Core Power vs Muscle Milk – Read This Before You Buy

With the abundance of protein shake drinks on the market, choosing the right one for you can be a daunting task. Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

If you are just starting out and are somewhat overwhelmed, we are reviewing Core Power Protein Shake by Fairlife and Muscle Milk Ready-to-Drink Shake by Cytosport.

Both provide high levels of protein that are essential for everyday healthy living. Protein provides nutrition and energy and helps to maintain, build and repair muscle. These drinks can be used by both active and non-active people. Protein shakes also help muscles to recover after heavy training.

For those that use protein drinks as part of a fitness or training regime, it is most important to understand the pros and cons of each, as you will be consuming them on a regular basis.

Who is Fairlife (Core Power)?

The Fairlife company was founded in 2012 and was formed when the Coca-Cola Company entered into a partnership with Select Milk Producers. Fairlife state that their mission is to “Enrich lives by sustainably providing nourishment and vitality to the world”.

Fairlife specializes in natural dairy-based products and offer a range including protein snacks, drinkable meal replacements and ultra-filtered milk. Their Head Office is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Who is Cytosport (Muscle Milk)?

CytoSport was founded in 1998 by a father and son team, Greg and Mike Pickett. They are based in California and produce a range of man-made protein-enhanced powders, shakes, bars and the ready-to-drink protein supplement Muscle Milk.

Do any celebrities endorse these drinks?

Core Power is endorsed by the University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh. It is also endorsed by world-famous gymnastics champion Simone Biles. She is known for having won the most gold medals in the history of the Gymnastics World Championships. She has 10 medals, 4 are Gold and 1 is Bronze, won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Muscle Milk by Cytosport is endorsed by Adrian Peterson. He is a football running back for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Mike Bottom, of the Michigan Wolverines swimming and diving program at the University of Michigan also endorses Cytosport products. Also on board is the famous Stephen Curry, who is the only unanimously voted NBA Most Valuable Player.

However, do not let these endorsements fool you. There are plenty of products out there that are endorsed by celebrities that really are not good for you.

Why should I choose pre-made protein drinks?

We have all probably watched weight lifters and bodybuilders mixing and using a shaker to mix their drinks! The process becomes routine.

However, it does require organization and preparation before or after a workout. You will need to measure out the correct weight of dry protein powder. Store the protein powder and the liquid separately, so they can easily be shaken together when required.

Let’s not forget actually washing your shaker cups too!

Those annoying clumps of whey protein stuck in the shaker’s groves….and the smell if left for too long.

You don’t want to be sitting in the gym measuring and spilling powder all over the café tables! Certainly won’t do your cool image any good.

If you are in rush like most of us are, and get the measurements wrong – you are likely to end up a with too-thin, bland mixture, a too-thick mixture, or a mixture full of lumpy undissolved bits of powder. Not very appetizing.

Pre-made shakes do away with these problems. Simply open up the container and they are ready-to-drink. This makes them ideal for when you are on-the-go, to sip in the car, and to drink before or after working out.

For those who are not serious athletes or professionals, taking along a ready-to-drink protein shake to work will give you a good dose of your daily requirements in a tasty form, with no fuss or preparation required.

 How much protein do I need daily?

For those who are not experts, a simple guide is as follows –

First, decide whether you are

  1. Mildly active
  2. Moderately Active
  3. Very Active

Then get your body weight.

You can now easily calculate your daily requirement as follows –

  • Mildly active – you need 50% of your body weight in grams of protein
  • Moderately active – you need 70% of your body weight in grams of protein
  • Very active – you need 90% of your body weight in grams of protein

What else is in protein shakes?

Apart from protein, shakes can also give you vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The shakes also have calories for energy.  Some protein shakes contain sugar and those made of natural milk contain lactose in different amounts. Protein drinks also provide necessary BCAA’s (Branded-chain Amino Acids) which cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained via the food we eat.

It is always a good idea to spend time and read the nutritional list on the product so that you know exactly what you are drinking or eating.

We now take a deeper look into Core Power and Muscle Milk.

CORE POWER

Core Power

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Protein source

 The main protein in Core Power comes from milk. This company prides itself on using only natural ingredients. They have their own established milk farms and grow their own crops. Animals are reared in the age-old traditional style where they can roam freely and eat grass from the fields.

