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Hands-On Review: Gold Standard Whey Protein (2024)



Testing Criteria
Taste 7.25 Mixability 7.5 Protein Density 8 Cost 10 Nutritional Value 8 Third Party Testing 10 Brand Reputation 10


  • Mixes well with both water and milk
  • Available in 20 flavors, ensuring there’s an option for every taste preference
  • Affordable price point compared to other premium whey protein powders on the market
  • High-quality whey protein isolate as the primary ingredient, providing 24g of protein per serving


  • Contains artificial sweeteners, which may not appeal to those seeking a more natural protein powder
  • Includes soy lecithin, making it unsuitable for individuals with soy allergies or sensitivities

Our Verdict

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is a high-quality protein powder that delivers on its promises. With 24g of protein per serving and a wide variety of flavors, it’s a dependable and versatile protein option.

The presence of artificial sweeteners and soy lecithin may be a drawback for some consumers. If you’re looking for a more natural option or have soy allergies, this may not be the best choice for you.

It offers excellent value for its price point. It’s a reliable and effective option if you’re looking to increase your protein intake without breaking the bank.

Overall, a solid choice if you prioritize quality, taste, and affordability, and don’t mind the artificial sweeteners or soy content.

Protein Content 24 Calories 120 Carbs 3 Protein Density 8 Sugar 1 Fat 1.5 Sodium 130 Allergens Milk,Soy
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Prefer to watch than read? Check out our full review on YouTube:

Hi, I’m Corey 👋🏽

As an ex-NFL/CFL athlete and current personal trainer, I’ve put countless supplements to the test. I have a degree in Sports Administration and a passion for the science behind sports nutrition.

Plus, I’m backed by a wonderful team of doctors, dietitians, and athletes.

You can read more about our testing process here.

Corey Lewis holding Gold Standard Whey Protein in the kitchen

Getting ready for the test!

Gold Standard Whey Protein Overview:

Ingredients Per Serving
Protein 24g
Calories 120
Carbs 3g
Sugar 1g
Fat 1.5g
Sodium 130mg
Sweetener Used Acesulfame Potassium
Number of Flavors 20
% of Calories from Protein 80%
Cost* $0.03 per gram of protein; $0.60 per serving

*Cost and ingredients may vary depending on the tub size, retailer, and flavor.

What Makes Optimum Nutrition Gold Stand Whey Different?

ON Gold Standard Whey stands out from the competition by being one of the top selling protein powders on the market. Its commitment to quality, taste, and mixability has earned it a reputation as the gold standard in the industry.

One key differentiator is Optimum Nutrition’s obsession with quality, which is evident in their rigorous ingredient selection process and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. They perform over 100,000 quality and food safety checks annually to ensure that their products meet the highest standards.

With over 35 years of experience in sports nutrition, Optimum Nutrition has perfected their craft, offering a product that delivers 24g of high-quality protein per serving along with naturally occurring BCAAs. Their dedication to the consumer and longstanding operating history has made them a trusted choice in the industry.

Testing Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey:

As usual, we tested 8 factors in total. To learn more about our testing process, see here.

Criteria Gold Standard Whey Average
Taste 7.25 7.35
Mixability 7.5 7.65
Digestibility 9 8.21
Density 8 7
Cost 10 6.71
Nutritional Value 8 7.47
Third Party Testing 10 5
Reputation 10 7.18

*Note: Averages are calculated using our proprietary database of 350+ protein powders.

Taste Test (8)

I tried both the Chocolate and Vanilla flavors of ON’s Gold Standard Whey. I preferred the chocolate flavor, scoring it a solid 7 out of 10 rating.

The chocolate flavor was smooth, especially considering it’s naturally flavored. On the other hand, the vanilla flavor wasn’t as impressive, scoring a 6.5 out of 10, which is pretty average in my book.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are naturally flavored products, so I didn’t expect an overly sweet or artificial taste. Despite this, the chocolate flavor managed to deliver a much better experience for me.

Obviously, taste is subjective so your mileage may vary, especially considering there 20+ flavors to choose from.

Corey tasting ON Gold Standard Whey Protein vanilla flavor

Taste testing the vanilla flavor!

