In this Gold Standard Whey Protein Review, we are going to talk about a whey protein powder supplement that is manufactured by one of the most well-known and respected companies in the whole sports supplement industry.
The manufacturer is none other than Optimum Nutrition – the world’s most trusted sports nutrition brand. Gold Standard Whey is just one of their wide selection of products, and they have been operating since 1986.
Since then, this manufacturer’s brand name has become synonymous with amazing sports nutrition supplements, having an enormous worldwide following and selling their goods in over 70 countries across the globe.
You’ve probably already heard of them and possibly even tried one or two of their products since they’re on the shelves of almost every sports nutrition store in the world.
So we’re going to talk specifically about Gold Standard Whey Protein and review it in depth – checking out the ingredients list, seeing what makes it unique and showing you how this whey protein shake compares to all the other best ones in the world.
Incidentally, if you need to refresh your memory about this type of sports supplement, in general, we recommend reading the Top 5 Whey Protein Powders article.
And also, it’s entirely unsurprising at this point, but we already feature ON Gold Standard Whey in our Top 10 Protein Powder Supplements for Men and Top 10 Protein Powder Supplements for Women. So, by now you know that it’s good, even though it’s not number one.
So let’s see exactly how good it is!
Supplement Overview: What is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey?
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is a protein powder drink mix that contains Whey Protein Isolates as its primary protein source – while also including Whey Concentrate and Whey Peptides.
It is designed for people who want a clean, safe and quality macronutrient supplement that provides real and consistent results.
As a matter of fact, this protein shake has been voted by numerous supplement reviewers as the best protein supplement of the year, for 10 consecutive years since 2005 to 2014!
As a protein supplement, it contains 5.5 grams of BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), 4 grams of naturally occurring glutamine and glutamic acid per serving and is also instantized for easier mixing and consumption.
If you don’t know why Branched Chain Amino Acids are incredibly important and why you should always make sure that your protein shake has a large amount of them – we urge you to read the full informational guide on BCAAs at BCAA Guide: The Facts, Benefits and Side Effects.
And finally, before we start with the in-depth look at the ingredients list, if you haven’t yet caught-up on all the facts and benefits of protein powder in general, we highly recommend reading What is Whey Protein Powder and 5 Primary Reasons to Take it.
It will help you learn everything there is to know about this vital macronutrient in general!
Now let’s get on with the ingredients!
In-Depth Ingredient List Analysis:
This protein powder supplement by Optimum Nutrition is primarily a Whey Protein Isolate, with some Whey Concentrate and Whey Peptides thrown into the mix.
Whey Concentrate is the most common and the least expensive form of whey.
It retains most of the nutrients that are naturally found in whey and contains low levels of fat and cholesterol.
However, it tends to be high in carbohydrates present as lactose, which makes it a sub-optimal choice for people who don’t tolerate it.
The protein by weight content usually sits at around 29%–89%, but most manufacturers provide around 60-89%.
That said, the main and most ample ingredient in this supplement is the Isolate form, which means that the product only contains a small portion of Whey Concentrate.
However, that is enough to make the product not very suitable for people who are lactose-intolerant.
Whey Isolate is the purest form of whey protein in existence and it usually sits at around 90+% of protein-by-weight.
All of the fats, as well as sugars in the form of lactose, are removed from this type of whey, during the process of manufacturing, which makes it ideal for lactose-intolerant people and those who have various digestive problems or allergies.
It’s also incredibly fast-absorbing and fast-acting.
Whey Peptides are simply hydrolyzed proteins, which means that they are broken down into smaller components called Peptides, to ease digestion and absorption.
This form of Whey is incredibly fast-acting, meaning that your body can utilize it almost right away.
This, in combination with the fast-absorbing Isolate form, makes ON 100% Whey as close to an “instant supplement” as it can get.
It’s incredibly good for people who want an intra-workout protein shake to feed their muscles, encouraging their development and growth.
The other ingredients:
Aside from the whey itself, Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein also contains Aminogen®.
Aminogen® is a patented formula which provides a unique combination of various digestive Proteases, otherwise known as enzymes, which are created from a fungus called Aspergillus Oryzae and Aspergillus Niger.
It’s used by those who want to significantly improve their recovery after an intense physical workout routine, in combination with a whey protein, because it substantially increases the speed at which you digest and absorb the macronutrient.
No other ingredients stand out, except for Sucralose and Acesulfame-K.
Sadly, these two are frequently used in various nutritional sports supplements as effective artificial sugar substitutes.
