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gold standard natural whey protein

While whey protein is a staple for bodybuilders, it also functions as a good source of protein for anyone who may need extra protein in their diet. That could be a vegetarian, or perhaps an endurance athlete who constantly beats up their body and needs to recover!

Earlier this year I purchased the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Natural Protein Powder so I could get back into the habit of whey protein supplementation. Normally I don’t go crazy with protein supplements, but since I was taking some time off the bike and spending more time in the weight room, I thought I’d add it into my diet for a while.

The Whey Gold Natural stood out to me because it was the only whey protein I could find that did not contain artificial sweeteners! It’s truly amazing how many protein powders contain aspartame, sucralose, and/or acesulfame potassium.

Even protein powders from good brands like Beverly International are full of artificial sweeteners. If you’re like me and prefer to avoid those, it’s hard to find good supplements!

The price was right, too. It was about $40 for a 5lb canister at VitaminShoppe.com, which is nearly 50% off the $75 retail price! I also ordered a 2lb tub from VitaCost.com for about $21, or roughly 40% off the $35 retail price!

So let’s look into the ingredients and nutrition facts and then do a taste test…

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Here are the actual ingredients for the chocolate flavor:

Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Rebaudioside A, Aminogen, Lactase.

gold standard natural whey strawberry

It contains various forms of whey protein, which is good. It comes to 24g protein per serving; then there are over 5 grams of BCAAs and 4 grams of Glutamine & Precursors.

(Popular recovery drinks for cyclists, such as Hammer Recoverite and First Endurance Ultragen, also contain glutamine.)

Fructose isn’t the greatest addition, but luckily it’s not high fructose corn syrup, and it only comes out to 4g sugar per serving. There is also stevia extract (a natural sweetener) which gives it sweetness without adding calories.

The real plus here is that there are no artificial sweeteners! (Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose have infiltrated nearly all other whey protein powders!) There are no artificial flavors or colors either!

(Don’t want any sugar whatsoever? Try the Any Whey Protein from Optimum Nutrition.)

Taste Test

This comes in the standard three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

Vanilla – This was a good creamy vanilla flavor. I’m not a connoisseur of whey protein powder, but this is probably the best vanilla flavored protein powder I’ve had.

It’s great when mixed with milk; kind of like the vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast. It’s not good at all when mixed in plain water, though! (Not that I recommend mixing any whey protein in water…)

Most of the time, I don’t bother with vanilla whey protein, however, it’s great for mixing into fruit smoothies or protein bars since it won’t screw up the flavor.

Chocolate – This tastes good as well. It’s similar to other whey proteins I’ve had. It’s just plain chocolate – not luxurious like rich and creamy milk chocolate, not artificial like Nesquick stuff, and not as strong as dark chocolate.

I’d say it’s most similar to chocolate Ovaltine, but still not the same. Regardless, it’s good enough I can gladly drink it every day and it doesn’t seem to get old.

Obviously it tastes better if mixed with milk, as opposed to water. But the chocolate mixed in water is actually drinkable.

Strawberry – This is very good. It tastes just like the strawberry Nesquik powder I remember drinking as a kid.

I’ve had some bad strawberry protein powder in the past, but this is way better.

I like the strawberry plain or mixed with either the chocolate or vanilla powders!

Overall, strawberry is my favorite flavor, but I think the chocolate will withstand the test of time a little better.


gold standard natural whey protein

This Whey Gold Natural seems to mix the same as most other whey proteins. You can actually mix it up with a spoon in a cup if you stir hard enough, and that works alright, but some still sticks to the spoon and some to the cup.

A shaker cup works much better! And of course, if you put it in a smoothie, it mixes very easily. (I’m thinking chocolate banana or strawberry banana smoothie.)

gold standard natural whey protein

Again, let me point out that mixing the protein powder with milk is great. when mixed with water, well, the thin watery texture just isn’t that great.

My final verdict is…

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey offers great nutritional value, natural flavors, and no garbage. It tastes surprisingly good, and you can find it at a very good price when on sale (although it’s still reasonable at retail price.)

Typically I order custom protein powders in bulk from True Nutrition, but this is my #1 recommendation for whey protein powder you can find in the store. It’s the only kind I’ll take.

Official website: www.OptimumNutrition.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Optimum Nutrition
Product: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Natural 100% Whey Protein Powder
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-02-19
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. When choosing post-workout protein powder its important to keep in mind the antioxidant properties of cocoa.

  2. It is also better to mix protein with milk instead of water, not just because of taste, but because milk helps to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage according to a study published by the Department of Sports Sciences at Northumbria University. For a link to a summary of the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20555370

  3. What about other Whey Protein brands without artificial sweeteners such as Dymatize Elite Natural or Now Foods Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate?

  4. @Joe

    The Dymatize Elite Natural would also be a good one to try, very similar to this ON Whey Gold Natural. A good price as well.

    Now Foods is usually good, I think I’ve actually had the unflavored whey isolate you mentioned, but I can’t remember for sure.

  5. I recently bought a container of the gold whey protein powder and saw on the ingredient label the artificial sweetener, sucralose. I was under the impression that this contained no artificial sweeteners but instead had stevia as the sweetener. Is there any optimum nutrition whey protein product that contains stevia as the sweetener?

  6. @Michael

    Make sure you buy the “Gold Standard Natural 100% Whey.” If it doesn’t have the word Natural on the front of the label, you’re getting the regular whey protein mix which contains artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

  7. thank you Micheal for pointing that to Levi,I wasn’t aware of the “Natural” difference.

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