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6 Best Optimum Nutrition Flavors in 2024

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When purchasing a protein powder, choosing the best Optimum Nutrition flavor is a hard choice. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is extremely popular among health and fitness enthusiasts for being high-quality, well-priced, and available in a wide range of exciting flavors.

Best Optimum Nutrition Flavor

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps with muscle building, tissue repair, and vital enzyme and hormone production. It’s also a popular macronutrient used for weight loss due to its satiety and thermogenic effects during digestion. Protein powder is heavily used in the health and fitness industry as a way to provide a convenient protein source.

Combining whey concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate, the Optimum Nutrition protein flavors receive excellent ratings for purity from third-party testing agencies. Let’s take a look at the best flavors of gold standard whey protein.

Top 6 Best Optimum Nutrition Flavors Reviewed

  1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Double Rich Chocolate – Top Pick
  2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – French Vanilla Creme – Runner Up
  3. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Strawberry Banana – Premium Pick
  4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Banana Cream – Best Budget Pick
  5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Chocolate Mint
  6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Delicious Strawberry
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard FlavorTotalTasteTextureMixabilitySweetness
Double Rich Chocolate38.5109.5109
French Vanilla Creme38109.599.5
Strawberry Banana37.59.599.59.5
Banana Cream379.5999.5
Chocolate Mint369999.5
Delicious Strawberry369999

Founded in 1986, Optimum Nutrition has been producing high-quality products in a wide range of product categories for over 30 years. By taking a hands-on approach to manufacturing, they aim to maintain the highest standards throughout the full production process.

Each ingredient is professionally tested before being used, with their manufacturing facilities Informed-Sport and GMP registered. Optimum Nutrition is also the main supplier for the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Each of the six flavors I’ve reviewed below contains 24 grams of high-quality protein per serving that’s made up of whey isolate, concentrate, and peptides.

In terms of the other macronutrients, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard contains approximately 3-4 grams of carbohydrates (1-3 is sugar), and 1-1.5 grams of fat depending on the flavor chosen.

The tub is well designed, with the weight, serving size, protein content, and agency test results visible on the front.

On the back, the nutrition label gives a complete macronutrient and micronutrient breakdown, with instructions on the serving size, how much water or milk to add, and how long to mix the shake for. In terms of label transparency, the Optimum Nutrition 100% whey has received some of the highest test scores for ingredient transparency and quality.

Alongside this, Optimum Nutrition has added 5.5 grams of BCAA’s and 4 grams of glutamine to support muscle building and recovery. Each scoop contains just 120 calories, making the protein powder ideal for both muscle gain and weight loss.

With over 20 exciting and unique flavors available, which one is the best gold standard whey flavor?

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Double Rich Chocolate – Top Pick

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - Double Rich Chocolate

The double Rich chocolate flavor is my top pick for good reason – it has a creamy, rich chocolate flavor similar to chocolate milk and mixes extremely well with both milk and water.

Despite it being called ‘Double Rich Chocolate’, it’s not too sweet with the cocoa powder taste nicely balanced to make an enjoyable shake without the sweetness being overpowering.

The double-rich chocolate flavor is ideal for those who prefer to mix their shakes with both water and milk, with the chocolate milk taste making it a good flavor choice for breakfast.

If you’re not a big fan of sweeteners, the double-rich chocolate flavor doesn’t contain any sucralose. It’s 31 grams per scoop which costs approximately $1.07 per serving, with 74 servings in the tub.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 46%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 2%
  • Serving Size: 30.4 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.07

Overall, it’s a great flavor that goes well with pretty much anything if you love chocolate. The double-rich chocolate flavor gets my top pick for the best ON protein flavor.

38.5 EXPERT SCORE

The double-rich chocolate flavor is ideal for those who prefer to mix their shakes with both water and milk.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • Creamy chocolate milk flavor
  • Mixes well with both milk and water
  • Tastes like a spoonful of plain cocoa

Could be better:

  • Might not be sweet enough for some people

2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - French Vanilla Creme - Runner Up

Nutrition Gold Standard Vanilla Creme

When you think of typical protein powder flavors, French Vanilla Crème doesn’t usually come to mind. Vanilla-flavored protein shakes are usually hit and miss - this one is certainly a hit.

With a creamy vanilla flavor, it tastes like you're drinking a vanilla milkshake or melted vanilla ice cream. This makes the French Vanilla Crème flavor an excellent option if you're a dessert lover.

Due to the added emulsifier, the powder mixes great with both water and milk without becoming lumpy or sticking to the shaker bottle. Whilst it tastes good with water, mix it with milk for a creamy vanilla taste.

Just like the double-rich chocolate flavor, the french vanilla crème does a great job of not being too sweet whilst still tasting good for those who love dessert.

Each serving size is 31 grams and costs approximately $1.07 per serving, with the tub containing 73 servings.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 48%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 2%
  • Serving Size: 31 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.07

Overall, it’s a great flavor that goes well with pretty much anything if you love dessert flavors.

