Have you ever walked down the health supplements section of the grocery store only to be completely baffled at what you’re looking at?
All you want is a kind of protein powder, and yet there are a few dozen options looking back at you. There are whey proteins and pea proteins and egg white proteins and who knows what else. And this is just the protein powder section.
Beyond the protein, there are fat burners and branch-chain amino acids and pre-workouts, post-workouts, and all kinds of other supplements you’ve never even heard of.
Even if you know of the supplement what do you know about the brand?
The supplement you purchase will heavily impact what you’re able to squeeze out of the workout. Optimum Nutrition is one company that specializes in easily accessible supplements you can find at most grocery stores.
Are these supplements any good and should you drop your own hard-earned cash on the products?
Here is everything you need to know about Optimum Nutrition and what to expect from the supplements the company sells.
Products Produced By Optimum Nutrition
Is Optimum Nutrition Right for You?
Optimum Nutrition retails a number of products. By far the best selling is its Gold Standard 100% Whey.
On its website, it is marketed as a post-workout “muscle support & recovery” product. But, as is the case for most whey proteins, it is possible to use it prior to a workout and at any other time during the day.
The Whey protein is sold in a number of sizes. This includes the one and two-pound varieties as well as the on-the-go one-serving product that is excellent for individuals who need the product but are unable to mix it while out and about (or who want a meal replacement snack while driving or traveling).
Essential Amino Energy is another popular product sold by the company. This is sometimes sold with its Amino Energy + Electrolytes Sparkling Energy Drink.
In addition, the company does sell a plant-based protein powder for when you’re looking for a protein that doesn’t include proteins derived from animals (whey proteins do contain milk and other dairy byproducts).
Optimum Nutrition also sells its Serious Mass for weight gain (which can be beneficial for anyone looking to put on weight faster, or for those with such a high metabolic rate they struggle building muscle at all). Creatine power is also one of its staple products.
Some of the newest products sold by Optimum Nutrition includes its Opti-Men multivitamin and probiotic gummy, an essential amino.
Energy Advanced supplement, a pre-workout supplement, several variations of its probiotic gummy (one of which is packed with Vitamin C and another is prebiotic), plus collagen and hyaluronic acid supplement for joint and hair help, plus a supplement for joint health designed for those who are 40 and older.
Gold Standard 100% Whey
Because Gold Standard 100% Whey is the company’s top seller let’s look further at the product. First, there are a number of size options you should consider. Beyond the individual servings of the whey drink, it is available in 1, 2, 5, and 10-pound containers.
You can also pick up a six-serving sample pack as well. This is one way to go if you’d like to avoid buying a large quantity of it before you decide whether you like the flavor or not.
Flavor for whey proteins is always up to each individual. What you like another person might find chalky.
Of course, Optimum Nutrition also sells a handful of flavors as well, so you aren’t forced to drink the same flavor of protein powder every single time you down protein powder.
When you visit your local grocery store you likely will only find a handful of these flavors, but you can buy your favorite through the website, should you choose to.
The current flavors Optimum Nutrition sells include Banana Cream, Birthday Cake, Blueberry Cheese Cake, Cake Batter, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coffee, Cookies & Cream, Double Rich Chocolate, Extreme Milk Chocolate, French Vanilla Creme, Mocha Cappuccino, Rocky Road, Salted Caramel, Strawberries & Cream, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Unflavored, Vanilla Ice Cream, and White Chocolate.
The unflavored “flavor” is good if you are mixing it with other supplements. Perhaps you want to mix it with a pre-workout supplement that already has a flavor or creatine that is flavored as well.
The unflavored protein powder might also work if you’re looking to use it in some baked goods and you don’t need a flavor.
Marketed Benefits Of the Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
Each of the protein powders uses the same marketing benefits, so it does not matter which product or flavor you are considering.
As the “World’s best-selling whey protein” (those exact numbers are especially difficult to back up as not all companies release the same sales numbers or how many ounces of powder are sold), each serving of the protein powder offers 24 grams per servicing, 5.5 grams of branch-chain amino acids, the powders are gluten-free, don’t include any artificial growth hormones, and all have been banned substance tested.
While you likely don’t need to worry about any banned substances being within your protein powder, it is beneficial to know the product has been tested against known banned substances in athletic competitions. You don’t want to be disqualified due to something found in one of your supplements.
Some of the nutrition elements of Optimum Nutrition’s protein will vary slightly based on the flavor you opt for. Protein and carbs will not shift between the flavors. You’re going to net 24 grams of protein per serving and 3 grams of carbs (including 1 gram of sugar and under 1 gram of fiber).
However, the biggest difference you’ll find will be the sodium levels. Some flavors will have higher levels of sodium than others in order to make up the flavor difference.
