Muscle Milk is a dietary supplement whose makers claim it provides "healthy, sustained energy," and that it can promote "increased strength, lean muscle growth and fast recovery from exercise." Usually advertised to a health-conscious clientele, Muscle Milk advises consumers to fill up on these lactose-free drinks and bars prior to workouts, after workouts, and as a meal replacement. Tapping into current health trends, Muscle Milk also promises that it can help consumers lose weight. And, of course, Cytosport, the company who makes Muscle Milk, can charge a high price.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
It turns out that the truth about this product is lurking right on the label, hidden in the nutritional facts.
Upon further investigation, it’s been discovered that Muscle Milk products contain the same number of calories and almost as much fat as a Krispy Kreme Doughnut, making them nothing but fat-laden junk food. Doesn’t seem to match what was advertised at all, does it? The real irony is that, on the labels of certain products, right under the name "Muscle Milk" is a much smaller disclaimer that admits that the product actually "contains no milk."
It may seem like these types of claims are "standard" in health food advertising, but they shouldn’t be, especially if the intention is to deceive the consumer into purchasing a product (usually at high prices) and boosting profits.
In an effort to fight back against Cytosport’s deceptive claims, Baron and Budd filed a lawsuit against the company in July 2011 in California. The lawsuit claims that the company is engaged in deceptive advertising techniques designed to boost profits by taking advantage of customers’ growing desire for healthy food products. Many of the phrases the company uses to promote its products are intentionally misleading, which is against state and federal law.
Muscle Milk is just one example of a much bigger issue: transparency in food advertising. Have you ever felt deceived by a food product’s labeling, or found that, after a closer look, a product isn’t what it seems?