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I’ve had the privilege of working in the fitness and supplement industry for over a decade now, and have tried dozens of different types and brands of protein powders and meal replacements.
After having tried so many products, it takes a lot for a product to stand out; whether good or bad.
Unfortunately, the pros of the Muscle Milk Genuine Protein are overshadowed by its misrepresentation as a protein powder, resulting in a product that comes off as gritty, poor tasting, and overpriced.
- Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder misses the mark as a protein powder as it fits better within the meal replacement category due to its higher carb and fat content.
- While it doesn’t mix as well or taste as good as most protein supplements, it does have additional vitamins added which supports its use as a meal replacement.
- There is very inconsistent pricing for this product, ranging anywhere from $1.50 per serving to over $3.00 per serving
- If you’re looking for a meal replacement, Muscle Milk might be worth considering, but make sure to read the pros and cons below before purchasing.
- If you’re looking for a whey protein isolate, I’d look elsewhere. Try reading my Transparent Labs Whey Protein Review as a good place to start.
Overall Rating: 3.4/5
Muscle Milk Whey Video Review
About Muscle Milk
Muscle Milk is manufactured by CytoSport, under PepsiCo.
The fact that they are under the PepsiCo umbrella did initially make me take pause, because I am quick to correlate Pepsi to sugary soft drinks typically not associated with a healthy diet.
This is probably an unfair bias, and diving deeper into the companies under PepsiCo we find a list including brands like Gatorade, Quaker Oats, and Rockstar Energy.
Muscle Milk advertises themselves as a brand for all individuals, whether you consider yourself an elite athlete or a weekend warrior.
All of their products are third party tested and NSF certified, which means they undergo extra testing to ensure that they are safe for drug-tested athletes.
According to Muscle Milk themselves:
“Our portfolio serves the needs of elite athletes, active lifestylists, and weekend warriors with a wide-range of innovative protein-enhanced solutions that taste great and appeal to evolving consumer demands. We are a trusted partner with storied collegiate athletic programs, world-class professional athletes, and elite training facilities.”
Muscle Milk has a variety of products available, including ready-to-drink (RTD) shakes and protein powders.
Overview of Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein powder is a combination of whey concentrate, milk isolate, and calcium caseinate (medium, fast, and slow digesting protein, respectively).
The macronutrient breakdown of Muscle Milk Genuine protein is:
- Calories: 280
- Protein: 32g
- Carbohydrates: 20g
- Fat: 9g
- Sugar: 2g
This product is much more suited to be found in a meal replacement category than as a protein powder.
The protein found in Muscle Milk Genuine only makes up around 45% of the total calories, with ~28% coming from carbs and ~28% coming from fats.
This macronutrient split resembles more of a balanced high-protein meal as opposed to a protein supplement.
Our criteria for an acceptable protein percentage starts at 65%, with good products having at least 75% protein per scoop and great products having >85%.
Muscle Milk Genuine has the lowest protein percentage in any protein supplement that we’ve tested.
It also has the highest fat content of any product we’ve tested (Even the Naked Mass weight gainer we reviewed only has 2.5g of fat).
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
A third party tested and NSF certified, which means they undergo extra testing to ensure that they are safe for drug-tested athletes.
Highlights: What I Liked About Muscle Milk Protein
Due to the high-calorie content, as well as the combination of carbs, fats, and protein, this product provides several (2-3) hours of satiety.
I was really surprised that even when the two scoops were mixed with a small volume of water, this product provided good satiety that took me from a post-workout breakfast through to lunch around 3 hours later.
High Nutrient Content
Muscle Milk has a high number of vitamins and minerals added to its formula, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
The addition of these ingredients provides 10-50% of your daily recommended intake of each, which is something seldom found in other protein products.
All Muscle Milk Products are NSF Certified, which means that they undergo independent third-party testing and regular on-site inspections of the manufacturing facilities to ensure that they meet high standards.
NSF certifications help ensure that the quality and purity of products are intact, and products like Muscle Milk which are NSF Certified for Sport means that drug-tested athletes can comfortably and safely consume their products.
Drawbacks: What I Didn’t Like About Muscle Milk Genuine Protein
It Has A Poor Taste and Texture
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder had a bitter taste that was amplified by the gritty texture. I felt like I had to chew the powder slightly with each sip I took, and it always felt like there was a residue left on my teeth/tongue.
I feel like either of these concerns on their own could be overlooked more, but when combined it makes a pretty undesirable experience.
