Review: MuscleMeds Carnivor—Where's the Beef? - Bodybuilding Supplements

Review: MuscleMeds Carnivor—Where’s the Beef?

Using new advanced extraction, clarification, hydrolysis and isolation technologies CARNIVOR’s Bioengineered Beef Protein Isolate delivers the muscle building power of beef with higher amino acid levels than all other protein sources used in supplements including: whey, soy, milk and egg. CARNIVOR Beef Protein Isolate is even 350% more concentrated in anabolic muscle building aminos than a prime sirloin steak! And it has no fat or cholesterol!

Whoever they are, the ad writers for MuscleMeds obviously understand spin. We’re supposed to be impressed by that 350% figure, although there’s less to it than meets the eye. A 100g piece of cooked steak contains nearly 60g of water, so of course a dehydrated product will be “more concentrated in anabolic muscle building aminos “… at least until you rehydrate it. Milk protein isolate is a lot more concentrated in “muscle building aminos” than a glass of milk, too.

So what?

Same deal with the claim that Carnivor delvers “higher amino acid levels than all other sources used in supplements…” Note that the term “sources” is used, not “proteins” or “protein powders.” I would be extremely surprised if a dried, purified protein powder DIDN’T contain more aminos acids, on a weight basis, than whole foods with a relatively high water content.

In other words, the above claims are straight out of Ad Hype 101. 😀

Of course, none of this really tells us whether Carnivor is a good product or not. To make that call, we need to look at the label.

Amount Per Serving

Calories 116
Calories From Fat 0
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 23g

Ingredients: CARNIVOR-BPI™ [Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate, Creatine Monohydrate, BCAAs (Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine), Anabolic Nitrogen Retention Technology™ Intermediates: GKG (Glutamine-Alpha-Ketoglutarate), OKG (Ornithine-Alpha-Ketoglutarate), AKG (Alpha-Ketoglutarate), KIC (Alpha-Ketoisocaproate)], Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Maltodextrin, Lecithin, Citric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Acesulfame Potassium, Red #40 And Sucralose.

Ok there’s creatine, BCAAs, glutamine, KIC and other ingredients we’ve seen before… except one: “hydrolyzed beef protein isolate.”

It seems straightforward enough, although the term “beef” covers a lot of territory: from filet mignon to hooves and hides. Needless to state, the latter are used to make hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin), which—while technically a “beef” protein—isn’t what most people would want to use to build muscle.

Thus, it would be good to know exactly what part(s) of the animal that “beef protein isolate” is made from. Is it derived from premium lean red meat? Is it similar to the “meat by-products” normally added to pet food? Or is it mostly made from bones?

Unfortunately, MuscleMeds doesn’t elaborate on this point. The processing and purity are discussed in detail—which is all very nice, but personally, I’m less concerned with purity than I am with quality. I’d like to see an amino acid profile and/or a standard measure of protein quality, such as PDCAAS, BV, etc., for this ingredient, so I can compare Carnivor to more conventional protein powders made from whey, casein and egg.

Competing products, such as True Protein’s beef protein isolate and the Universal’s 100% Beef Aminos both contain relatively high amounts of glycine and proline—an amino acid “signature” that suggests these supps contain collagen from bone and connective tissue—as many commercial “beef extracts” do.

What does this tell us about the beef protein isolate in Carnivor? In a direct sense, very little… but when you consider that MuscleMeds adds branched chain amino acids and creatine to the product in order to imply an equivalence to steak, it’s reasonable to assume that the “beef protein isolate” in Carnivor probably isn’t much different than the one(s) marketed by its competitors.

So what does this mean for gym rats like me and thee?

It means that Carnivor is probably less like prime rib, and more like predigested, purified beef stock.

Thus, I tend to doubt “hydrolyzed beef protein isolate” has a better profile of essential amino acids than more conventional protein powders—if it did, I imagine this info would be front and center on Carnivor’s label.

Nonetheless, it may offer advantages to people with dairy/egg allergies/intolerances or who experience digestive issues with conventional protein powders. Hydrolyzed proteins are certainly easier to digest, and allergies to beef are relatively rare.

For the record, I can think of another advantage. Supplemental glycine and proline can be used by the body to make its own collagen. Although they aren’t essential amino acids, consuming them in the form of hydrolyzed (animal) collagen may help support the growth and repair of collagen-containing tissues such as bone, cartilage, skin and ligaments.

