Being one of, if not the most talked about protein supplement on the market, we thought it was about time we sat down and created a full Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein review, to really test it out.
Rich in BCAAs, glutamine, and low in calories, this supplement is suitable for anyone from the biggest of bodybuilders, to the most trim of trainees, who just want to feel fit and maintain good health.
After trying the Chocolate and vanilla flavors, we decided to take their Delicious Strawberry flavor (yes, that's its name) for a test run. So, is this protein powder really "Gold Standard," or does it fall flat?
You'll soon find out.
Gold Standard Whey Nutrition Facts and Ingredients
On Gold Standard consists of 100% whey protein (24g), which is primarily sourced from whey isolates, but also from concentrates. Unsurprisingly for a 100% whey formula, it's really high in BCAAs (5.5g), as well as glutamine and glutamic acid (4g), which are both essential amino acids for muscle growth.
Whey Concentrate + Isolate
Making up the rest of the calories (120) are carbohydrates (3g) and only a gram of fat, which is right around what we'd expect from an isolate shake.
To sweeten their 20+ flavors, ON make use of both natural and artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which is typical for products in this category. There's also soy lecithin which is an emulsifier that's used to bind the ingredients together during manufacturing.
Being a dairy-based protein supplement, it contains 8% of the RDI for calcium, and also a very modest amount of iron.
Who Can Benefit From Taking It?
Anyone who is seeking a protein boost in their dietary setup, whether it be for general health or muscle growth, can benefit from supplementing with ON Gold Standard Whey.
However, those most likely to see noticeable effects, are athletes, weightlifters, and those who do not currently consume enough protein. As this is a 100% whey formula, it digests rapidly, shuttling amino acids to the fatigued and damaged muscles, stimulating growth, improving athletic performance, and decreasing muscle soreness.
If you are looking for a quality protein powder with all the necessary amino acids for muscle growth, you may well benefit from taking Gold Standard Whey around your workout, and at other times during the day, to keep your muscles topped up.
Bodybuilders And Weightlifters
Getting huge, ripped, or even just toning up, requires more than just sweat in the squat rack and grit in the kitchen. Knowing that your muscles have a limited amount of time to repair, taking in a fast-digesting protein can help spur muscle growth and give your physique that edge.
Drink after training to kickstart protein synthesis fast, and use with meals to top up your protein intake. To ramp up the gains even more, and get in some fats, we like to mix Gold Standard with Greek-style yogurt for a dessert-like meal that won't wreck your macros.
Whether it's track, football, or swimming, athletes need protein, and they need lots of it if they want to be at the top of their game. As life happens, it is not always convenient to eat a whole foods meal, and rather than skip out on vital nutrients, Gold Standard can be used to prevent catabolism when you take it before training.
And because nobody ever broke world records with sore muscles, whipping up a quick n' easy shake after training makes sure you get back in action, fitter and stronger than before.
Despite any fairytales you might have heard been passed around the gym, women can benefit from protein just as much as men. Squats and hip thrusts may well give you a killer glute pump, but neither your glutes or any other muscle will grow larger without the essential amino acids it needs.
If you're worried about Gold Standard being too high in protein, then allow us to defeat those fears, right here and now.
In a world where people consume more junk food than ever, taking an extra scoop of protein here and there to aid muscle growth and fat loss is far, far away from being unhealthy.
Side Effects and Disadvantages
Being a dairy-based protein powder, not everyone can take Gold Standard without issues. If you're lactose intolerant, it could cause bloating, nausea, and digestive discomfort.
However, this is nothing unique to Optimum Nutrition, any whey powder can potentially have uncomfortable side-effects for those who do not tolerate lactose very well.
How To Properly Use
Mix one scoop with 6-8 oz of a beverage of your choice. As an instantized powder, the mixability is one of, if not most comfortable we've dealt with, so you can even stir with a spoon if you don't have a shaker bottle handy.
Sizes, Servings, and Scoop
It is available in 4 different sizes; 1 lb, 2 lbs, 5 lbs, and 10 lbs.
- 1 lb: 14 servings
- 2 lbs: 29 servings
- 5 lbs: 74 servings
- 10 lbs: 149 servings
These servings are for the Double Rich Chocolate flavor. Each scoop in all sizes weighs around 30g which gives it an 80% protein concentration.
The Best Flavor of ON Gold Standard Whey
For this review, we took the "Delicious Strawberry" flavor for a test drive to see if it was worth the bold description.
Since we usually stick with chocolate, the strawberry took a bit of getting used to, but overall, we found it to have an authentic, non-overpowering taste that we grew to like.
At first, I, Bernie, mixed it with water and was pleasantly surprised at how creamy it was for 120 calories. For my subsequent shakes, I mixed it with milk exclusively seen as I'm bulking and could use the extra calories, but mainly because I like my shakes to be on the thicker side.
However, if you don't, then stick with water for less sweetness. That said, mixing it with milk like I did can really keep your sweet tooth satisfied for a while, which makes weight loss diets, for example, that bit easier.
We also tried “Double Rich Chocolate” and “Extreme Milk Chocolate” which were probably our favorites overall. Even though we enjoyed the strawberry sensation, like heavy compound lifts, chocolate always seems to be the flavor we end up going to back to.
- Extreme Milk Chocolate
- Double Rich Chocolate
- Delicious Strawberry
- French Vanilla
How Does It Compare?
If you are still on the fence about Gold Standard Whey, then you can see how it compares to some of the best protein powders currently available. We have a table below that gives you the lowdown on who each supplement is best suited for.
Best Overall & Easiest Mixing
Super Advanced Whey
Good value but we preferred the other two
You can check out our detailed comparisons of Gold Standard to see how it fares against stiff opposition:
Overall, we feel that Gold Standard Whey offers a fantastic quality to affordability ratio that is fit for a whole range of physical pursuits. The 100% whey formula means it is one of the fastest digesting types of protein.
While primarily useful post-workout and during the anabolic window, it can be used to top up your amino acid supply on off days, or whenever you need a protein boost in your diet.
The mixability is among the very best we've experienced, and even when mixed with milk, there were no clumps in our shaker bottle.
Out of the flavors, we tried, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, really hit the spot for us, which is surprising given how low the calories are. Of course, ON do use artificial sweeteners to achieve this, which aren't for everyone, but they're hard to avoid entirely in the world of protein shakes.
If you are new to supplements, go ahead and start with a smaller 2lb tub to see how you like it. Then, if you decide it's worth adding to your permanent keeper's stack, give the standard 5lb container a try for over 70 serving of quality muscle fuel.
We hope you enjoyed our Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein review. Hopefully, it made deciding which brand to go for a little bit easier.
ON Gold Standard | Our Recommended Whey Protein