Muscle Milk vs Whey Protein: Muscle Milk is a group of protein supplements, which contain different types of proteins, including whey and casein in powder or ready-to-drink shakes. Whey protein is a separate fraction of milk protein with a great ratio between price, quantity and quality of protein per serving.
What is Muscle Milk?
What is Whey Protein?
Whey Protein is a type of protein dietary supplement manufactured by multiple brands. It usually comes as one main protein ingredient or as a blend of different whey proteins, which may include whey concentrate, whey isolate and whey hydrolysate.
Muscle Milk vs Whey Protein
Type of Protein
- Whey protein concentrate + whey protein isolate (100% Whey series),
- Micellar casein + hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate (Sleeping Giant series),
- Milk protein isolate + calcium and sodium caseinate + whey protein concentrate (Pro Series),
- Milk protein isolate + whey protein concentrate + calcium and sodium caseinate (Genuine Series).
Muscle milk products, in which the key ingredient is milk protein isolate or milk protein concentrate, contain a mixture of 2 protein fractions that are naturally found in milk - casein and whey protein. These proteins have different digestion rates.
Whey protein is a fast-digesting and quickly absorbing protein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that takes much longer to digest, making it ideal for consuming before periods of fasting, such as before going to bed.
In general, milk protein concentrate or isolate is an excellent source of high-quality protein that combines the properties of both protein fractions. To quote from NSCA's Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition: "Whey and casein can have profoundly different biochemical effects that athletes can take advantage of."
Whey protein is a separate fraction of milk protein that was separated from casein during the cheese production process. The most common forms of whey protein are whey concentrate and whey isolate.
Whey concentrate contains 70-80% protein from the dry weight of the supplement in the form of powder, as well as a significant or small portion of fat and carbohydrates. Whey isolate goes through additional filtration processes and contains a higher percentage of protein (up to 90% or higher) and usually zero or very little fat and lactose. If the isolate has been further processed, it becomes a hydrolyzate.
Average Macronutrients Content
Most whey proteins contain 24-25 grams of protein per serving. In terms of protein-to-weight ratio, the percentage of protein in such products is approximately 75-90%. The amount of carbohydrates per serving is from 0 to 4 g, fats are from 0 to 2 g. The calorie content of one serving is 120 kcal on average.
As for protein powders from Muscle Milk, depending on the series, a serving may contain from 25 g to 50 g of protein, 1-9 g of fat, and 5-21 of carbohydrates. The calorie content is from 130 kcal to 320 kcal per serving. Muscle Milk products contain approximately 45-75% protein content by weight.
Some Muscle Milk products also contain a significant serving of fiber and a big serving of vitamins and minerals.
Muscle Milk vs Whey Protein: Summary
Pros and Cons of Muscle Milk
There is a choice of different products with milk protein as main ingredient (which mean fast- and slow-absorbing proteins in one product)
Сomes in a variety of forms including ready-to-drink shakes and protein powder
Some Muscle Milk products contains a good variety of added vitamins and minerals, including large amount of calcium per serving
The products of Muscle Milk are usually third party tested (NSF International)
Generally has a lower protein-by-weight ratio than regular whey powder
Some products contain a large amount of carbohydrates and fats, and accordingly, a higher caloric content
In terms of protein per serving, Muscle Milk products may be more expensive than regular whey protein powder
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein
Better protein-by-weight ratio per serving (higher percentage of protein)
Whey protein powders contains zero-to few grams of carbs and fats
The optimal ratio between price, quantity and quality of protein per serving
In terms of digestibility rate and additional bioactive components has the benefits of only whey protein
Contains much less calcium per serving than some Muscle Milk products
Muscle Milk vs Whey Protein - When to Use Each?
Muscle Milk We Recommend
Powder Muscle Milk We Recommend
Whey Protein We Recommend
Is Muscle Milk Better Than Whey Protein?
It’s a great source of high-quality protein, but generally Muscle Milk has a lower protein-by-weight ratio due to the higher weight of the portion and higher amount of carbohydrates and fats (although it depends on specific product series). On the other hand, Muscle Milk may taste better on its own or added to different foods.
Is Muscle Milk Protein Powder Good?
Yes, this protein powder has a great mix of ingredients and high-quality protein, with plenty of BCAAs per serving. If you're looking to up your protein intake for the day, this is a great option.
What Type of Protein Is in Muscle Milk?
Depending on the specific series of the product, it may contain whey proteins or a mix of whey protein and casein. No matter what you choose, you'll be getting the highest quality protein in any case.
Summary - Muscle Milk vs Whey Protein
Muscle Milk provides a great protein or high protein meal replacement options, and tastes great with different foods, although it generally has a lower protein-by-weight ratio, than regular whey protein powders. Whey protein is an excellent muscle milk alternative that contains high-quality protein with fewer calories per serving, and has a better overall ratio between price, quantity and quality of protein per serving.
Have you tried muscle milk before? What about whey protein? Do you agree with the points I've raised above? Let me know in the comments.
- Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit // Ncbi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566799/
- Milk Protein Concentrate // Sciencedirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/milk-protein-concentrate
- Casein // Examine: https://examine.com/supplements/casein-protein/
- Best Muscle Milk Products For Muscle Gain, Pre-Workout, And More // Barbend: https://barbend.com/best-muscle-milk/
- Are you getting too much protein? // Mayo clinic health system: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/are-you-getting-too-much-protein
Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.