Safety of Muscle Milk

In the continuing quest for weight loss, we are sometimes tempted to use supplements or products that promise quick results.  Muscle Milk is a product made by GNC.  The very name conjures visions of a lean, muscular body.  How can a product named Muscle Milk hurt us?

Muscle Milk comes in a powder form and also a ready to drink form.  One serving of Muscle Milk has about 330 calories.  The supplement is ingested prior and after workouts.  This product is popular with some athletes due to the high protein concentration.  The calorie amount is not concerning to the professional athlete since he burns calories at an accelerated rate.  For most of us, our metabolisms are far slower than the professional athlete.  As a consequence, Muscle Milk may actually promote weight gain.

The supplement has high concentrations of vitamins D and A.  Since these vitamins are fat soluble, the vitamins have a tendency to stay in our bodies for a long time.  High concentrations of vitamin A can lead to visual problems.  This vitamin A toxicity, or hypervitaminosis A, gained notoriety when Arctic explorers ate polar bear liver, and then became temporarily blind.  High vitamin A concentrations can also cause dry skin, diarrhea, and death.  High levels of vitamin D can cause muscle weakness, thirst, abdominal and bone pain among other symptoms.

The vanilla flavored Muscle Milk has lead while the chocolate version has cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury.  All of these agents can produce neurological symptoms and death.  Cadmium has been associated with cancer.

Two ingredients which are present in Muscle Milk are acesulfame potassium and sucralose which are known to produce weight gain, and insulin resistance.  Since most of us are interested in losing and maintaining weight, these two ingredients are counterproductive.  Maltodextrin, another ingredient found in Muscle Milk, has a high glycemic index which leads to a high insulin spike again resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance.

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2013 alleging that Muscle Milk contained as many total and saturated fats as a Krispy Kreme doughnut.  The manufacturer paid 5.3 million dollars.

In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration took the manufacturer to task telling them to inform the public that Muscle Milk did not have milk as one of the ingredients like the name implied.

Due to the high concentration of protein, potassium, sodium and phosporus, people with kidney compromise or illness should be careful when ingesting Muscle Milk.

Muscle Milk has high concentrations of homocystiene which can increase the risk of blood clots, cardiac disease, and hypothyroidism among other medical conditions.

If you read the Muscle Milk label, you will find some of the above ingredients mentioned and not others such as the heavy metal concentrations.  You will find, however, an ingredient called vitamin mineral blend which is a mystery ingredient.  Personally, I don’t like to ingest things that are unknown to me.

To summarize, the more common potential side effects of Muscle Milk involve weight gain, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.  The more worrisome side effects involve vitamin toxicity, ailments produced by kidney disease, heavy metal toxicity, hypothyroidism, cardiac disease, and blood clots.

I would recommend not using Muscle Milk for weight loss or as a muscle building supplement.  Remember that diet and exercise are still the best options we have when it comes to losing and maintaining weight.  Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.  Wishing you success, Pablo.

Weight Loss With Wine

Some things never change.  There is always a latest and greatest diet which promises weight loss the easy way without having to worry about what you eat or how active you are.  The most recent weight loss regimen touted by celebrities is the wine diet.  But before you reach for that wine opener, let’s take a look at the weight loss claims.

A weight loss study done at Washington State University in 2015 certainly suggests that wine can help with weight loss.  The study found that white fat is converted to brown fat by a substance found in wine called resveratrol.  Brown fat is easier to burn off than white fat.  Brown fat turns food into body heat.  Human newborns and hibernating animals like the bear have high levels of brown fat.  And we’ve all noticed how quickly “baby fat” seems to disappear.   At this point, you’re thinking that the weight loss study certainly sounds promising.  What the celebrities neglect to tell you is that the study was done on BEES!  I don’t think there is anyone who will argue that the metabolism with bees is different than the metabolism with humans.

Not too surprisingly, other ways to boost brown fat include exercise (what a shocker), and not starving or overeating.  These sound like the traditional and logical ways to lose weight that I’ve been talking about for some time.

What is known about wine is that the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories.  As a general rule, mixed drinks and beer have more calories than wine.  A glass of red wine has about 120 calories while a glass of white wine has 85 calories.

The sugar content in wine also influences the caloric content.  The less sugar, the fewer the calories.  The two types of wine with the least sugar are Italian Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine does not produce fat.  Wine will, however, cause a drop in glucose.  The drop in glucose then makes you hungry, and you start eating.  The more alcohol you ingest, the more your glucose will drop, and the hungrier you will get.  Since the wine and food ingestion will make you tired, the next thing that happens is you go to sleep.  It’s not surprising that the extra calories now turn to fat.  This brings up the old adage about moderation in everything.

There is one specific type of red wine which helps with weight loss due to its content of ellagic acid.  This red wine is made from the red muscadine grape which is grown in Georgia and the the southeastern United States.  Don’t rush out to your local store, however, and look for this specific varietal.  There are 5000 acres or less that are planted with this grape.

There are alternatives to drinking this type of varietal.  Ellagic acid is increased when any wine is aged in oak barrels.  The longer the aging process, the more ellagic acid in the wine.

Wine, however, is not the only substance with ellagic acid.  Raspberries, green tea, and oolong tea have respectable levels of allegic acid.  There are other foods as well that contain this acid which you can google.  Interestingly, green tea and oolong tea have long been known to help with weight loss and maintenance.

As I mentioned on the page on weight loss and diet, drinking a glass or two of wine is not a bad thing.  Drinking excessive amounts of wine can damage your liver and your overall health.  The wine diet does not appear to offer any information that has not been known for some time.  So feel free to enjoy your wine, but remember that using wine to lose weight may not be the best decision.

Remember that the ultimate answer to weight loss and maintenance includes eating wisely and exercising.  Please do not hesitate to leave a comment or question regarding this post. Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and maintenance.  Pablo