Caffeine: the beloved substance that helps college students stay up late to cram for exams, wake up early for class and stay energized during work can now be found in Muscle Milk Light’s Café Latte. This new flavor is a convenient alternative to drinking coffee in the morning, since you can just grab a Muscle Milk Light and go; there is no wasting time standing in long lines at a coffee shop or waiting for coffee to brew at home. When I am in a rush to leave in the morning and don’t necessarily have time to sit down and eat breakfast, I simply grab a Muscle Milk Light drink and head out to tackle the day.

Muscle Milk Light has a lower calorie count than Genuine Muscle Milk. It is also sugar free, lactose free and gluten free. It is available as a ready-to-drink protein nutrition shake containing essential vitamins and minerals without extra calories and sugars that can bog you down. A 14 oz. drink contains 20g of protein, 5g of fiber, eight essential amino acids and 20 vitamins and minerals ? with only 160 calories and no sugar.

Among the vitamins found in Muscle Milk Light are: vitamin A, which helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones and skin; vitamin B, which helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function and metabolism; and vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron and acts as an antioxidant. Other essential vitamins in Muscle Milk are: biotin, which helps to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates; niacin, which helps lower cholesterol; folate, which aids in tissue growth and cell function and helps to prevent birth defects; pantothenic acid, which helps metabolize food; and thiamine, which helps to convert carbohydrates to energy.

These essential vitamins and minerals complement any exercise regimen or general lifestyle. Other flavors of Muscle Milk Light include Vanilla Créme, Chocolate Milk, Cookies ’n Crème and Strawberry Banana; however, the Café Latte flavor is the only protein-enhanced beverage on the market containing caffeine.

The variety of practical uses for Muscle Milk Light is quite wide. Whether you want a product for a protein supplement, a low-calorie meal replacement or as an alternative to an energy drink pick-me-up, Muscle Milk Light will yield results. I am no exercise enthusiast; in fact, my main exercise routine consists of my daily bike ride to and from school, but I can definitely appreciate the energy and nutrients from drinking Muscle Milk Light. It is best to drink Muscle Milk after an exercise routine, however, to avoid queasiness during and after an intense workout.

To say the taste is great would be an overstatement, but I can definitely say that the taste is better than comparable protein drinks and energy drinks. It is an acquired taste which you will eventually get used to. It seemed almost as if I could taste the vitamins while drinking it, but it is not such an unbearable taste. The overall consistency of the drink is creamy and natural — like coffee. The aroma of the Café Latte flavor is also quite nice, since it smells just like the flavor and photo on the package suggest — coffee. Even the contour of the bottle aids in the drinkability of Muscle Milk. The bottle curves inward in the middle, making it easy to grab and drink.

I do not even consider other energy drinks an option since I have tried Muscle Milk Light. There is no reason to consume poor tasting empty calories that will only provide a limited amount of energy and a huge crash later. Muscle Milk Light provides sustained energy that will last until your next meal. It is the perfect source of energy between meals or if you have to skip a meal during a busy or hectic day.

The ready-to-drink Muscle Milk Light can be found in most stores, but for those who prefer to save some money and take on a more do-it-yourself approach, it is also available in a powder form, which can be purchased in specialty nutrition stores.