Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Review

By SOLO

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is the best selling brand of protein powder at Bodybuilding.com, which is how I found this powder initially. I never had a reason to go to any other brand.

Let’s take a look at pros and cons.

PROS

1. LOW IN FAT, LOW IN CARBOHYDRATES

Before you bite my head off, and tell me how carbohydrates are not evil, hear me out.

I like my supplements separate, so I can mix and match. So in my protein powder, I want – protein. Best quality, pure protein. The other two are easy enough to get from food.

The nutrition label is flavour specific. Let’s take a look at the one for Vanilla Ice Cream flavour.

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If you are trying to gain weight, you may want to consider protein powder blends with added carbs, such as Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer or other similar products.

However, I maintain that adding carbohydrates to your protein shake is really easy. Fruit is an easy way to do that. However, if you are looking for a stronger carb punch, they won’t be calorie dense enough. In which case, add oats to the liquid, and let it sit for few minutes, then blend. The oats get soggy quickly, and add thickness to the smoothie too.

My default smoothie looks like this:

  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • ½ banana
  • 1-2 cups of spinach
  • 1 tsp of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or other milk)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3-4 ice cubes

And here’s what I could use between meals as a snack:

1 scoop of protein powder
½ cup of coffee
½ cup of almond milk
1 cup of water
5-6 ice cubes
*Time-saving tip – freeze your coffee, and use coffee ice cubes instead. Brilliant, right?

2. (PRETTY) SIMPLE INGREDIENT LIST

Protein powder is one of the few “processed” foods I consume on a regular basis. And yes, I’m a big fan of knowing what exactly goes into my body.

This brand has no vitamins, green extracts, BCAAs or anything else added to it. And that’s the way I like it.

Here is the ingredient list for Vanilla Ice Cream flavour:

Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Lecithin, Acesulfame Potassium, Aminogen, Lactase

This list is significantly shorter than the ingredient list on a typical vanilla ice cream box, let me tell ya. Now, you can always go even simpler. It’s called egg whites.

So what the heck are all these things?

Protein blend (Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides).
This is what we are buying. Check.

More expensive protein powders would include an even simpler protein profile. For example, Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey (review coming soon!) lists Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolates as the only protein source. This product is 1.5 more expensive, and features other added nutrients as well as a longer ingredient list. Thus, you’d have to weigh the pros and cons – just like we are doing here!

Natural and artificial flavours. Let’s be honest, whey protein isolates do not naturally taste like Vanilla Ice Cream.

Lecithin.
Emulsifier, which helps in mixing. Usually derived from eggs or soy. Check your candy bar ingredient list – this is what keeps cocoa and cocoa butter from separating.

Aminogen.
Patented digestive enzyme which breaks down the protein. It is often added to high quality protein powders.

Lactase.
Enzyme that breaks down lactose, sugar found in all dairy products. Those lacking lactase may experience symptoms of lactose intolerance, when consuming dairy. Lactase is the ingredient added to lactose free milk to aid digestion. Because whey is filtered many times, it actually has very little lactose (and very little carbohydrate). Therefore, most people with lactose intolerance will have no trouble digesting protein powders, however, lactase is often added, just in case.

Acesulfame potassium.
Artificial sweetener, commonly used in baking and carbonated drinks.

3. TASTE

I loved the taste of this protein powder from the get go. There are loads of flavours to choose from.

Although, if you check out the flavours of a typical protein powder, it’s almost like they have already tried all the flavours, and settled on the ten that seem to work. You’ll never see an Apple Cinnamon protein powder. Or Grape Explosion.

I have tried:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter – my favorite one so far!
  • Cinnamon Graham Cracker – ok. hope you like cinnamon.
  • Double Rich Chocolate – this one did not blow me away, and I’d be interested in trying Extreme Milk Chocolate as well as White Chocolate and Chocolate Malt to compare
  • French Vanilla Creme – a solid vanilla flavour, which goes well with pretty much anything

If you have never bought a protein powder before, I’d recommend starting with a vanilla flavour, as it would most easily blend with any other ingredients you want to try.

Anything very fruit specific – like Banana Cream or Delicious Strawberry, I personally would get sick of very quickly. I’m sticking with chocolate and coffee flavours. As for peanut butter… Well, you could put it into nail polish, and I’d be licking my fingers.

4. COST

When it comes to cost per serving, this brand delivers some of the best bang for your buck that you can find on the market.

As a rule, larger container size would yield cheaper protein powder, starting from $1.04 per servings for the smallest 453g container (15 servings) to 0.70 per servings for 2.2kg (80 servings) container.

To compare, Gaspari Nutrition MyoFusion Probiotic Series Elite Athlete Protein Powder (holy moly long name!) is $0.90 per serving at the same size container.

Although look at the prices carefully, because in case of Optimum Nutrition, 2.2kg is indeed the best deal. The mammoth packages of 4.5kg are a little bit more expensive. But those would probably be only practical if you have multiple protein drinkers in the family, or protein powder is your main food group. In which case, please drop me an email. You poor thing.

CONS

Let’s see. I’m a fan of this product, so this part will be difficult.

1. NOT VEGAN

If you are vegan, this is not the protein powder for you, but then you knew that already. 🙂

2. HARD TO ACCESS

For my Canadian friends, this is either impossible to find in stores, or ridiculously overpriced once you do, so you are stuck with ordering this online.

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite protein powder? Flavour? Why?

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Solo

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Posted November 20, 2013

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