Muscle Milk is the brand name of a protein-rich supplement. Manufacturer, CytoSport, states that you may consume Muscle Milk as a meal replacement, though many athletes merely consume it as a source of protein in addition to regular meals. Consult a physician or a registered dietitian for nutritional guidance when considering Muscle Milk as a meal replacement.
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Muscle Milk protein shakes contain proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats and other nutrients you need on a daily basis. They can deliver up to 50 percent of your required daily protein and more than 20 percent of over 20 essential vitamins and nutrients. While Muscle Milk is a significant source of protein and nutrients such as chromium, it is low in calories and carbohydrates compared to a more traditional meal. Therefore, you may not receive the equivalent nutritional benefit when substituting Muscle Milk for a regular meal.
Choose Your Poison
CytoSport produces many different varieties of Muscle Milk, and not all of them would function sufficiently as a meal replacement. For example, the 11-ounce Diet Muscle Milk is a unique formulation that helps abate your hunger through its high dietary fiber content. Muscle Milk powder, however, primarily functions as a protein supplement to build muscle and may not function as well as a meal replacement. Carefully read the usage instructions of your chosen Muscle Milk variety before taking the supplement as a meal replacement.
Quality and Claims
Though Muscle Milk labels suggest that you can take the supplement as a meal replacement, Registered Dietitian Douglas Kalman, writing for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the claims packaged on dietary supplements. While the FDA can pursue action against companies that make unsubstantiated claims, the organization does not review products before they appear on the market. Kalman recommends that you obtain your daily nutrient intake from foods or fortified foods whenever possible before turning to a dietary supplement such as Muscle Milk, as supplements may not have the same nutritional quality as food.
Exceeding Your Needs
Some athletes use supplements such as Muscle Milk to add extra nutrients to a daily diet of three or four meals. Depending on what your nutrient requirements are, this may or may not be a useful practice. Registered Dietitian Katey James, of the University of Nebraska, notes that consuming more than your daily need for any nutrient will not increase your performance. Because Muscle Milk is protein- and vitamin-enriched, consuming too much in a single day will lead to either excretion or storage of excess nutrients.