The Company vision is to promote sustainable, eco-friendly farming methods and land operations. An innovative example is how they collect cow manure and use it to power some of the mechanical facilities on the farm.

Vitamins and Nutrients

core power ingredient review

Core Power provides a range of vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body.

Here is a list of Nutritional content for a 14fl oz serving of the Banana Drink.

Calories – 170
Sugar – 5-7 grams
Fat – 4.5 grams
Protein – 26 grams
Carbs – 7 grams
Cholesterol – 20 milligrams
Sodium – 280 milligrams
Potassium – 800 milligrams
Dietary Fiber – 1 gram

Core Power contains Vitamin A which is good for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the lungs, heart, kidneys and other organs to function properly. Also found in Core Power is Vitamin D, which promotes healthy bones and teeth.

Another interesting find is although core power contains milk. It is “Filtered Lowfat Grade A Milk”. This means it is aseptically pasteurized, thus lactose-free.

Is Core Power Cost-Effective?

 Core Power is currently selling on Amazon in a 12 pack of 11.5fl oz bottles. The price is $32.16 which works out at around $2.68 per bottle.

This is slightly more expensive than Muscle Milk which is priced at around $1.89 per bottle.

Are there any unhealthy ingredients?

 When I started investigating Core Power I was super excited to read the claims that it contains no artificial sweeteners.

After further investigation, it appears that although this was the case, things have changed.

Despite the many adverts that claim that the product contains no artificial sweeteners, the list of ingredients printed on the pack clearly shows that it does contain Sucralose.

Also known by its commercial name of Splenda, this component is added for sweetness. Some people claim that sucralose is unhealthy.

Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. It is made from sugar in a multi-step chemical process in which 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms. After this process, sucralose is 400 to 700 times sweeter than natural sugar. It is a popular alternative for dieters as it does not offer any bitter aftertaste as many other artificial sweeteners do.

When it comes to your health, sucralose has not been deemed as essentially unhealthy. However, there are some concerns. The first is that sucralose may raise insulin and blood sugar levels in people who do not use artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. The next concern is that at high temperatures, sucralose may break down and generate harmful substances.

Because you probably won’t be heating your Core Power Drink, this will probably not be an issue. Finally, research with animals has shown some negative effects on the bacterial environment in the gut. Further studies are however needed to confirm this in humans.

Other additives

Core Power contains Cellulose Gum which is a thickening agent. It is made by combining cellulose from wood pulp with an acid. Cellulose Gum has been deemed as a safe food product but as always, is not as beneficial or healthy as natural fibers.

Ease of use

Pre-prepared protein shakes are probably the easiest protein drinks to use. There is no measuring, mixing or need for special bottles or containers to carry around with you. Simply shake, open and drink!

Flavors

Here is a list of the Core Power flavors you can enjoy

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Banana
  • Strawberry banana
  • Elite Chocolate
  • Elite Vanilla

The Pros

-Core Power is made from best quality natural milk
-The Company adheres to sustainable and ethical land use
-Offers a well-balanced combination of protein, vitamins and nutrients
-Uses natural flavouring

The Cons

– Fewer flavour choices
– Slightly more expensive
– Higher in calories than other protein shakes
– Was totally free of artificial sweeteners – but that has unfortunately changed recently, putting a real dampener on this product
–  Any supplement that is high in protein should be checked out by people with kidney disorders  – talk to your doctor first!

My Opinion on Core Power

Because I am a great supporter of sustainable, ethical and nature-inspired food growing initiatives, I really enjoy the vibe of this product. The more natural, the happier I feel drinking (or eating) it. Love the chocolate flavour and the Strawberry Banana certainly takes one back to those sun-filled vacation days on the beach.

MUSCLE MILK

Muscle-Milk

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Protein source

Despite the name which includes the word ‘Milk’ – Muscle Milk does not contain any real milk. It is made up of artificial products that provide the type of nutrients found in real milk. The product does contain casein proteins and whey which are derivatives of milk. The flavours that are added are a combination of both natural and artificial ingredients.

Because it has no real milk component, Muscle Milk will appeal to people who are sensitive to lactose.

Vitamins and Nutrients

 

Muscle Milk Ingredients

Muscle Milk provides a range of vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body.

Here is a list of Nutritional content for a 14fl oz serving of the Banana Creme Drink.

