Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Review

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is currently the world’s bestselling whey protein powder, with over 17,500 reviews on Amazon alone. Each scoop provides you with 24 g of protein, 3 g of carbohydrates, 1.5 g of fat, and 120 calories, together with over 4 grams of Glutamine & Glutamic Acid, and 5 grams of BCAAs (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine).

So what makes it so special, and how do you know if it’s the best protein powder to include in your current meal plan?

In this review we’ll compare O.N. Gold Standard 100% Whey to two other top-rated protein powders; Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, and BSN SYTHNA-6. This includes the price, flavors, ingredients, cost per serving, protein blend, and customer feedback, to guarantee you only buy the protein that best supports your fitness goals.

Unfortunately Gold Standard Whey doesn’t include any Creatine or pre-workout energy boost (except coffee in their Mocha Cappuccino flavor). That’s why we also added recommendations for the best way to include O.N. Gold Standard as part of a complete supplement stack that helps to build lean muscle, maximize strength in the gym, and decrease recovery time post-workout.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Ingredients

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Ingredients

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is the world’s number one bestselling protein powder, with over 14,000 highly rated reviews on Amazon alone.

So what is it that makes Gold Standard Whey so special?

It’s a combination of factors, including the macronutrient balance, extensive range of flavors, high quality protein combination, and affordable price tag. Let’s start with the macronutrients.

The 24 grams of protein per serving is more than you get with Optimum Nutrition Protein Energy (20 g) and Performance Whey (22 g). In fact, aside from their high-calorie weight gain protein powders (Pro Gainer and Serious Mass Gainer), Platinum Hydrowhey is the only Optimum Nutrition protein powder to offer more protein per serving (30 g).

Carbohydrate and fat levels are kept low thanks to the blend of whey protein isolates, whey protein concentrates, and whey peptides. This is the same combination of proteins that MuscleTech used to create their Platinum 100% Whey protein powder, which has a similar macronutrient profile of 24 g protein, 4 g carbs, and 1.5 g fat per serving.

So O.N. Platinum Hydrowhey has more protein, and MuscleTech Platinum Whey has less carbs. Why should you buy Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey?

One reason is price. At the time of writing this review, each serving of the MuscleTech protein powder cost $0.85, based on the 918 g tub. Platinum Hydrowhey was more expensive still, at $1.24 per serving, based on the 1,560 g tub. In comparison, a serving of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey cost $0.78.

Of course, it’s not all about price. What about the micronutrient profile? How much cholesterol and sodium is in each scoop, and what flavors are available?

Vitamins, minerals, and Aminogen®

Very few whey protein powders have an impressive list of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The 8% of your calcium daily value in Gold Standard Whey is one of the lowest we’ve seen. But unless you’re buying casein, it’s rare to have any more than 25% per serving.

Sodium content is low, but varies according to the flavor. For instance, Cookies & Cream flavor has 200 mg (8% DV), while Strawberry Banana flavor has just 60 mg (3% DV). Cholesterol varies in a similar way, with up to 55 mg (18% DV) in Delicious Strawberry, but 30 mg (10% DV) in Chocolate Coconut.

Other ingredients listed on the label include cocoa, natural and artificial flavors, acesulfame potassium as a sweetener, and soy lecithin to improve mixability.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey also contains a blend of enzymes called Aminogen®, in addition to the enzyme lactase.

Aminogen® is an enzyme system that aids in the digestion of protein, and helps eliminate the bloating that some people experience from protein shakes as part of a high protein diet. It’s also believed to increase amino acid uptake and retain higher levels of nitrogen, thereby providing a boost to muscle protein synthesis. This makes it a smart choice for anyone looking to build lean muscle.

Each serving of Gold Standard 100% Whey contains around 11 g of Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), 7.7 g of Conditionally Essential Amino Acids (CAAs), and 5.3 g of Nonessential Amino Acids (NAAs).

Naturally occurring amino acid profile

EAAs (11 g)
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Threonine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Methionine
CAAs (7.7 g)
  • Arginine
  • Cystine
  • Tyrosine
  • Histidine
  • Proline
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
NAAs (5.3 g)
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Serine
  • Glycine
  • Alanine
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

O.N. Gold Standard – Product Summary

  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) Main Ingredient
  • Whey Protein Microfractions from Whey Protein Isolates & Ultra-Filtered Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Over 4 Grams of Glutamine & Glutamic Acid in Each Serving
  • More Than 5 Grams of the Naturally Occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine in Each Serving

When is the best time to take it?

Recommended use

Add one rounded scoop to a blender, glass or shaker cup filled with 6-8 oz of water or your favorite beverage. Stir or shake until powder is completely dissolved. O.N. Gold Standard Whey can also be mixed into oatmeal, yogurt, or baked goods recipes.

