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.

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