When it comes to whey protein, preference can be highly personal. There is no "best" protein powder—it depends on your goals, how you like to mix it, and what flavors you like.
That said, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey has long been one of our biggest sellers. The feedback we get again and again is simple: It's a well-made product at a fair price and is easily digestable. Check out the following community reviews to decide for yourself if the Optimum Nutrition "Gold Standard" is the whey for you.
Dave: Double Rich Chocolate
I tried the double rich chocolate flavor. I enjoy the taste of chocolate, especially in the form of chocolate milk. This whey protein was not as good as chocolate milk, but for a chocolate whey protein it did taste pretty good and was quite satisfying.
This whey protein is so good I looked forward to drinking it as a form of dessert. Therefore, flavor wise, I award Gold Standard by Optimum Nutrition a score of 7.5/10.
Although I blended this whey protein, rather than using a shaker, I only did so for a few short seconds and it was good to go. Most other protein powders I've tried have taken longer. Therefore, mixability/texture-wise, I award Gold Standard whey a score of 8/10.
As with any protein supplement review, it is difficult to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the product. The reason is, unlike creatine and pre-workout amplifiers there is no immediately noticeable effect.
From my point of view, the purpose of protein is to either get extra calories in your diet or to raise your protein intake. Also, protein supplementation may be used in place of an unhealthy meal, which would be detrimental to an individual seeking an improved physique.
Since I began working out, protein shakes have been a part of my daily diet. The convenience of a protein shake is too good not to take advantage of.
I have failed to find an Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein that didn't taste good; I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every flavor. Also, the flavors I have tried are; vanilla, chocolate, and cookies and cream.
Furthermore, this whey protein has a high protein content per scoop. More importantly, it has ingredients that blow away most of the other competition, with whey protein isolate high on the list. Most notably, this whey protein has low fat, low sugar, and high protein per scoop. And, like most whey protein powders, it's also low in lactose. (It's not completely lactose-free though, so if you're allergic it could still cause problems.)
In light of all of this, I award Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein an overall score of 9/10.
Gold Standard 100% Whey, 5 Lbs.
24g of Whey Protein with Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery and Growth*
Steven: Caramel Toffee Fudge and Mocha Cappuccino
The flavors of Gold Standard protein powder I was given to review are called caramel toffee fudge and mocha cappuccino.
For those who are addicted to gourmet coffees from places such as Seattle Coffeehouse or Starbucks, these flavors will give you the caffeine and flavor without all the sugary ingredients. The following nutritional information has been based on a 32-gram scoop serving: 24 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, 4 grams of glutamine. Each pound provides 14 servings.
I would say the taste of these was quite good as they were not too rich but also not too bitter. It was a nice change from all the supplements that only come in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. I like mixing the Mocha Cappuccino flavor with chocolate casein protein powder to neutralize the taste of the casein supplement.
Furthermore, my lifting experience was also positive. (If you do not exercise, there is not much point in consuming protein.) I feel like it helped me do more repetitions in the gym.
Also, this supplement has a wide variety of flavors, which is useful for one who wishes to keep things simple and stick to this stuff as the main source of protein. The ones I like the best are banana cream, chocolate malt, double rich chocolate, extreme milk chocolate, mocha cappuccino, rocky road, and strawberry banana. If you consume this product often, buy other flavors so that you do not get sick of the same flavor over and over again.
Based on the nutrition facts as well, I would recommend that this product be rated a 9 out of 10.
Joel: Cookies and Cream
Gold Standard is one of the most popular whey protein powders on the market. This protein is a staple for most people. Unlike other supplements, there are no side effects, unless you are allergic to lactose.
Compared to other top protein powders, the 100% Whey Protein line is solid except for the cookies and cream flavor which is absolutely horrid. A comparable product would be Dymatize Elite Whey Protein.
Overall, this is a low price for a decent protein product, just don't get cookies and cream.
Clayton: Double Rich Chocolate
Yield refers to the percentage of protein per serving. With Gold Standard, 75 percent of total mass is protein. This is an excellent yield. This of course means that 25 percent of the total mass is not protein.
