March 4, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Muscle Milk

There is a supplement drink called Muscle Milk that everybody at my gym (including trainers) seem to be raving about.

It contains protein of course, but focuses more on it's revolutionary fat content (which they coin as Lean Lipids).

[They claim] they help burn fats more efficiently.
Being an avid reader of your site, I'm sure this is just another gimmick but is there any truth to the types of fats ingested and improving fat burning?

-- Bexx

Via the blog

Muscle Milk has been the darling of protein supplements for many years.

Can't say I'm surprised, given the aggressive marketing, the taste that closely mimics a milkshake, and the scientific-sounding hype about "fat burning", "lean muscle-promoting" properties.

Before I address my issues with the product, let me say a word about personal trainers.

I have met many personal trainers who are knowledgeable about nutrition and have studied the science appropriately, but also met a fair share who consider themselves experts simply because they subscribe to muscle magazines (most of which, by the way, take generous amounts of advertising dollars from protein-supplement manufacturers).

Before you take nutrition advice from a personal trainer, find out what their credentials are.

Onto Muscle Milk.

The claim that Muscle Milk "burns" fat rather than store it is inaccurate.

Downing three Muscle Milk shakes a day (as the company recommends) in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle will undoubtedly result in weight gain and stored fat.

Remember: excess calories that are not burned off are stored as fat no matter what their source is.

I do not deny that liquid calories can be helpful for building mass in conjunction with weight lifting, since it is easy to add hundreds to your day with just a few gulps.

However, rather than spending money on powders filled with artificial sweeteners and various chemicals, opt for real food. Blending skim milk, peanut butter, a banana, and some ice cubes provides an appropriate balance of nutrients for a post-workout snack.

I am even more baffled by Muscle Milk's boast that it is a "low-carb" formula. If recovering from a workout is the goal, you need equal amounts of protein and carbohydrate, which is why you are better off having a glass of skim milk and a slice of whole wheat toast or fresh fruit with some cottage cheese.

Restricting carbohydrates after a workout makes no sense.

Remember, too, that muscle growth is ONLY achieved by stressing a muscle. People would benefit more from learning proper weight-lifting techniques and movements than chugging down hundreds of grams a protein per day which simply get excreted in urine.

It is products like this that inspired my recent "Enough is Enough!" posting.

People who claim to see "results" from Muscle Milk don't realize that the credit should simply be given to efficient workouts and excess calories, not "magic ingredients" in a supplement.

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