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Muscle Milk Or Metal Milk — What’s Really Inside The Bottle?

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Seven years back, when I first picked up weights and kicked a spiraling line of dominoes down a path of unadulterated obsession with fitness, I basically had zero idea what I was doing. Shoulder-press-on-the-leg-press-machine clueless.

I knew two things for certain: 1) I needed to lift heavy things up of all shapes and sizes and put them down, and 2) I needed to drink protein. That’s what magazines, movies, and common culture drilled into my brain.

To address point of knowledge #2, Muscle Milk was my jumping off point on the protein front, and I suspect the same for many other beginners. In retrospect it makes sense — it’s the most instantly recognizable protein drink on the market, and the only one I can think of that runs HEAVY consumer marketing campaigns beyond Men’s Health and other niche fitness magazines/websites. Drink. Evolve…it’s everywhere!

When you’re just starting out or not heavily invested, different varieties of protein powder and bottled protein shakes all merge into one mental bucket – PROTEIN. But when you really dig into the varying ingredients and macronutritional profiles, and compare Muscle Milk vis-a-vis other protein products, it easily falls to the bottom of my list. It’s a fat-laden, carb-heavy, artificial mess, and it’s far from ideal when it comes to optimal post-workout recovery.12

Muscle Milk Nutrition Label

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If you’ve ever had a Muscle Milk, it’s impossible not to notice that it has a funky, metallic, iron-flavored aftertaste. I was naive and thought that it was just the taste of non-refrigerated faux chocolate milk. I wasn’t crazy, though — there’s actually HEAVY METAL in Muscle Milk, and a lot of it.

Unless you’re Tony Stark, this is a very, very bad thing.

A study conducted and published by Consumer Reports Magazine tested arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury levels in 15 popular protein products.34 Results below –

 

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Consumer Reports -- Heavy Metal Levels In Protein Products

 

Muscle Milk tested EXTREMELY high for all four metals in its various flavors, approaching daily limits for arsenic and exceeding them for cadmium and lead (Arsenic – 15 µg per day, Cadmium – 5 µg per day, Lead - 13.5 µg per day, Mercury - 15 µg per day). Additionally, EAS Myoplex tested high in arsenic and cadmium. All four metals are toxic and have health risks at elevated levels in the body, but Cadmium, specifically, can cause major damage to the kidneys. Needless to say, ingesting these chemicals has serious long-term negative health effects. Avoid them.

Don’t let this deter you from protein altogether — two of my favorite high quality protein products (Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey and Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey) had low-to-no heavy metal content. Quality MATTERS. Although it’s more expensive, HQ protein is more pure, more natural, and produces better all-around results. Stick with that — not Muscle Milk.

 

My recommendation:

By no means should Muscle Milk create a generalization that ALL protein powder is laced with metal. Avoid Muscle Milk & EAS Myoplex and opt for higher quality protein powders like ONs Platinum Hydro Whey, ON’s Gold Standard, or Dymatize ISO-100.



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References, Notes, Links

  1. Muscle Milk Ingredients & Nutrition Label []
  2. Muscle Milk has a lot of fat, which slows down digestion after a workout. Post-workout meals should consist of protein and carbs, that’s it []
  3. Consumer Reports Magazine – What Our Tests Found []
  4. Consumer Reports – What’s In Your Protein Drink []

 

Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
  • Bk66

    You know that consumer reports reported muscle milks metal content when they used twice the amount than all the other protein powders in testing?

    • http://LeanItUP.com/ Bryan DiSanto

      It’s all based on equivalent servings, not weight.

    • cwclifford

      They used the maximum 2x scoops a serving x3 a day suggested to “build size and gain muscle”. (2x35g)x3 servings = 210g of powder.

      Use half that to supplement your diet and for recovery and you’ll be just fine!

  • XxIAmRedeemedxX

    ….What the fuck…?!

    It’s a good thing I only had two of these….

    That won’t fuck me over in the long run… Right…? RIGHT?!?!

    =(!!

  • Mykbibby

    Damn… I’m on a Muscle Milk only diet for allergies. I’m drinking six a day. Am I going to die?

  • GoGreen

    Physique from Shaklee, the #1 natural nutrition co. In the U.S is the best! No need to EVER worry about it having ANYTHING in it that’s bad for you-EVER!!
    No side effects, only benefits.