By that I mean, if it tasted bitter but had a nice smooth texture, it would be much more pleasant. Alternatively, if it tasted great but had a gritty texture, it would be easier to forgive the texture.
Any ingredients that I would have used to mask the taste/texture, such as adding milk or putting the product into oatmeal or smoothies would just further lessen the protein percentage of the product.
It’s worth noting that the only flavor I tried is the chocolate flavor.
There’s a chance that the other flavors (vanilla, cake batter, banana, strawberry, strawberry banana, cookies and cream) might be better.
Too High in Fat, Sugar, and Calories for a Protein Powder
Muscle Milk Genuine advertises itself front and center as a Protein Powder, but provides fewer than 50% of its total calories from protein, with nearly 60% of all other calories coming from carbs and fats.
My issue here is more with the way this product is marketed than the actual macronutrients of the product itself.
When compared to other protein powders, this completely misses the mark.
To date, the lowest percentage of protein powder we’ve found was in the MuscleTech grass-fed whey at 53%, which is still well above the 45% found in the Muscle Milk Powder.
Most protein powders that we recommend fall between 70% and 95% protein per scoop.
However, when compared to a Meal Replacement Powder, like Myprotein’s Clear Whey Meal Replacement, we see more similarities between their macronutrients.
Per ~320 calories, MyProtein offers 10g of fat, 24g of carbs, and 40g of protein. This makes the split around 50% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbs, very similar to this Muscle Milk Product.
If Muscle Milk advertised itself as a Meal Replacement Powder, this would be a different conversation.
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Review: My Experience
They call this a protein powder, front and center, and I don’t like that at all. I find it deceptive since the majority of the product is in fact not protein.
Protein makes up only around 45% of the total calories found in this product.
During busy mornings when getting the family out of the house was too chaotic for me to have an actual breakfast, and I wanted something that was quick and convenient to tie me over until lunch or my next snack/meal, then this is what I would reach for.
When looking for a protein powder to have post-workout, or to add to a smoothie, this is one of the last options I would choose.
I personally was not a fan of the taste (I tried the chocolate flavor). I found it a combination of both bland and bitter, made worse by the fact that it had a gritty texture that lingered.
While it dissolved well in the sense that there weren’t any big chunks left over, there was an obvious residue left on my cup, with the same sensation in my mouth after every sip.
With other protein products with a gritty texture or poor taste, I can usually disguise them into other products like oatmeal or smoothies. Since Muscle Milk is already so high in carbs and fats that adding more in the form of oats or fruit would just further reduce the already low protein percentage.
I did try this mixed into oatmeal to see how it would mix, and it did stir in pretty well.
But like I mentioned above, this product already contains 20g of carbs – the same amount found in my typical ⅓ cup of oats, making it highly unlikely that I personally would use this product that way.
One thing I did really like about Muscle Milk was the ingredient transparency on their website.
When you pull up the nutrition facts panel, the ingredient list at the bottom has links embedded which lead to explanations about what each ingredient does.
This is a really nice touch that I have not seen other companies do. The descriptions are easy to understand, even if you are not someone who spends a lot of time doing nutrition research.
For instance, clicking the link on Isomalto-oligosaccharides tells you that they are a mixture of short-chain carbohydrates.
Even if you don’t understand the significance of a short-chain carbohydrate, you can at least identify that this long word is a source of carbohydrates.
There is a massive price disparity between purchasing this product in the United States, and purchasing it in other countries (like Canada).
Canadian pricing has this product for sale for $64.99 CAD ($49.53 USD) for 16 servings, making this product $4.06 CAD ($3.05 USD) per serving.
At this cost, Muscle Milk Genuine is absolutely not worth the investment if you are shopping for a protein powder.
However, shopping in the US (on Amazon.com for instance) there is a 12-serving tub available for $19.99 USD.
This comes out to a cost of $1.66 USD per serving, which is still very overpriced for a product providing such a low protein percentage, but much more reasonable than the Canadian pricing.
The larger size on Amazon is $49.99 for 32 servings or $1.56 per serving.
How Does Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Stack Up Against Our Criteria For Whey Protein
At FeastGood, we have 8 different criteria for ranking whey protein powders. Here’s how Muscle Milk Genuine Protein stacked up:
Nutrition Label Transparency
Our rating: 5/5
I am giving this a 5/5 for nutrition label transparency, because of the extent to which they go into detail on their website about each individual ingredient.
Muscle Milk Genuine does have very clear ingredient labeling on its product as well as on its website (as discussed above).
