Does Muscle Milk Go Bad?

If you are serious about gaining muscles, you must consider muscle milk. It is endorsed by so many athletes and has an excellent reputation. To become one of the best-selling protein shakes on the market, muscle milk must know a thing or two about workout supplements, but how long does muscle milk last?

Was muscle milk designed after mother’s milk? It has all the bells and whistles of a great protein shake, but in today’s economy, it must be thought of as being expensive, so you want the most out of this protein drink. Is a shelf life of 18 months a big aspirational claim from the company?

In this article, we explore muscle milk, one of the top protein drinks used in the gym, but with its high price point of just short of $50, you need the best information available. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with factual information.

Let’s get into it.

Does muscle milk expire?

Yes. Muscle milk does expire, but the expiration dates differ with the product range consisting of wet and dry products.

Contrary to popular belief and as the name implies, Muscle milk has no milk. It is a complex mix of ingredients that offer long, medium, and short-term release of proteins throughout your workout.

The milk in muscle milk is actually whey in the form of fats from the milk. Here are some of the ingredients of muscle milk.

  • Water
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Milk protein Isolate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Alkalized cocoa powder
  • Less Than 1% of soluble vegetable fiber
  • Canola oil
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Dipotassium phosphate. This stabilizer is used to make the product shelf stable, nothing natural about this product.
  • Magnesium phosphate. Prevents muscle cramping.

They are not natural and nowhere near the ingredients of breast milk if that was the premise of this product.

You may not want to be drinking breast milk while working out, but the benefits would outway the ingredients in the drink.

The stabilizers will give muscle milk an extended shelf life, The dry powdered version will last for nine to eighteen months if stored correctly, and the wet products have a much shorter shelf life.

The liquid milkshake lasts about 28 days and is recommended to be used within a day if opened. It will last for seven days in the fridge.

Does muscle milk need to be refrigerated?

Open muscle milk must be refrigerated, it tastes better, and it will prevent bacteria proliferation in the product. If you refrigerate muscle milk, it will still be perfect within a week of opening.

Homemade shakes from muscle milk do not have an extended shelf life and should be consumed within two hours. The milkshake will last for two days if stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

Muscle Milk surprisingly doesn’t contain milk.

Even though it contains ingredients derived from milk (such as milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate), it is known as a “dairy-free” protein drink, which is why it is not a vegan option.

Muscle Milk has a rather long shelf life because it doesn’t contain dairy. There is a “best by” date on Muscle Milk that you should abide by.

However, it is so delicious it will unlikely last the day.

How long can muscle milk sit out?

Unopened, the milkshake can sit out for about a month. Once opened, it should be consumed within two hours. According to the USDA, all perishable foods that would include muscle milk must be consumed within two hours.

The bacteria growth in an open carton of muscle milk would accelerate to exponential levels and make the muscle milk potentially a ticking time bomb to pass on food poisoning. This is not just muscle milk; it’s any perishable food sitting out exposed to the air.

Can I put warm muscle milk in the fridge?

No. You can drink warm muscle milk, and it shouldn’t be hot. Warm for 20 seconds in the microwave and drink it.

However, keeping warm food or drinks in the fridge is not advisable.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing warm muscle milk in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your muscle milk. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-140℉ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

Furthermore, the muscle milk should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!

Does unopened muscle milk go bad?

The milk shale will last for around a month, and the powder will last for between nine months and eighteen months before it goes bad.

The problem with supplements is there is a great deal to be had, and if muscle milk is your favorite supplement, then the temptation to stock up and save money can be irresistible.

But this can mean you have muscle milk stirred in your home for a long time, and it’s a mistake to think that in a sealed container, it will not go bad because it will. Ok, the shelf life is long, and if you lose a container or two along the way, it’s no big deal if the saving was significant enough.

To avoid waste, implement a stock rotation. 

How do you know if muscle milk is going bad?

Muscle milk does not have an indefinite shelf life and, as such, will eventually go bad, and for your own safety, it is essential you can spot when the product is turning bad.

The good news is that some indicators will be listed below.

  1. The powder is clumping in the container. Moisture has entered the powder, and its at the end of its life. If it is consumed, it will take longer to mix. If the clumps remain, the product will take longer to get into your bloodstream, affecting your performance.
  2. Mold, If moisture has entered the container and the product has clumped, you can be confident that mold is going to follow, Don’t be tempted to scrape away the mold. Mold places its roots deep into the product contaminating every grain of powder.
  3. Color. If the product has changed color, it indicates something is wrong; dispose of it.
  4. Smell. If the product has a different odor or smells funky, it definitely turns bad and should be discarded immediately.
  5. Consistency. Muscle milk may be challenging to mix at the end of its shelf life and will not absorb into the water.
  6. Taste. is the definitive litmus test if the product is bad. If the product tastes sour or strange, discard it immediately.
  7. If you have experienced none of the above, but you have noticed a drop in your performance in the gym, it could be that the muscle milk ingredients have expired and are not as effective.
  8. Physical symptoms. If you have an upset stomach, unusual bowel movements, bloating, and gastric pain, discard the muscle milk.

Does frozen muscle milk go bad?

Like most foods that are stored at 0℉ and below, they can have a considerable shelf life, but they will change in some way.

If you freeze your muscle milkshake, it may change in texture and taste slightly, but the ingredients will not lose their incredible ability to fuel your body during a workout.

Instead of freezing the muscle, milk solids make it a slushy. They are refreshing and can be enjoyed on the move. 

Even ice pops can be made, it’s a novel idea, but during the months when the temp is high, the cooling effect will be welcome, and there is nothing to prevent the kids from enjoying them too.

It seems unlikely that there will be any gains made by freezing powdered muscle milk; dry powder has a long shelf life and will not freeze unless it’s contaminated with moisture.

Can you drink expired muscle milk?

There shouldn’t be a problem if you consume Muscle Milk powder that has passed its expiration date within a few days to a few months. Even a few months after the expiration date suggested by the manufacturer, whey protein powder is still usable.

Muscle Milk powder will have less effect on providing protein to your body after exercise the more it has expired. The flavor profile might also change if protein powder is used after it expires.

Final thoughts

Muscle milk is a stable product, and there is always a, but it depends on how you store it. If you care for it as the manufacturers recommend, it will last beyond the expiry date.

The pre-mixed milkshakes have less life than the powdered version but remain shelf-stable for a liquid product.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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