As with any protein powder, some filler must be present. Good quality products are filtered and manufactured to minimize filler. Fillers are non-protein ingredients like cocoa, fats, or carbs. The only fillers in Optimum Nutrition protein powder are: cocoa, artificial flavor, lecithin, and acesulfame potassium (along with the small amounts of fat and carbs naturally present in the whey). Given the high yield of the product, filler constitutes a negligible percentage of the product's overall mass.
Amino Acid Profile
The amino acid profile of a protein powder is also important to consider. Amino acids will determine how "complete" or "incomplete" a protein is, because proteins are made of combinations of amino acids.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey has all 20 amino acids needed for complete protein formation, including the eight essential amino acids your body can't make on its own. The BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) to EAA (essential amino acids) ratio is excellent.
Types of Whey in the Formula
Whey protein can come in several forms. These forms can include:
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
- Ion Exchange Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
- Cross Flow Micro-filtered Whey Protein Isolate (CFM)
- Hydrolyzed Whey Peptide (HWP)
These types of protein are distinguished by their differing molecule size, and subsequent digestibility in the gut. The smaller the molecule size, the easier the protein is digested. Also, whey protein isolate has a higher BV (biological value) rating than whey protein concentrate. This would lead some to conclude that whey protein concentrate is "filler" or "inferior" because its biological value is lower than isolate. But, a diet high in protein, regardless of whether it's from concentrate or isolate, will yield similar results.
Having said that, when we examine the ingredients of Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey Protein we find a combination of all the proteins listed above. This means that Optimum has "covered all the bases" when it comes to whey protein!
It is good to have variations, even among like proteins, since each type has slightly different benefits.
Gold Standard is the best-tasting chocolate protein I have ever used. It is not chalky, and it is very appetizing when mixed with a beverage like milk or water. A simple recipe idea that's low in carbs is mixing skim milk, ice cubes, and two servings of whey in your blender. If you like, you could also add some fruit like peaches or strawberries. Low calories do not necessarily mean low taste!
Ease of Use
Ease of use for me means blendability and digestibility. As mentioned, Gold Standard goes well with a blender, but a blender is not required. The whey mixes easily in a shaker bottle or in a cup with a spoon.
Gold Standard is very easy to mix, does not stick to the side of your blender, and you do not end up with clumps.
This is one of the most "user friendly" products I have used. Regarding digestibility, 100% Optimum Whey is very agreeable. Some protein powders make you feel bloated and full as a side effect. Often the powders are so crudely manufactured and the products so raw, that the gut has difficulty with absorption. Not so with 100% Whey. When mixed with a beverage, it is light, flavorful, and doesn't have these side effects.
It is, therefore, very easy to use. Simply take one serving, put into liquid, shake, and enjoy!
While doing heavy lifting and following a disciplined diet during a gaining period, I supplemented with Optimum Nutrition whey protein. I felt it helped me to gain lean mass, while my body-fat percentage remained the same.
During the leaning-up period, this protein powder is also very useful. Its high concentration of amino acids seemed to prevent symptoms associated with overtraining. For every serving there are 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 22 grams of protein, and only 2 grams of carbohydrate. Thus, its low caloric content is ideal for a calorie-reduced diet.
Accordingly, I use Gold Standard as my protein source year round. If your dietary requirements dictate 40-45 grams of protein per meal, two scoops of 100% Whey will deliver.
So all of this sounds great, you say. But, what's the catch? This product can't possibly work as well as you say, cost this little, and be free of side effects. Well, folks, it is! Optimum makes an excellent product.
Optimum Nutrition has an awesome yield, a good BCAA to EAA ratio, it tastes great, mixes well, and delivers on its ability to help add mass. What more could someone want in a protein supplement? And it's not overpriced to pay for a huge advertising budget.
In my view, 100% Whey is not just a good deal for a good product, but a great deal for a great product!
For anyone wanting to up their protein intake and add size, while not putting their wallet on a diet, get some Gold Standard today! You will be glad you did!
- "Your Expert Guide To Whey Protein" explains everything you need to know about taking whey.
- "4 Whey Wonders" gives tips on how to make awesome whey protein muffins and pancakes.