For many years, one whey protein supplement has stood atop the muscle building mountain.
That product is Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard whey.
It’s the world’s best-selling whey protein supplement, and continues to be used by millions of gym goers around the world.
But we live in a supplement world where hype gets you a long way.
So in today’s review, I’ll put this well-known protein powder to the test and subject it to my deliberately harsh Russ Rating score-o-meter to see how it genuinely fares against other leading whey protein products on the current market.
All hype or top dog? Read on…
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Review
I remember picking up my first ever tub of Gold Standard whey.
It was two months after I started lifting.
On a shelf filled with brightly coloured tubs featuring pictures of bodybuilders wearing sunglasses indoors while they trained – because we used to have to go to supplement stores to buy our protein back then – something about the dark red colours which framed the words Gold Standard just screamed quality.
It didn’t need slogans about “exploding muscle cells” or “skin-splitting muscle growth”.
Nor did it require the obligatory mid-2000’s celebrity endorsement.
In a supplement world filled with “tack”, it stood out because it’s design was first rate.
It’s something which has become synonymous with the Optimum Nutrition brand as they’ve grown their product output. They are essentially the Nike of the bodybuilding world.
But that story was ten fucking years ago.
And while design is nice, it’s not the reason you’re buying a supplement.
The real reason you’re buying it is because you want a whey protein supplement to help you build more lean muscle, right?
So how does it stand up when we get inside the pretty packaging?
Thankfully, quite well…
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard whey is one of the world’s top selling whey protein supplements for good reason – it’s good quality.
Sure, it’s not the “best” out there by any means, and the label could definitely use some clearing up.
But to describe it as a run-of-the-mill product would be doing it a disservice.
Here is the nutritional breakdown per serving:
- 24g protein
- 0.9g fat
- 1.3g carbohydrates
With these macronutrients, you’re looking at a whey protein supplement which could be used either to gain size or to trim down.
By keeping the fat and carbohydrates quite low – anything under 2.5g and 5g considered “low” – Optimum have essentially catered to both the bodybuilding market and the fat loss market simultaneously with the same product.
With a total scoop size of 29.4g, you have a protein per serving ratio of 82%.
I consider anything above the 80% mark to be very good, so Gold Standard whey delivers on this front. If confused by the 100% often used in the product’s name, it’s merely part of the product name, nothing more.
The protein blend itself – which can be seen by looking at the ingredients list – is where this product loses a few points.
First up, it’s a proprietary blend.
Sure, you can see the types of protein which were used to formulate the product, but no dosages are given.
This means that although the product lists whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and hydrolised whey protein isolate, we have no way of knowing whether, say, the hydrolised whey protein isolate makes up only a fractional proportion of each serving, or whether it plays a bigger role.
The one thing you can tell from this, however, its that your main ingredient here is whey protein isolate.
If you are ever unsure as to how to tell this, just look at the first ingredient listed in the protein blend.
* Macronutrient breakdown will fluctuate slightly depending upon chosen flavour.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey is a very good whey protein supplement.
Does it deserve the title of “best-selling whey protein in the world”?
Well, I think that has more to do with the marketing of the product than the actual ingredients.
Like I mentioned above, Optimum have branded themselves incredibly well to the point where they are able to charge a premium rate for products and while you could certainly get just as good elsewhere, they definitely don’t have as much “pazzazz” about them.
When you buy Apple, you are doing so because Apple is a very cool brand. Not because they make ground-breaking tech.
When you buy Nike, you are doing so because Nike is a brand for serious athletes. Not because they make the best running shoes on the entire market.
And when you buy Optimum, you are also in part paying for the name.
You do this because you know you are getting quality for the most part, and it removes the doubt created by trying a product you’ve never heard of.
This is reflected in the product’s price.
With that said, once you get under the hood it isn’t a bad supplement at all.
As such, it receives a generous 4 star rating on the dreaded Russ Rating score-o-meter, which you can see below.
If you follow my site regularly, you know that I won’t dish out anything above three stars unless a product absolutely warrants it, so well done Team Optimum.