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Is Muscle Milk Keto Friendly? [And More About Protein Shakes]

One of the first protein shakes I remember back in the day were those Muscle Milk ready to drink shakes in the refrigeration section. We even used to get them for free as student-athletes since Muscle Milk was a big sponsor of our athletic program. Naturally, I wondered if I could still consume muscle milk products on a ketogenic diet, and this is what I found.

Certain Muscle Milk products are allowed while following a keto diet. the low-carb ones are:

  • Muscle Milk Genuine RTD Shakes
  • Muscle Milk Pro Series RTD Shakes
  • Muscle Milk Coffee House RTD Shakes
  • Muscle Milk Light RTD Shakes
  • Muscle Milk 100 Calorie RTD Shakes
  • Muscle Milk Whey Protein Powders

*RTD = Ready To Drink (pre-mixed)

In this article, I'll break down the different muscle milk products that you can drink while on a ketogenic diet and the ones you should stay away from. Also, I'll cover what's in muscle milk, protein on keto, and whether you should be worried about consuming too much protein.

Is muscle milk keto friendly pinterest

Can You Drink Muscle Milk On Keto?

When I had my very first muscle milk shake EVER, the first thing I remembered was how delicious it was. I don't think there was another product on the market like Muscle Milk when they first came out.

It's no wonder muscle milk exploded on the scene.

With most protein shakes tasting horrible back then, it was refreshing for a company to release such a great tasting protein powder. 

Are muscle milk shakes keto friendly, though?

 You could enjoy particular muscle milk protein shakes and powders, but not all of them. Many of the different variety of muscle milk products also contain a relatively large amount of carbs, making it not ideal for a ketogenic diet. 

The following muscle milk products are lower in carb and may be enjoyed while following a ketogenic diet. However, I'll break down the carb count for each of them in the next sections.

Muscle Milk Ready To Drink Shakes

Muscle Milk Protein Powders

Does Muscle Milk Have Carbs?

Muscle milk keto friendly

There are a few carbs in all of the different muscle milk products, but more than half of them do not contain a sufficient amount for you to worry about. 

The below table is a breakdown of all the keto friendly muscle milk products with their total and net carbs.

Each listing is either for one entire ready to drink shake (RTD) or 1-scoop of protein.

Muscle Milk Net Carbs
Genuine RTD Banana Creme2g
Genuine RTD Chocolate3g
Genuine RTD Cookies 'n Creme3g
Genuine RTD Strawberries 'n Creme
Genuine RTD Vanilla Creme2g
Pro Series RTD Go Bananas3g
Pro Series RTD Intense Vanilla2g
Pro Series RTD Knockout Chocolate3g
Coffee House RTD Cafe Latte2g
Coffee House RTD Mocha Latte5g
Coffee House RTD Vanilla Latte2g
Light RTD Chocolate4g
Light RTD Vanilla Creme3g
100-Calorie RTD1g
Whey Blend Chocolate2g
Whey Blend Vanilla3g
100% Whey Chocolate3g
100% Whey Vanilla3g

What's In Muscle Milk?

Most muscle milk protein shakes, unless otherwise stated, are a blend of the following proteins:

  • Milk protein isolate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate

And muscle milk is sweetened with:

  • Acesulfame Potassium (ace-K)
  • Sucralose (Popularly known as Splenda)

The Whey protein powders are a mix of:

  • Whey protein isolate
  • Whey protein concentrate

Most of the thick and creamy texture of muscle milk products can be attributed to the use of the milk and casein proteins, which offer a much thicker consistency compared to whey protein.

Below are the ingredients of all the different keto-friendly variations Muscle Milk has to offer.

Muscle milk keto friendly ingredient list

Can I Drink Protein Shakes On Keto?

There is often this confusion or misinformation spread around about too much protein on keto being “bad.” Protein and protein shakes are often shunned at for two different reasons.