This does not, however, forgive them for advertising their product as a protein powder on the front of their label.
Fat Content Transparency
Our rating: 5/5
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein’s nutrition facts panel clearly states the grams of fat (9g), saturated fat (3.5g), trans fat (0g), Polyunsaturated Fat (0.5g), and Monounsaturated Fat (4g).
While fat, trans fat, and saturated fat are all legally required to be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel, we appreciate that Muscle Milk has gone above and beyond to include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats on its label.
Our rating: 3/5
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein powder uses a blend of whey concentrate, milk isolate, and calcium caseinate which provides a variety of fast, medium, and slow-digesting protein. This product also includes several sources of carbohydrates, fats, artificial sweeteners, and vitamins.
If this product marketed itself as a high-protein meal supplement or meal replacement, we’d be a lot more forgiving. The fact that this product labels itself as a protein powder but falls so short on protein is our biggest critique.
There are additional vitamins and minerals, including Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin D (cholecalciferol), and Vitamin A which add to its appeal as a meal replacement powder.
Protein Percent of Calories
Our rating: 1/5
Despite providing 32g of protein (per 2-scoop serving), protein only makes up 45% of the total calories (280).
Per 2-scoop serving, the 32g of protein equates to 128 calories. In a 280-calorie product, this is way too low of a protein percentage for a product that advertises itself as a protein powder.
Our criteria for a reasonable protein start at 65%, so this product falls well below what we consider to be an acceptable protein powder.
Our rating: 2/5
The chocolate flavor was bitter and left a lot to be desired.
The taste wasn’t so awful that I wanted to dump my shake down the drain. However, when it came to choosing a chocolate protein powder, I would have preferred nearly any other protein powder I had over this one.
Our rating: 2/5
While it wasn’t clumpy, Muscle Milk Genuine had a gritty texture and never completely dissolved. It also left a noticeable residue in my shaker cup and in my mouth.
I almost felt like I had to chew this powder at times because it had such a gritty texture. There’s a good chance that this is a result of the oat fiber used in the formula, which is an insoluble fiber.
Texture (Thick or Thin)
Our rating: Thick
Muscle Milk mixes up very thick, due to a combination of the slow-digesting protein (casein) and the addition of carbs (including fiber) and fats.
Our rating: 4.5/5
The one thing I really liked about Muscle Milk Genuine was the satiety it provided, which typically lasted around 3 hours.
I used this product most frequently in the mornings when getting the kids out of the house was especially chaotic, and I needed a quick grab-and-go option to fuel me through my busy work morning.
On the days when I only had this around 9am and my regular cup of coffee, I felt satiated until 12 or 12:30pm.
Who Is Muscle Milk Genuine Protein For?
- Someone looking for a satiating meal replacement powder that provides a decent amount of protein and some added vitamins and minerals
Who Shouldn’t Take Muscle Milk Genuine Protein?
- Someone looking for a low calorie, low sugar protein powder
- Anyone with a dairy allergy or sensitivity since this has several dairy sources in the formula
- Someone on a keto diet, due to the high carbohydrate content
Muscle Milk Genuine Customer Reviews
The Muscle Milk Genuine Protein reviews on Amazon were a lot more forgiving than I was. Overall it had a 4.6/5 based on over 7000 ratings.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the Genuine Protein Powder reviews on Amazon:
- 5 stars: 76%
- 4 stars: 13%
- 3 stars: 6%
- 2 stars: 2%
- 1 star: 3%
There were no reviews or ratings available on the Muscle Milk website.
While browsing the reviews, even the 4 and 5-star reviews felt similar as far as taste and mixability I did. They mentioned that just drinking it with water wasn’t really desirable, but when added to milk/almond milk/cashew milk, it was much better.
There were also some reviews that touched on the fact that it did require more effort to mix, as a result of both the slow-digesting protein in the product and the fiber.
There were several users who mentioned using this product for their active teenagers with high metabolisms to help them increase their body weight and calorie content. I still think that this is one of the best use cases for this product. It should be used as a meal replacement or supplement, and not as a protein powder.
Muscle Milk Promotions & Discounts
There was no indication on the Muscle Milk website of any kind of discount or promotion option like a subscribe and save or e-mail list for discounts like we’ve seen other brands do.
As far as we can tell, the only way to find promotions is to look at local retailers like Walmart or Target for sales or to use the subscribe and save feature on Amazon.
Where To Buy Muscle Milk Protein
If you click on any Shop Now buttons on the Muscle Milk website, you are taken to a store locator where you can input your city and find retailers.
