Muscle Milk is often marketed toward people trying to build more muscle and isn't necessarily a weight-loss product. It can be included as part of a weight-loss diet, but shouldn't be used as your only source of nutrition, according to the manufacturer. There may also be some potential safety concerns if you drink large amounts of this beverage.
Muscle Milk Calories
The exact amount of calories in Muscle Milk depends on the version and flavor you choose. For example, a 10-ounce container of ready-to-drink chocolate Muscle Milk has 170 calories and 18 grams of protein, and vanilla creme Muscle Milk Light has 90 calories and 14 grams of fiber per 8-ounce serving. The light version has about the right amount of calories for a snack, while the regular version is a bit high in calories for a snack but low in calories for a meal.
Protein and Weight Loss
Protein helps to increase satiety, making it an important nutrient for those who are trying to cut calories and lose weight. Getting at least 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal may help people curb their appetites, making it easier to lose weight, according to a review article published in April 2015 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." A small serving of Muscle Milk provides more than half of this amount of protein, but you'll want to include another source of protein in your meals along with Muscle Milk.
Artificial Sweeteners and Weight
Many versions of Muscle Milk keep their calorie and carbohydrate contents low by including artificial sweeteners in the ingredients. While this may seem like a good idea for weight loss, some studies show a potential for artificial sweeteners to actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss. For example, a study published in "Obesity" in 2008 found that people who used artificial sweeteners tended to have higher body mass indexes than those who didn't use these sweeteners. A review article published in the "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine" in 2010 noted that these sweeteners may increase your appetite and cause sugar cravings, both of which could lead to consuming more calories, rather than fewer, after making the switch to artificial sweeteners.
Part of a Balanced Diet
Consider Muscle Milk as a snack or part of a meal, rather than the entire meal. Include other sources of protein and fiber in the meal to make it more filling. Your plate should contain about equal amounts of nonstarchy vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and fruits to help you get all the nutrients you need in about the right proportions. If you drink Muscle Milk as your beverage during a meal, be sure to take the calories into account so you don't exceed your daily caloric limit.
Potential Safety Considerations
It isn't a good idea to drink multiple daily servings of Muscle Milk or other protein drinks. The July 2010 issue of "Consumer Reports" noted that many protein drinks and powders contain potentially harmful levels of heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead and arsenic. Muscle Milk was one of the beverages noted as being high in all three of these metals, with three servings per day exceeding the recommended limits, potentially increasing the risk of organ damage, cancer or other health issues.
A Whole-Foods Alternative
If increasing your protein intake is your main objective in drinking Muscle Milk, seafood, lean poultry, egg whites and legumes can help you consume more protein without all of the artificial and processed ingredients found in Muscle Milk. Those who want a nutritious beverage as a snack during weight loss could also consider making a quick smoothie in the blender. Include a small amount of liquid; nonfat Greek yogurt or silken tofu for protein; green leafy vegetables for fiber and vitamins; and fruit for antioxidants, fiber and sweetness. Nuts, flax or chia seeds can increase the protein further while providing healthy fats, and cocoa powder can give your smoothie a chocolate flavor.