Optimum Nutrition, or simply ON, is one of the biggest supplement brands in the world. Their whey protein is one of the products that spearheads this reputation – being widely used by everyone from pro athletes to regular gym-goers.
With easy mixability and numerous flavor options, Gold Standard Whey is clearly one of the more popular products on the market – but many still wonder, does it really live up to the reputation?
We’ve decided to review its ingredient quality, overall value, and other factors so you know what you’ll be getting before you buy.
The ingredient label of ON Gold Standard Whey lists the following ingredients:
- Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides)
- Natural and Artificial Flavors
- Citric Acid
- Red 40 Lake, Lactase
The obvious active ingredient in this product is milk protein – whey. It’s a fast-absorbing type of protein that’s gained popularity as a post-training supplement. In this regard, whey is highly time-specific supplement that can provide numerous benefits when used the right way.
One downside is the inclusion of artificial flavors, mainly sucralose. Although a controversial topic, it’s been suggested that sucralose negatively affects the gut microbiome, impairs liver function, and contributes to chronic inflammation. 
Other than this, we really have no complaints about this product. If you’re okay with artificial sweeteners, then you’ll love the taste of this product, its easy mixability (best in the industry in our opinion), and high quality protein content.
Speaking of protein content, a single serving (31g scoop) will provide you with about 24g of protein, which equates to about 70-75% purity. This is not as high as some other protein powders, but it’s not notably low either – it’s an industry standard dose.
It does have a little bit of sugar (1-2g) per scoop and this can actually be beneficial if you’re not on a very strict cut, as it helps to shuttle glucose into your muscle cells.
These are some pretty standard, obvious ingredients and the most we can tell you about them is that they’re what you’d expect from a whey protein. Nothing spectacular, and nothing that would make this product out-perform other supplements on this factor alone.
The biggest advantage of ON Whey Protein, for us, is its mixability and flavors, as you’ll see below.
We’ve also reviewed: Optimum Nutrition Thermo Cuts
Due to its low fat content, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey comes at just 120kcal per serving. This makes is a good option regardless if you’re on a cut or a bulk.
Along with 24g of protein per serving, ON also provides you with 4g of glutamine and glutamine acid, in addition to 5.5g of naturally occurring Branched-Chain Amino Acids. It’s available in different options, including the 908g/2lbs and 2.27kg/5lbs containers.
While ON is still a protein powder – and maybe not quite as amazing as compared to actual tasty drinks – it’s right up there among the very best tasting, if not the best tasting protein powder.
One flavor that stands out to many people is double chocolate. It has a subtle taste and you can’t really notice any sugary, chemical or other lingering aftertaste that would tell you that this is a whey protein. It tastes almost like any delicious drink to us.
The texture is smooth and creamy, and it’s not too overpowering even if you use 2 scoops in 500ml of milk.
The 2lbs (908g) option costs $30.99 on the official Optimum Nutrition website. The price goes up to $59.99 for the 5lbs (2.2kg) option.
ON Whey Protein is a great product. It’s easy to see why so many people use it. Maybe not because of the ingredients themselves – the protein content isn’t anything spectacular, and it has some artificial ingredients – but because it’s arguably the most mixable and tastiest whey protein out there.
It might not be a huge selling feature for others, but it is for us! We’ve had some terrible experiences with other protein brands that clump up when you try to mix them. With Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, at least, we didn’t have to chew our protein shake!
- Easy to mix
- Great, enjoyable flavors that taste completely natural and not too overpowering
- Absorbs fast into the muscle
- Industry leading brand with countless happy customers
- Protein content not as high as in some other supplements
- Contains artificial flavors such as sucralose
- Bian X, Chi L, Gao B, Tu P, Ru H, Lu K. Gut Microbiome Response to Sucralose and Its Potential Role in Inducing Liver Inflammation in Mice. Front Physiol. 2017;8:487. Published 2017 Jul 24. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.00487