Double Rich Chocolate, for example, contains 50mg of sodium (as well as 35mg of cholesterol). Delicious Strawberry contains the same amount of carbs, but it has two grams of sugar (instead of one), and cholesterol is 40mg. The unflavored version comes in at 110 calories (instead of 120), has just 2 grams of carbs, 50mg of sodium, and 30mg of cholesterol.
As you can see, there are slight differences in some of the basic nutrition facts found in the different flavors, but in terms of protein, you are going to net 24 grams per serving. One other thing you might want to keep in mind.
Because the unflavored version doesn’t include as man carbs or other nutrition elements you actually receive more servings per container.
A single 2-pound container will container 30 servings of the unflavored version, but you’ll receive 28 or 29 servings depending on the flavor you opt for. It isn’t a big difference, but it is something you should keep in mind if you’re looking for ways to squeeze every penny out of your protein powder purchase.
Comparing To Store Brands
So the big question is are the specifics and nutrition facts all that different from what you might find with other products out there?
Well, let’s compare what the Optimum Nutrition nutrition facts are compared with a popular store brand.
Equate is Walmart’s nutrition store brand, so if you find yourself at Walmart checking protein powders you might see Optimum Nutrition sitting next to Equate. Equate’s chocolate-flavored whey protein powder is 170 calories, 80mg of cholesterol, 6 grams of carbs, 135mg of sodium, and 30 grams of protein.
With Optimum Nutrition, each gram of protein is five calories.
On the other hand, every gram of Equate protein is about 5.7 calories. On the surface that doesn’t sound like that big of a difference, but it means per 24 grams of protein you’re going to be downing around 15 extra calories when you use the store brand. If you have three servings a day, that’s 45 calories a day.
Day by day, that can begin to add up. It’s not a ton, but it is something.
Probably the biggest difference here is the carbs and sodium. With Equate you’re getting 2 grams of carbs per 10 grams of protein, while with Optimum Nutrition you’re getting 1 to 1.5 per 12 grams of protein.
So, if you’re looking to get the most out of your protein and want better control of where your calories are coming from, Optimum Nutrition is the way to go.
And as for sodium, this is the main difference. Optimum Nutrition contains 50mg of sodium per 24 grams. Equate contains 135mg per 30. This means 4.5mg of sodium per gram of protein in Equate, versus less than 2.1mg of sodium per gram of protein.
It’s always a good idea to try and limit your sodium intake as best you can. Especially if you’re consuming several servings of powder every day. This makes Optimum Nutrition by far the healthiest option to consider.
Is It Worth Your Money?
There are all kinds of protein powders out there, so you really need to do your research when looking at them. The best way to do this is to simply turn the containers over and read through the nutrition facts.
This will instantly begin to separate the good products from those you should avoid.
Yes, products like Equate might offer some okay protein numbers per serving, but once you dive into the sodium numbers you’ll find it is chock-full of salt and other less than desirable byproducts. This makes Optimum Nutrition’s whey powder one of the better buys for the process.
The Shake Test
One of the biggest questions you should have about protein powder, at least if you’ve been using protein powder for some time, is how well it mixes into water or milk (whatever you’re mixing it with).
There are some protein powders out there that just don’t mix well and end up giving you the consistency of cottage cheese.
That is a terrible thing to try and swallow. However, Optimum Nutrition doesn’t have this kind of problem.
Because there are some milk byproducts within the powder it helps it break down easier. Now, you still need to do your part and mix it.
The best way to do that is with a protein mixer (one of those cups that comes with a metal ball inside), or use a closed-off jar you can shake.
Optimum Nutrition is an excellent product for mixing. You should still add it into a mixing jar or something of that nature but you won’t need to worry about chunks, just so long as you mix it properly.
If you can’t drink the product it really doesn’t matter what kind of nutritional elements it has. Other products you’ll find you can’t mix well and then you’ll be gulping down chunks. That isn’t a problem with Optimum Nutrition, which is just another reason why you need to give it a chance.
It’s easy to find, the price is right, it isn’t chock-full of sodium, and you can easily mix it. All of this means it is well worth the price and an excellent protein powder to check out.
Optimum Nutrition is one of the best selling nutrition supplement manufacturers out there. You can find it at nearly any grocery store that has a supplement and personal fitness section. You don’t always want to skip around between different supplement manufacturers as it can cause discomfort in your stomach. Optimum Nutrition is gentle on the stomach and, as it is widely available, it is also affordable.
So, no matter what kind of fitness regimen you are on if you want a quality product that doesn’t break the bank you will want to check out Optimum Nutrition. Whether you order it directly through Optimum Nutrition or pick it up during your next grocery store visit, you’ll quickly discover just how solid of a product it is and how it can benefit your diet.