So there may be a bit of a trade off with a supp like Carnivor: the protein quality—even with the added BCAAs—is probably not as high as dairy/egg-based supps, but it could also be better tolerated and more beneficial for joints and skin.

Naturally, I picked up a container of Carnivor for a trial run. Mixing it with a spoon, I managed to avoid a lot of the chunkiness and foaming some users have commented on. Overall, I thought it blended pretty well.

Flavor-wise, it wasn’t great, although it wasn’t terrible either. I trialed the fruit punch flavor, which—to be honest—gave me a moment’s hesitation, as it smelled like stale bouillon cubes. But as long as I didn’t breathe in while drinking, it was ok… like watered-down Hawaiian Punch spiked with Knox Gelatin.

I’ve tasted worse. And—like most lifters—I’ll happily forgo taste for results.

Except that there really weren’t any… my experience with Carnivor was completely neutral. but then again, my muscles are saturated with creatine already and—let’s face it—given my “training age,” I’m not likely to see major results merely by replacing one protein supp with another… so consider the source.

So whither Carnivor?

As noted above, I have some doubts about the overall quality of MuscleMed’s beef protein isolate, but it may have its uses (if you’re interested, Carnivore is available at, one of our recommended online retailers).

In the absence of better information from MuscleMeds, however, I don’t see a reason to prefer Carnivor over more conventional protein supps. Dairy and egg-based proteins have been used successfully by the majority of trainees for some time now, and their muscle-building benefits are well-known.

So for now, I’ll be sticking with my usual blends… and if I want more collagen in my diet, I’ll add some Nutrajoint or NeoCell.

Summary of MuscleMeds’ Carnivor
  • Likely easy to digest and less allergenic than dairy/egg-based protein powders.
  • Fortified with BCAAs and creatine.
  • Quality of the beef protein isolate is unknown.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. I’ve been taking this product for about 2 months and i can tell you i’ve seen a hugfe improvement in my size and over all stamania. It makes me feel a little angry thou

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  2. I have been taking the chocolate flavour for 4 weeks now, i must say that this protein is easy on my digestive system. I have always struggled to put on size, but since i have started with carnivore protein i have managed to shape up quite nicely. I am looking forward to my next tub.

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  3. Please can u tell from where the gelatin is taken fish , porc or vegetal

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    • I don’t know. The list of ingredients states only “hydrolyzed gelatin,” without specifying the source; or even giving any information about whether the gelatin is Halal or Kosher (which would at least rule out pork).

      You could try asking Musclemeds directly – there’s a contact form for questions here: It could nonetheless vary on a lot-to-lot basis, however, depending on who the ingredient supplier(s) happen to be.

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  4. I’d love to see a comparison with Musletech’s Beef Protein, which from the ingredients seems to be more “pure” I don’t want gelatin etc if I’m going for beef (and since I can’t do whey…). Have you tried the Muscletech version?

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    • No, I have not tried the Muscletech “Platinum” beef protein product yet… although you’ve piqued my curiosity.

      Just as an FYI though, I’ll confess up front to being skeptical, since a look at MT’s ads suggest that the company is relying on its usual, rhetorical “bag of tricks” to promote the product. For example, they claim “394% more aminos than steak” – an impressive-looking bit of non-information, since we’re talking about a dehydrated protein-isolate based product, vs. a food that contains liberal amounts of water and fat (as noted here: even cooked meat still contains a substantial percentage of water). In addition, none of the ads I’ve eyeballed so far (Vitamin Shoppe, Amazon,, have an amino acid profile of the product. So “more aminos” doesn’t automatically translate to: “equivalent to.” More just means “more” – which is merely a statement of the obvious.

      While this isn’t necessarily damning (for all I know, this info may actually appear on the product label – I’ll have to secure a container and look for myself), it seems to me that – since the point of comparison is steak protein – they’d have nothing to lose, PR-wise, and everything to gain by highlighting the similarities in the amino acid profile of the product to actual steak protein. Instead, what they claim is that the protein is “complete” and that there is no added gelatin or collagen (which cannot be taken to mean that collagen wasn’t already part of the meat the isolate was originally made from).

      Point being, what they DON’T tell you often “speaks” louder than what they do.

      Mind you, this is pretty much off the top of my head, on a Sunday morning sitting in front of my computer. It’s worth looking into in more detail – thanks for asking.

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