100% Whey Gold Standard from Optimum Nutrition is a very popular protein supplement used by sport and fitness individuals. It’s known to be a no-frills product that provides a high-quality protein source at a good value. This article goes over the basic information for whey protein in general and my experience with the product.
Current Deals – 2018 Update: You can currently get optimum nutrition whey protein for 30% off at Amazon.com by clicking this link to automatically apply the discount.
What is it?
Whey is a by-product of cheese production rich in a mixture of various proteins. Not to be confused with casein protein, a similar by-product, the protein in whey is typically broken down and absorbed at a reasonably fast rate1. Whey protein supplement products tend to be around 80% in total protein content by weight after processing and contains a complete protein profile. This makes it a favorable convenient protein supplement to meet protein consumption goals.
Why is it needed?
Generally speaking, whey protein supplements largely became popular as bodybuilders and fitness professionals have been seen chugging and promoting this stuff. The primary use is to meet one’s target protein consumption, usually for muscle building2 and athletic performance though it’s often recommended for weight loss (satiety) efforts as well3. Simply put – if you’re needing help in body composition, whey protein is a pretty effective supplement for increasing your overall protein intake in a convenient manner.
100% Whey Gold Standard
I’ve been using this product for nearly 8 years now so I’m very familiar with it; my daily intake tends to vary but it stays in the range of 2 – 8 scoops per day depending on my goals and training cycle for that period of time. Like many of us that train for a sport or attend a gym on a regular basis, I’ve cycled through a large variety of protein products but this is the one I continually come back to.
Ingredient Quality & Effectiveness
The nutrient profile for this product is roughly what one would expect for a whey protein supplement with approximately 80% of the calorie content coming from protein. This is the first thing I look for on the label when evaluating protein supplements and this passes the first test. If you’re looking for higher protein content by mass, I’d recommend whey protein isolates and hydrolysate products; this product contains a blend of whey protein concentrate, isolate, and added peptides. Keep in mind you’ll pay a premium for such products and should only be considered if one literally counts every carbohydrate and calorie in their diet or if they have trouble digesting whey concentrate (i.e. lactose intolerance).
The other thing I look for on the label is the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) content. This product contains about 5 grams of BCAAs per 30 gram scoop, or more specifically, 17% by calorie content. I like this value to be over 15% by calorie content as it ensures the product has not been spiked with low-quality protein. BCAAs are protein building blocks (amino acids) that have shown to be beneficial for muscle protein synthesis4. If the total BCAAs is not listed on the label, they are sometime also listed as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the sum of which make up the total BCAA content. If neither of these terms are on the product label, I wouldn’t bother with it. Several companies in the past have faced lawsuits from spiking their protein products with low-cost, low-quality protein and it’s something that the consumer can easily avoid by looking at the BCAA content on the label.
Like I said above, I’ve consistently used this product for over 8 years and it does what it’s marketed to do. The quality of the protein is what you’re paying for and Optimum Nutrition doesn’t disappoint.
Taste & Texture
Whey protein (and its derivatives) tends to be bitter when left unflavored. This product is flavored with acesulfame potassium and sucralose, though there is a product line containing only natural sweeteners from Optimum Nutrition. I’ve tried most of the flavors for this product and my personal favorites are Double Rich Chocolate and Mocha Cappuccino. The vanilla is similar to other protein products in flavor so if you like the vanilla flavoring of other protein supplements, you’ll probably like this one. The Double Rich Chocolate in particular is very easy to consume quickly as the flavor is more subdued compared to other chocolate flavorings from competing companies. If you prefer a sweeter chocolate flavor, I recommend trying the Extreme Milk Chocolate flavor, especially if you plan to mix it with fruits and vegetables as the chocolate flavor tastes more like a milkshake in terms of sweetness.
I’ve found that similar products in this range with higher sugar content tend to taste better (this product contains 3 grams of carbohydrates per 30 gram scoop), though keep in mind that this comes at the expense of protein content. I’m not the type of person who expects his protein shake to taste like a dessert so your miles may vary. If this is a concern to you, try looking for a protein supplement with sugar content upwards of 5 grams per 30 gram scoop and look for sucrose on the ingredients list.
The texture when mixed with the recommended 6 – 8 ounces of water is very easy to consume. The powder mixes fairly well in a shaker cup and you won’t find the same chalky consistency if you’ve had experience with this in the past from other products. I do have to state that the consistency is noticeably thicker than pure isolate and hydrolysate products.
Price & Value
As of this year, the 5 lbs container of this product averages around $58 before taxes. There are cheaper whey protein supplements available in the market, including Optimum Nutrition’s Performance Whey product line, but these are on the lower-end of quality in terms of protein profile and flavor/texture; such products tend to contain only protein concentrate which have less overall protein content. You do pay a slight premium for this product as similar products come closer to the $10.00 per pound price range using similar packaging, but the quality in their ingredients and/or taste & texture tend to suffer quite a bit. Personally, I’m happy to pay a little bit more for the considerable upgrade in quality and it’s still much less than the price of a pure hydrolysate from most manufacturers.
You can currently get optimum nutrition whey protein for 30% off at Amazon.com by clicking this link to automatically apply the discount.
Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein – Is it Worth It?
100% Whey Gold Standard is my go-to whey protein supplement and for good reason. It offers exceptional quality for the price and its texture is very good compared to other whey protein concentrate blends available in the market. The flavor leaves much to be desired, but I find it comes average when compared to its competitors.
- Sousa, Gabriela TD et al. “Dietary Whey Protein Lessens Several Risk Factors for Metabolic Diseases: A Review.”Lipids in Health and Disease 11 (2012): 67.PMC. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.
- Moore, D. R., Atherton, P. J., Rennie, M. J., Tarnopolsky, M. A. and Phillips, S. M. (2011), Resistance exercise enhances mTOR and MAPK signalling in human muscle over that seen at rest after bolus protein ingestion. Acta Physiologica, 201: 365–372. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.2010.02187.x
- Zhou, J., Keenan, M. J., Losso, J. N., Raggio, A. M., Shen, L., McCutcheon, K. L., Tulley, R. T., Blackman, M. R. and Martin, R. J. (2011), Dietary Whey Protein Decreases Food Intake and Body Fat in Rats. Obesity, 19: 1568–1573. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.14
- Louard, RJ., Barrett, EJ., Gelfand, RA. (1990), Effect of infused branched-chain amino acids on muscle and whole-body amino acid metabolism in man. Clinical Science (London). 1990 Nov; 79(5): 457-66.