  1. Too much protein will kick you out of ketosis
  2. Protein shakes will spike your insulin (and again, kick you out of ketosis)

While I'll elaborate on these two points a bit more, you can also read my article below a read on this very subject.

Too much protein on keto

Many people fall into the trap of finding arbitrary percentages on the internet, telling them how much protein they can eat. These percentages usually have the majority of individuals starting a ketogenic diet severely underrating protein. 

When it comes to protein on a ketogenic diet, or any diet, too much is better than too little 

 Most individuals, short of trying to do so, and even then, would not be able to eat what's considered “too much protein.”  

Protein should be based on your weight, and ideally, your lean body mass (total weight – fat weight). An easy way to determine how much protein you should be eating is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of DESIRED body weight per day.

This means, If you are currently 175 lbs and want to get down to 145 lbs, then you would eat 145 grams of protein per day. 

Think about it this way:

Suzy is a 175 lbs female with 30% body fat and eating 1800 calories to lose weight. Let's say Suzy uses this arbitrary "percentage" of say… 15% for example's sake that would equate to 68 grams of protein.
Now, Bob is a 180 lb athletic male at 15% body fat and also eating 1800 to drop some weight. Assuming they both blindly follow this arbitrary percentage, they'd be eating the same amount of protein. 

Doesn't make too much sense, right?

Protein shakes will spike your insulin

Now, there is a slight possibility of protein shakes spiking insulin, but that doesn't mean you'll stop losing weight.

Insulin has been getting demonized, especially by the ketogenic community, and for no good reason.

In the case of insulin and protein shakes, even if you were to get a “spike” in your insulin, and worst-case scenario knocked out of ketosis, it would be so short-lived you wouldn't even notice. 

Keep in mind; you may be fluxing in and out of ketosis throughout the day even without drinking protein shakes, it's nothing to worry about.

The following image is a chart showing the insulin and ketone levels of a male participant who fasted for 50 days before having insulin DIRECTLY injected into his body. 


As you can see in the following graphic, ketones did go down briefly (~30 minutes) then shot right back up. 

And did I mention this was shooting insulin intravenously? 

Now, think about how much that protein shake is going to affect you? Not likely, and if it did, not for long.

Does Protein Stop Ketosis?

The myth that protein stops ketosis is unfounded. Many people want to throw around things like “protein will be converted to sugar.”

And again, it does… 

But hear me out.

This process they are referring to where protein and amino acids are converted to glucose by the body is called gluconeogenesis. 1 

And here's the vital tidbit, it's a demand-driven process. Meaning, protein is only converted when it's necessary. 

What they also fail to realize is that this process happens all the time, and is happening whether your protein intake is high or low. 

While it's true, ketone levels may not be as high with higher protein intakes; this is not an indicator that fat loss is any slower. Ketone levels do not correlate whatsoever with how much fat you're losing. 

In fact, you can have high ketone levels and be gaining weight. 

Other Similar Muscle Milk RTD Shakes

There are a few other popular ready to drink shakes on the market. Many companies are coming out with their versions and selling them at big warehouse stores like Costco here in the U.S.

To cover them briefly as they may be an option for you if they are more accessible and/or affordable, they are the following.

Are Premier Protein Shakes Keto? Premier protein shakes are keto-friendly and only have 3 grams of net carbs per shake, which also gives you an additional 30 grams of protein.

Are Pure Protein Shakes Keto Friendly? Pure protein RTD shakes are keto-friendly with only 2 grams of net carbs per can while also supply 35 grams of protein.

You can either buy these online via the links below or check out your local Costco, Sams Club, or other bulk warehouse stores in your part of the world.

I've also seen pure protein shakes at various Trader Joes

Muscle Milk Ready To Drink Shakes

Muscle Milk Protein Powders

The Takeaway

Muscle milk has a lot of different products, some of them are keto friendly, but some of them are also far from being keto friendly. 

Use the chart above to determine which drinks are keto-friendly, and be sure to double-check the nutrition label for any formulation changes. 


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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