O.N. Gold Standard vs. Isopure Whey Isolate

O.N. Gold Standard
Isopure Whey Isolate
Protein: 24 g
Protein: 25 g
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Fat: 1 g
Fat: 0 g
Calories: 120
Calories: 100
Protein density: 75%
Protein density: 86%
Container size: 2250 g
Container size: 1363 g
Serving size: 32 g
Serving size: 29 g
Cost per serving: $0.78
Cost per serving: $0.89

O.N. Gold Standard vs. BSN Syntha-6

O.N. Gold Standard
BSN Syntha-6
Protein: 24 g
Protein: 22 g
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fat: 1 g
Fat: 6 g
Calories: 120
Calories: 200
Protein density: 75%
Protein density: 47%
Container size: 2250 g
Container size: 2270 g
Serving size: 32 g
Serving size: 47 g
Cost per serving: $0.78
Cost per serving: $0.79

What flavors and sizes are available?

With a serving size of 30 grams, each tub provides you with 74 servings. Following a recommendation of 2 servings per day, this should be enough to last 37 days.

At the time of writing our review, each serving was priced at $0.78. We think this is reasonable, given the protein content and level of BCAAs. But if your big concern is value for money, you might want to check out MET-Rx Natural Whey.

The MET-Rx protein powder has just 1 gram of protein less per serving, but more BCAAs for a lower price ($0.64 per serving).


  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Double Rich Chocolate
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Whey Salted Caramel
  • Naturally Flavored Chocolate
  • Naturally Flavored Vanilla
  • Birthday Cake
  • Banana Cream
  • Chocolate Malt
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Strawberry Banana
  • French Vanilla Crème
  • Rocky Road
  • Extreme Milk Chocolate
  • Delicious Strawberry
  • Mocha Cappuccino
  • Cake Donut
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Cake Batter
  • Chocolate Coconut
  • White Chocolate
  • Coffee

Save money with Amazon

If you’re looking to save money on your monthly protein powder order, you might want to consider the Amazon Subscribe & Save program.

Subscribe & Save allows you to unlock savings of up to 15% on a wide range of supplements, including O.N. Gold Standard 100% Whey (selected flavors only).

You can save 5% with a subscription to 1 product, or save the full 15% by subscribing to 5 products, provided they’re all delivered to the same address. The delivery schedule can be set from monthly, up to once every 6 months.

Although 5 products might sound a lot, if you already supplement with a protein powder, multivitamin, creatine, BCAA, and glutamine, the savings can soon add up.

Who are Optimum Nutrition?

With over 30 years in the sports nutrition industry, Optimum Nutrition currently produces some of the bestselling sports nutrition products in the world. These have been designed to improve your strength and recovery, health and wellness, and help increase your protein intake, such as their Gold Standard 100% Whey.

To find out more about their protein powders, bars, ready to drinks, BCAAs, glutamine, pre-workout supplements, creatine, multivitamins, and weight loss products, we recommend our Optimum Nutrition buying guide. This includes a summary of the health benefits you can expect from each product, which sizes and flavors are available, and dosages for the top ingredients.

We’ve also added in-depth reviews and comparisons with other top rated nutrition companies, to guarantee you only buy the best supplement for your fitness goals.

Protein Powder Buying Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

5 / 5

At the time of writing this review, each 30 gram serving of Gold Standard 100% Whey was priced at $0.78, based on buying a 5-pound tub. That’s more expensive than MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey, which was priced at $0.58 per serving (5-pound tub).

Combat Whey has slightly more fat (0.5 g), but 2 g less carbs and an extra gram of protein, which is why we would struggle to justify the price difference. This was based on the Chocolate Milk flavor of Combat 100% Whey, whereas other flavors were priced closer to $0.66 per serving (Cappuccino).

The only difference in terms of the protein blend is that Gold Standard 100% Whey includes Whey Peptides, in addition to the Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate.

There is some research to suggest that whey peptides can help you gain muscle and recover faster from resistance workouts, compared to whey concentrate.

But evidence of the effects on humans is lacking. Until we see more double-blind studies proving the benefits, we’re hesitant to recommend Gold Standard Whey over MusclePharm Whey based on this alone.

For us, both protein powders taste great, and although Gold Standard 100% Whey is the top whey protein powder on Amazon, the price difference means we would have to recommend Combat 100% Whey.

Both protein powders are available in a range of flavors. MusclePharm has 5 and Optimum Nutrition closer to 17. But if you’re consuming two servings per day and on a budget, a 5-pound tub of MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey could save you $12 over the same size tub of Gold Standard 100% Whey.

Note: Prices tend to fluctuate, so always check both products before you buy.