Most wholesalers, like Walmart, Kroger, and Target have Muscle Milk Genuine powder for sale.
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Alternatives?
Transparent Labs Whole Food Meal Replacement
If you are looking for a high-quality meal replacement powder that offers high protein, as well as whole food sources of carbs and fats then I recommend Transparent Labs Whole Food Meal Replacement.
It offers a similar protein percentage per scoop (46%), but has fewer additives and no artificial flavours or colors.
Transparent Labs Meal Replacement also has 4-5g of fiber per scoop, more than twice the amount found in Muscle Milk, which can contribute to improved health, digestion, and prolonged satiety.
This product retails for $59.99 for 30 servings ($2.00 per serving) with subscribe and save options to further reduce the cost per serving.
Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder
If you want the value and accessibility of Muscle Milk products, but are looking for something that offers a higher protein percentage per scoop, then opt for Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder.
This product offers 25g of protein per 130 calories, offering 77% protein per scoop with 2g of fat and 3g of carbs.
This product is currently listed on Amazon in both 1.85lb and 5lb options, for around $1.30 per serving which is a good value for a product offering close to 80% protein per scoop. A potential downside is that this protein is only available in chocolate and vanilla.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Is Muscle Milk Made?
Cytosport, which oversees Muscle Milk manufacturing, has its head office located in Walnut Creek, California.
What Is Muscle Milk’s Shipping Policy?
Because nothing can be purchased directly from the Muscle Milk website, the shipping policy will be specific to where you order from (e.g. Amazon, Walmart.com).
What Is Muscle Milk’s Return Policy?
Because nothing can be purchased directly from the Muscle Milk website, the return policy will be specific to where you order from.
Is Muscle Milk Third Party Tested?
All Muscle Milk products are third-party tested and NSF Sport Certified, ensuring their safety and quality for drug-tested athletes.
Is Muscle Milk Genuine Good For Weight Loss?
Muscle Milk Genuine provides protein and fiber as well as a higher calorie content which can contribute to prolonged satiety, which can help you keep a calorie deficit to encourage weight loss.
Is Muscle Milk Genuine Keto Friendly?
Muscle Milk genuine has 20g of carbs per serving and is therefore not keto-friendly.
Is Muscle Milk Gluten Free?
Muscle Milk does not have any gluten-containing ingredients, but there is no indication anywhere on the product or website indicating that it is gluten-free.
What Are The Best Ways To Mix Muscle Milk Genuine Protein?
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder requires some additional effort to mix completely, and while it could be mixed in a traditional shaker cup, it mixes best when added to a blender.
What Flavors Are Available For Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder?
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder is available in Chocolate, Vanille Creme, Banana Creme, Cake Batter, Cookies n Creme, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberries n Creme, and Strawberry Banana.
Does Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Make You Gain Weight?
If you add this product to your current diet, you will be adding nearly 300 calories which could contribute to weight gain (assuming you are then in a calorie surplus). If you use this product as a substitute for a snack or breakfast, then it’s unlikely to contribute significantly to weight gain.
Can you use Muscle Milk Genuine Protein as A Meal Replacement?
While still a bit lower calorie than we would recommend for a complete meal, the combination of carbs, fats, and slow releasing proteins makes this an appealing option for a meal replacement. Pair this product with a piece of fruit or some raw veggies on the side to complete the meal.
When Is The Best Time To Take Muscle Milk Genuine Protein?
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder can be taken any time of day when a high protein snack is desired. Use this as part of a meal or as a snack to keep you full between meals. They call this an energizing product due to the high carbohydrate content, so I don’t recommend taking this product before bed.
How To Contact Muscle Milk.
For any questions or concerns, you can reach out to Muscle Milk through their contact page found here.
Alternatively, you can call them at 1-888-298-6629 Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm EST.
You can find Muscle Milk active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, though I use the term “active” lightly because they haven’t posted any new content to Facebook since 2021, and they had up to 3 months between Twitter posts.
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
A third party tested and NSF certified, which means they undergo extra testing to ensure that they are safe for drug-tested athletes.
Buttriss, J.L., & Stokes, C.S. (2008). Dietary fibre and health: an overview. Nutrition Bulletin, 33(3), 186-200. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2008.00705.x.
About The Author
Jennifer Vibert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and supplement store manager. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle and a minor in Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, with a passion for helping clients learn the fundamentals of nutrition and supplementation in order to build healthy, sustainable habits.