3 Reasons to Opt For Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey Protein

A review of ON’s Gold Standard whey protein and what makes it stand out from the crowd.

A scoop full of Gold Standard whey protein powder out of a tub.

Whey protein is one of the most basic and essential supplements any athlete needs, especially those who do not consume enough amounts of protein as part of their daily diet. Whey protein does have some advantages over other types of protein supplements, but we’re not going to discuss that here.

This post will focus on one of the most popular whey protein products on the market and look at some of the main reasons that may justify its popularity. It’s called “Gold Standard” and it’s manufactured by Optimum Nutrition (ON): a sports nutrition company located in Illinois, USA.

Many whey protein brands out there are of good quality, but there are some small details that may make a big difference for some consumers. Let’s review three of the main reasons that make ON’s Gold Standard more advantageous than many other similar products.

1. It’s Pure Protein

The formula is quite simple. The main ingredient is a protein blend that consists of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides.

Whey protein isolate is the purest form as it contains 90% or more protein by weight. The concentrate is a little less processed than the isolate and it contains about 80% or less protein by weight — the remaining 20% contains fats, milk sugar (lactose), and other milk nutrients. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are easily absorbed by the body.

This is a 100% whey protein powder with no unnecessary filler ingredients. However, there are some secondary ingredients that include: natural and artificial flavors, lecithin (soy), salt, acesulfame potassium (artificial sweetener), sucralose (artificial sweetener), lactase (digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose).

NOTE: Ingredients may slightly vary from one flavor to another.

Each serving (~30 grams) provides 24 grams protein, 5.5 grams BCAAs, and 4 grams glutamine and glutamic acid.

It has a low carb content of 3–5 grams per serving (varies from one flavor to another).

2. It Mixes Well

One of the typical issues with most whey protein powders is that they often clump up when added to water or another liquid and do not mix/dissolve very well.

Gold Standard uses instantized powder, meaning it mixes instantly. This is achieved by adding an instantizing agent, or an emulsifier, to the formula — in this case soy-derived lecithin.

The powder mixes and dissolves easily in water, milk and other liquids, and rarely clumps up compared to other powders.

3. No Gas or Bloating

Whey protein is made from milk and no matter how pure and filtered it is, it’s gotta contain a certain amount of the milk sugar lactose. The isolate contains the least amount of lactose, while the concentrate contains a higher percentage.

Some people are sensitive to lactose, which may result in gas, bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. Even the tiniest amounts of lactose can cause problems for some users who may struggle to find a product that works for them.

By adding lactase to the formula, it helps minimize or even completely eliminate the adverse effects of lactose in people who are intolerant to it. Lactase is a digestive enzyme that is primarily responsible for breaking down lactose.

Although ON’s Gold Standard whey protein is less likely than other brands to cause gas and bloating issues, I did spot a few complaints from users claiming it did make them bloated. Not sure if this could be a result of some of the other ingredients, or maybe it just didn’t go well with their body, but the majority of users do not experience any adverse effects.

Original 100% Whey vs. 100% Isolate Formula

ON Gold Standard whey powder comes in two versions: the original 100% whey and the 100% isolate.

The original formula consists of a blend of the isolate, concentrate and peptides. The isolate formula only contains whey isolate. Some claim that the isolate is of higher quality as it contains a higher percentage of protein, and while this varies from one product to another, in this case, there’s hardly any difference in the nutritional profile between the the two formulations.

One serving of the original 100% whey formula (~30 grams) contains 24 grams of protein, which is 80% protein content by weight.

One serving of the 100% isolate formula (~30 grams) contains 25 grams of protein, which is 83% protein content by weight.

Both provide 5.5 grams of BCAAs per serving.

As for carbs, the isolate contains 1 gram per serving, while the original formula contains 3 to 5 grams of carbs per serving (varies per flavor).

As you can see, the nutritional profile of the two formulations is almost identical, however, the price varies dramatically. A 5 lbs. tub (71 servings) of the original formula costs about $60, while a 2.91 lbs. tub (44 servings) of the isolate costs about $52.

With only 1 extra gram of protein per serving, it doesn’t make sense to waste the extra dollars on the isolate. Save your money and buy the original 100% whey formula instead!

Which Flavor is Best?

This product comes in more than 20 different flavors. The Double Rich Chocolate is the classic and most popular flavor. It tastes more like cocoa powder, which is one of the ingredients, but doesn’t have a very rich chocolatey flavor like the name suggests. It’s also not very sweet and has a slight bitter taste like that of dark chocolate. If you don’t like super sweet shakes, you’ll like this one.

If mixed with water only, the taste is acceptable, but a little bit bland and unexciting. For a more flavorful shake, mix it with milk of your choice; almond, soy, rice, etc. Most of the 5-star reviews that rave about the great taste actually use milk, not just plain water — so keep that in mind.

Here’s one of my favorite shake recipes:

  • 1 cup almond milk (vanilla flavor).
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter.
  • 1 tbsp honey or another sweetener (optional).
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I love the flavor and it has many health benefits).
  • 2 ice cubes.
  • 1 scoop protein powder (double rich chocolate).

If you’d prefer a sweeter flavor, then go with Extreme Milk Chocolate.

The Vanilla Ice Cream flavor is quite sweet too. It tastes great with a fruity shake (milk + bananas and/or strawberries).

Mocha Cappuccino is another awesome flavor. It’s the perfect choice to blend with a cup of hot coffee and a spoon of coconut oil for a super delicious and nutritious cup of coffee.


Overall, this is one of the best and most cost-effective whey protein powders on the market. I wouldn’t say it’s one of a kind or “superior” to other products though, like some may suggest. There is no superior whey protein and you won’t notice any difference in gains taking this product over any other brand’s protein.

Where to Buy Gold Standard Whey?

Many online stores carry the Optimum Nutrition brand and offer their Gold Standard protein at varying prices. You can buy both the original Gold Standard 100% whey and the 100% whey isolate version at a low price from Best Price Nutrition. They have it available in a 2lb tub, a 5lb tub, and a 10lb bag.

A writer and blogger who enjoys creating useful, impartial content on various health, fitness, nutrition and medical topics.

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