Don’t you think it’s crazy how many different protein supplement powders there are on the market? BodyBuilding.com offers over 500 different whey protein products alone. And just to make things worse, each product has different compositions and promises different benefits — they can’t all be that different, can they?
If you’re like me, you just need to cut through the noise and figure out what the best value for the money is when it comes to whey protein. And that’s why I’m happy to show you this Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Review as it’s my go-to choice for pre- and post-workout nutrition.
Why? There are quite a few reasons — I’ve outlined them below:
Simplicity and Purity
I’ve been hardcore with my workout lifestyle for a while now, but protein supplementation is relatively new to my regimen. When I started hunting through the protein products on the market, I was really struck by the relative simplicity of the ingredients:
That’s it — the only things in here besides the whey protein and the cocoa are the following:
- Lecithin — Extracted from plant or animal sources; improves the mixing ability of your protein powder
- Natural and Artificial Flavors — The label doesn’t list this but I suspect this is artificial vanilla flavoring to mellow the cocoa flavor.
- Acesulfame Potassium — Calorie-free sugar substitute that is generally recognized as safe. Check out Examine.com’s article on artificial sweeteners for more information.
- Aminogen — Proprietary blend of digestive enzymes that help you break down proteins for digestibility.
- Lactase — Enzyme naturally present in the digestive system of humans – this further helps break down the lactose present in this product so it can be more easily digested.
I think that when you’re introducing a new product into your regimen it’s important to start with the simplest product first so that you can judge its effectiveness without having to guess what is causing your performance gains. Was it the caffeine that helped you rock that set? Did the pea fiber or the casein protein keep your hunger at bay? Is it the whey or the egg or the soy or the vegetarian protein that’s causing you to feel better — or worse — after your workout? Unless you start with a simple supplement then it’s very difficult to tell what specifically is giving you a boost — or what’s dragging you down.
Another great benefit to simple products like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is that it’s really easy to tell how much total protein you’re getting and what the source of that protein is. For instance, in a 30.4g scoop of this product you’re getting 24g of protein from whey. No messing around. If you then combine this product with another protein like casein or egg, you can easily tailor your protein supplementation to get the correct ratio of slow and fast proteins that you want — not what the manufacturer (or the bro down at GNC) says you should be ingesting.
Ease of Mixing
Have you ever mixed something up in a glass and realized that it was clumpy, yet you chugged it anyway and regretted each mouthful? Yeah, me too — that sucks.
I performed a little test to demonstrate the mixability of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard. I put one scoop in 8 oz of cold water and tested the mixability in three ways; 10 seconds in my awesome little Ninja BL660 blender, 30 seconds of vigorous shaking in my 20 oz BlenderBottle Classic, and 60 seconds stirring by spoon in a glass.
Here’s the results of my tests (pictures to follow soon!):
Ninja BL660: What else would you expect? Blended to a fine, creamy beverage. Yum!
BlenderBottle: Does an almost perfect job – on occasion there are a very few small particles left over but I just think of these as protein power crunchy bits!
Spoon: You gotta stir fast, but this performs almost as well as the BlenderBottle. If you wanted an even better mix, use a small wire whisk. Or better yet, just go and buy a BlenderBottle or two already, OK?
(Like this post? Share it with your friends!)
Whether I’m deciding which southern destination to visit when the snow flies, or which protein supplement I’m going to invest my money in, I base a lot of my purchasing decisions on two things: aggregated customer ratings and personal word-of-mouth recommendations. In other words, eight thousand people can’t all be wrong about the quality of a product, and when a good friend recommends something to me I know they won’t lead me astray.
First — aggregate reviews. Here’s the customer rating of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard on Amazon.com:
And here’s the customer rating of the same product on BodyBuilding.com:
Once you pass a particular critical mass of about one hundred ratings on any product, you can put a fair bit of weight on the collective opinion of the reviewers. In this case, almost 90% of people gave it a positive rating on Amazon.com and the 1 star reviews comprise less than 5% of all the reviews. That gives me some confidence that this is a decent product.
But what about personal recommendations? My partner in fitness, Jim, turned me on to ON products when I became semi-serious about weightlifting. I’d always seen the containers on top of his pantry, and when I asked him about what they were like he sat down and talked to me ten minutes non-stop about his experience with it and why he kept going back to it. And if you’ve ever met Jim in person then you know he’s serious about his body.
Value for the Money
Do you get frustrated that you always seem to be giving up quality in trade for cheaper products? I do — but I’m still trying to figure out the magic formula that lets Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard get high ratings from trainers, nutritionists, and workout enthusiasts and still be one of the lowest-priced protein supplements out there. Now, the price is going to differ depending on what part of the world you’re in, but in my part of the world I can still get it for around $0.75 per serving.
Both my wife and I have protein shakes multiple times per day — and nothing is more frustrating than supplements that are offered in 2 lb tubs only. Two pounds? That won’t last me two weeks in my house! Give me a break! I can order this sucker in 10 lb bags, delivered to my front door! Really — I don’t understand supplement companies that force you to buy your supplements in tiny jars that also contribute a lot of excess plastic to the waste stream. Buy in bulk and save — and save the environment, too!
Taste, Taste and Taste
“Okay, Chris, but HOW DOES IT TASTE?”
Yeah, I was getting to that! 🙂
This comes in 24 separate flavors, INCLUDING PUMPKIN PIE for all you Pumpkin Spice latte lovers out there! There are a few flavors that just aren’t worth it, like the Vanilla (although the Casein Vanilla flavor is really good, for some reason). I really love the Double Rich Chocolate flavor and so does my wife. It goes really well with banana, mango and avocado if you’re into fruit protein smoothies. I’d also recommend trying the Coffee and Mocha Cappuccino flavor if you enjoy things like mocha drinks and coffee ice cream. Oddly enough, the Cake Batter flavor tastes like what the Vanilla flavor should have been all along!
I haven’t tried the Pumpkin Pie flavor, although I’m tempted — if any of you have tried it, let me know in the comments below!
ON is known for their delicious range of flavors, and if one doesn’t resonate with you, there’s always more to choose from — including TEN varieties of Chocolate flavors: Double Rich Chocolate, White Chocolate, Rocky Road, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Malt, Mocha Cappuccino, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut — and of course, plain ol’ Chocolate.
A Special Note on Protein Spiking
Recently there’s been some buzz in the supplementation community surrounding the problem of protein spiking. Here’s what’s going on:
Every protein supplement lists the total amount of protein contained in each serving. But how do they test for the actual amount of protein in a product?
That’s done through testing for the presence of nitrogen in your protein supplement — protein molecules contain nitrogen bonds, so the more nitrogen that shows up in the test, the more protein, right?
Not necessarily. Some manufacturers introduce extra taurine and glycine into their “proprietary blends”; since they have a nitrogen bond, they will also register on the nitrogen test. The FDA permits amino acids blended with other dietary proteins to be marketed collectively as total protein, so even though your supplement may state “25g of protein per serving”, you may not be getting a full 25g of dietary protein — it may be 20g of dietary protein but 5g of supplementary amino acids or even creatine.
The good news is that Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard doesn’t contain anything other than straightforward dietary protein — so the 24g of protein you get in each scoop is a true 24g of protein. Read more about the controversy of protein spiking at https://blog.priceplow.com/protein-scam-amino-acid-spiking.
The Bottom Line
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard has one of the most straightforward lists of ingredients in the industry, comes in a fantastic array of flavors, blends well, and is phenomenally good value for the price. I can’t recommend it highly enough.