Calories – 160
Sugar – 0 grams
Fat – 4.5 grams
Protein – 25 grams
Carbs – 6 grams
Cholesterol – 15 milligrams
Sodium – 210 milligrams
Potassium – 580 milligrams
Dietary Fiber – 4 grams

Is Muscle Milk Cost-Effective?

Muscle Milk Intense Vanilla is currently selling on Amazon in a 12 pack of 11fl oz bottles. The price is $22.77 which works out at around $1.89 per bottle.

This is cheaper than Core Power which is priced at around $2.68 per bottle.

Are there any unhealthy ingredients in Muscle Milk?

 Although Muscle Milk states that it is sugar-free, it does contain artificial sugar in the form of sucralose and the controversial acesulfame K or Ace-K. I discussed sucralose above because it is also added to Core Power. Although not banned or deemed to be proven unsafe, many health-conscious people prefer to stay away from additives of this sort.

Also found in Muscle Milk is the controversial acesulfame K or Ace-K. The Food and Drug Administration approved of Ace-K’s use in soft drinks in 1998. Although considered safe by the FDA, some people consider it to be an unhealthy product to ingest. Although research has produced somewhat flawed results, there was an indication of a link between Ace-K and cancer and thyroid damage in laboratory animals.

Artificial sweeteners can possibly negatively alter gut bacteria, appear in breast milk and potentially increase the risk of certain diseases.

Other additives

Although Muscle Milk claimed to contain “healthy fats” – in 2013, CytoSport, Inc. paid a whopping $5 million in a class-action lawsuit about the wording in this marketing message. The lawsuit alleged that the drinks contained large amounts of saturated fats, which are not healthy.

Ease of use

Muscle Milk is also a pre-prepared protein shake, it is very easy and convenient to use. Once again, you don’t need to worry about measuring, mixing or the need for special bottles or containers to carry around with you. Simply shake, open and drink!

Flavors

Muscle milk is flavored with both natural and artificial flavors. This allows the company to offer a wider range than Core Power, which is essentially natural.

Here is a list of the fun flavors you can find.

Ready to drink protein shakes

– Banana crème
– Chocolate
– Cookies n crème
– Strawberries n crème
– Vanilla Creme

Ready to drink pro-series protein shakes

– Go Bananas
– Intense Vanilla
– Knockout Chocolate

Coffee House protein shakes

– Cafe Latte
– Mocha Latte
– Vanilla Latte

The Pros

– Offers a well-balanced combination of protein, vitamins and nutrients
– Contains no milk, so is good for people who are sensitive to lactose
– Easy to use
– Wider range of flavours
– Professionally formulated for use before or after workout regimes

The Cons

– Muscle milk is called ‘Milk’ but doesn’t contain any real milk! Slightly misleading but at least it doesn’t have lactose.
– Is less appealing to people looking for a more natural product
– The whey and casein components may trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to these products
– Any supplement that is high in protein should be checked out by people with kidney disorders  – talk to your doctor first!

My Opinion on Muscle Milk

 I prefer to go for the most natural type of product in a range. Muscle Milk is not milk and is flavored with artificial flavors which I would like to avoid where ever possible. They do have a good mix of flavors, but I guess I can live without them. A healthier shake is more important!

Who WINS?

Definitely Core Power!

Are you not convinced by either of these? Iconic Protein Drink is a Top Alternative!

iconic protein drink

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Still looking for a natural and tasty protein drink? I have also discovered Iconic Protein Drink which does appear to fit the bill this time! It claims to contain no artificial sweeteners or artificial ingredients. It is made from trusted, clean, ethically-sourced products and is lactose-free, gluten-free and soy-free. The cows are hormone-free and feed only on grass.

As well as offering a great protein drink, Iconic Protein Drink is ideal for those on a low-carb, low-sugar or weight loss diet.

Coffee lovers will enjoy the Cafe au Lait flavor which contains natural Colombian Coffee. If you are avoiding coffee, it is also available in a delicious Chocolate Truffle and Vanilla Bean flavor.

Iconic Protein Drink is certainly worth a try.

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sucralose-good-or-bad
https://www.healthline.com/health/is-acesulfame-potassium-bad-for-me#evidence-of-risks
https://www.homefitnessarena.com/core-power-vs-muscle-milk/
https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/from-grass-to-glass-core-power-shakes-up-protein-drink-category
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/muscle-milk-side-effects#not-so-healthy

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