However, they are far from safe and are known to cause unnecessary spikes in insulin hormone levels and also to cause problems with blood sugar levels.
They are known for their various side effects and we, as a reviewer, don’t like them at all and feel that we must inform you about the potential health hazards that they can cause.
For example, during the initial manufacturing process of Acesulfame Potassium, the chemical carcinogen called methylene chloride (aka Dichloromethane) is used as a solvent, and its traces can sometimes be found in the finished product. Long-term exposure to it may lead to recurring issues like headaches, visual disturbances, mental confusion, nausea, depression, effects on the liver and kidneys.
Also, various studies like this one have concluded that over-consumption of Ace-K is extremely dangerous and that even moderate consumption of various dietary soft drinks which contain Ace-K have been linked to the development of obesity, type-2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
So, if you like zero-calorie soft drinks, you’re already getting more of this artificial sweetener than needed – which in combination with a sports nutrition supplement sweetened with it, may cause over-consumption.
When it comes to Sucralose, it’s no saint either.
Its side effects include:
- Reduction of good gut bacteria
- Release of potentially toxic compounds called Chloroproanols when breaking down in the stomach
- Alteration of insulin responses and blood sugar levels
- And a few other minor harmful effects
So hopefully you see why we are not fans of these two artificial sugar substitutes at all!
If it is absolutely necessary to have a sugar substitute – we prefer the natural sweetener Stevia instead, which is a significantly healthier choice than any other artificial sweetener.
This is pretty much the only significant downside of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey from this review, apart from the fact that it also lacks a strong source of slow-digesting and slow-absorbing protein sources.
The health and safety of our readers are of utmost importance to us; that is why we always try to point out potentially harmful substances so that you can choose only the healthiest and the very best products on the market.
That said, this would be a shoddy Optimum Nutrition Whey review if we didn’t mention the fact that this product also comes in a completely naturally flavored option, which is entirely free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors!
So we recommend that you absolutely avoid the flavored options, and opt for the healthiest choice if taste not a total deal breaker for you!
Supplement Features: The PROs and CONs of Taking It
So now that we’ve combed through all of the ingredients and saw what’s what – let’s check out all the other facts:
- Premium Quality Ingredients
- Most Trusted and Respected Manufacturer
- Very Affordable
- Low Calories, Low Fat, Low Carbs
- Great Mixability
- Decent Taste with many different flavors
- All-Around Supplement ideal for any training goal
- Few Additives
- Incredibly fast-acting
The most notable thing is that the product is extremely affordable, even though Whey Isolate and Peptides are the most expensive forms of whey.
- Flavored options contain Sucralose & Acesulfame-K
- Medium Cholesterol
- No slow-digesting protein sources
No product is perfect, and this one too has its flaws.
However, when compared to the big picture, they are completely insignificant to most people.
For those who want absolutely no harmful substances or additives, there are a couple of better options in our top 10 list.
Our Evaluation and Verdict of Gold Standard Whey Protein by ON
Value For Money98%
It’s as close to a perfect protein powder supplement as you can find. Our experience with this protein shake was nothing short of fantastic – we loved the effect, the taste of the unflavored version, the mixability, and the low price!
We thoroughly and heartily recommend it to absolutely anyone who wants to supplement their protein intake! It is a tried and true product that absolutely deserves to be among the very best in the field.
The overwhelming number of positive reviews that this product has received, both from users and industry critics as well as reviewers, is just staggering!
So if you want a reliable choice – you won’t go wrong with Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard.
And if you want to know about the reasons to take these supplements and about their benefits, check out 13 Astonishing Benefits of Whey Protein Powder.
While the product in this Gold Standard Whey Protein review is fantastic, don’t be surprised when we say that there are still a couple of better options.
But how can that be? This is pretty much the best protein powder in the world, so what could be better?
Whey from grass-fed cows – that’s what! The health benefits and the quality of whey can be significantly improved if you replace where it comes from – namely from grain-fed and mass-produced cows to grass-fed and free-roaming ones.
If you want to learn more about this and see which product is at the top – check out, our number one of the top, Catalyst Grass Fed Whey Protein or, our number two, Transparent Labs Grass Fed Whey Protein Review.
As you can see, there are still some improvements that can be made, and Gold Standard 100% Whey is not be-all and end-all of whey protein supplements.
But what do you personally think about ON Gold Standard? How does it compare to other products that you’ve tried?
If you have any experience when it comes to various protein supplements and especially this one, we’d love to hear your opinion down in the comment section below – where we can start a discussion!
Train Hard and Get Gains!