https://www.isitbadforyou.com/questions/is-muscle-milk-bad-for-you
“3 Major Muscle Milk Side Effects”, http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/muscle-milk-side-effects#allergies3
“15 Symptoms of Kidney Disease”, http://lifeoptions.org/learn-about-kidney-disease/kidney-disease-symptoms
“Health Risks of Being Overweight”, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight
“Muscle Milk Side Effects”, http://www.thevitaminmag.com/muscle-milk-side-effects
“Am I Getting Too Much Vitamin D?” https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/am-i-getting-too-much-vitamin-d