Dumping Gold Standard Whey scoop of protein vanilla into shaker

Mixing the chocolate flavor

Nutritional Value (8)

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard boasts an impressive nutritional profile, earning it a rating of 8 out of 10. The naturally flavored version uses high-quality whey protein isolate, an ultra-filtered form of whey that reduces lactose and dairy content.

ON Gold Standard Whey contains 24g of protein per serving, which is more than the 20g of protein per serving by Clean Simple Eats Whey Protein, and contains just 1g of sugar per serving, while products like BSN SYNTHA-6 has 4g.

Gold Standard’s commitment to pure, high-quality ingredients is evident in its ingredients label. Its protein content and low sugar levels make it a strong choice if you’re seeking a lean, effective protein supplement.

Cost (10)

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is a cost-effective option, with a price of $0.03 per gram of protein. This makes it more affordable than competitors like Ghost Whey Protein ($0.07/g) and Naked Whey Protein Powder ($0.05/g).

At $0.60 per serving, Gold Standard offers a better balance between cost and serving size compared to Dymatize ISO100. Despite having a similar price per serving, Gold Standard provides 24g of protein, while Dymatize ISO100 offers only 25g.

Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein proves that quality doesn’t have to come at a premium price. Its combination of affordability and high nutritional value makes it a smart choice if you’re on a tight budget.

Here’s a look at how Gold Standard Whey compares on price:

Product Per serving Per gram of protein Amazon link
Flavcity $3.00 $0.12 Click here
Isopure (Flavored) $2.13 $0.09 Click here
Body Fortress $2.10 $0.08 Click here
Gold Standard Whey $0.60 $0.03 Click here
Boba Tea $1.92 $0.08 Click here
Muscle Milk Genuine $1.91 $0.06 Click here
SEEQ $1.80 $0.08 Click here
Ghost $1.73 $0.08 Click here
Ryse $1.67 $0.07 Click here
Ascent $1.67 $0.07 Click here

*You can read full reviews of each product by clicking on the product name.

**Prices will vary depending on tub size, time of purchase, and place of purchase.

Gold Standard Whey VS The Market

Let’s see how Gold Standard Whey compares to other proteins on the market:

Product Protein Per Serving Calories Per Serving Price Per Serving
Clean Simple 20g 110 $2.00
Flavcity Whey Protein Smoothie 25g 160 to 220 $3.00
Ghost Whey Protein 25g 130 $1.73
Gold Standard Whey 24g 120 $0.60
Dymatize ISO-100 25g 120 $0.60
MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate 20g 80 $1.85
Naked Whey Protein Powder 25g 150 $1.25
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate 28g 130 $2.00
Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey 24g 120 $2.40

As you can see, Gold Standard is one of the most affordable whey protein powders on the market.

Here’s how it compares in terms of protein density, i.e. the % of calories from protein:

Product % of Calories from Protein
Clean Simple 73%
Ghost Whey Protein 77%
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 80%
Dymatize ISO-100 83%
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate 80%
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate 86%
Naked Whey Protein Powder 67%
Flavcity Whey Protein 45% to 63%

As you can see, Gold Standard Whey is middle of the pack in terms of the percentage of calories from protein. If you prefer a denser powder, you might want to try Transparent Labs or Dymatize.

Keep in mind, the total caloric intake, and therefore protein density, may vary across flavors.

Gold Standard Whey IS a Good Option if:

  • You’re looking for a high-quality protein powder on a budget
  • You appreciate having a wide variety of flavors to choose from
  • You prioritize a brand with a long-standing reputation for quality and reliability in the sports nutrition industry

Gold Standard Whey is NOT a Good Option if:

  • You prefer a completely natural protein powder without any artificial sweeteners or flavors
  • You have a strict allergy or intolerance to dairy or soy, as this product contains both ingredients

Final Thoughts:

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is a top-tier product that delivers on its promises.

It does contain artificial sweeteners and soy lecithin. So if you’re looking for a completely natural option or have allergies to these ingredients, it may not be the best fit for you.

If you’re looking for an affordable and decent-tasting protein powder, Gold Standard is a solid choice. Its long-standing reputation and commitment to quality make it a trustworthy option in the sports nutrition market.

You can grab a bag on Amazon or direct from the Optimum Nutrition website if you’re ready to give it a shot.

Until next time,
Coach Big C✌🏽

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