38 EXPERT SCORE

With a creamy vanilla flavor, it tastes like you're drinking a vanilla milkshake or melted vanilla ice cream. This makes the French Vanilla Crème flavor an excellent option if you're a dessert lover.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • Tastes like a vanilla milkshake when mixed with milk
  • Creamy melted ice cream texture

Could be better:

  • Could taste better with water

3. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - Strawberry Banana - Premium Pick

Nutrition Gold Standard Strawberry Banana

Optimum Nutrition has combined two of the most well-known protein powder flavors - strawberry and banana, to make a strawberry banana hybrid flavor that doesn’t disappoint.

It combines the sweet flavor of strawberry with the less sweet banana flavor to give you a flavor that’s in the middle, with both flavors not overpowering one another.

If you were to add strawberries and bananas to milk and blend them, this is exactly what you would get. Both flavors come through nicely and taste like a nice fruity milkshake that feels refreshing.

Like most Optimum Nutrition flavors, it mixes well with both water and milk, with water being a great option if you're looking for a refreshing shake with ice on a hot day. The strawberry banana flavor also goes great as a breakfast option if you're wanting a quick protein source.

In terms of serving size, each scoop is 30 grams and costs around $1.11 per serving.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 48%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Serving Size: 30 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.11

Overall, it’s a great flavor that goes well with pretty much anything if you love dessert flavors.

37.5 EXPERT SCORE

It combines the sweet flavor of strawberry with the less sweet banana flavor to give you a flavor that’s in the middle, with both flavors not overpowering one another.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • Great hybrid of two popular flavors
  • Refreshing shake option mixed with ice
  • The sweetness isn’t too overpowering

Could be better:

  • Price per serving is a little higher than the double rich chocolate and vanilla flavors

4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - Banana Cream - Best Budget Pick

Nutrition Gold Standard Banana Cream

If you're a big fan of bananas, the banana cream flavor is definitely for you. Imagine mushing up several bananas into a powder that can be easily added to water or milk for a great-tasting shake - the banana cream flavor is exactly that.

Whilst most banana flavor shakes taste and smell quite artificial, this one doesn’t. Once opened, the pleasant banana smell is nice, with the creamy banana flavor tasting like a melted banana milkshake.

Even with water, the banana cream flavor is quite creamy. When mixed with milk it tastes exactly like a milkshake but thicker. In terms of mixability, it mixes great with both milk and water. If a thick banana milkshake isn’t for you, mixing it with water is a great option.

At 31 grams per scoop, each serving costs $1.18 with 73 servings in the container.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 48%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 2%
  • Serving Size: 31 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.18

Overall, the banana cream flavor is a great banana milkshake option when mixed with water, with the milk option providing a thicker shake.

37 EXPERT SCORE

Once opened, the pleasant banana smell is nice, with the creamy banana flavor tasting like a melted banana milkshake.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • Creamy Banana melted milkshake taste
  • No artificial smell compared with other brand flavors

Could be better:

  • Very thick when mixed with milk

5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - Chocolate Mint

Nutrition Gold Standard Chocolate Mint

Most protein powder brands don’t make a chocolate mint flavor. With other 20 exciting flavors, Optimum Nutrition is leading the way.

After opening the tub, you’re greeted with a nice chocolate mint scent. The mint and chocolate flavors are nicely mixed, with the chocolate tasting similar to the double rich flavor but with small amounts of mint added.

Being a chocolate mint flavor, it doesn’t taste too sweet and mixes with water and milk without any issues. With milk, the mint flavor does taste a little strange meaning it’s probably best mixed with water.

Each tub contains 70 servings costing $1.42 each, meaning it's slightly more expensive than most other flavors.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 48%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 2%
  • Serving Size: 32 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.42

Overall, if you love mint and chocolate, the chocolate mint flavor is definitely for you. The mint flavor isn’t too overpowering and it tastes great with water.

36.5 EXPERT SCORE

Being a chocolate mint flavor, it doesn’t taste too sweet and mixes with water and milk without any issues.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • Unique flavor option that’s not usually offered
  • Tastes great mixed with water

Could be better:

  • Mint flavor with milk isn't for everyone

6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder - Delicious Strawberry

Nutrition Gold Standard Delicious Strawberry

Alongside banana and chocolate, strawberry is a common flavor associated with most protein powder brands. Despite it being so common, it remains a popular choice and makes my top 6 list for good reason.

Whilst the sweet strawberry flavor might be too much for most people, the creamy consistency from the added thickeners makes it less medicine-like compared to other popular brands.

Being an optimum nutrition flavor, it mixes great with both water and milk, meaning you can choose based on preference.

Just the strawberry banana flavor, the delicious strawberry flavor is great with ice on a hot day. It’s also a suitable shake option for vegetarians. If you want to turn it into a strawberry banana shake, just add a banana.

With 73 servings per tub, each 31-gram scoop costs $1.18 per serving.

Main Specs

  • Diet Type: Muscle Build
  • Protein Source: Whey
  • Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
  • Protein Percentage of Calories: 48%
  • Carbohydrate Percentage of Calories: 1%
  • Fat Percentage of Calories: 2%
  • Serving Size: 31 grams
  • Price Per Serving: $1.18

Overall, the delicious strawberry flavor gives a great strawberry taste without the medicine taste typically associated with most strawberry protein powders.

36 EXPERT SCORE

Being an optimum nutrition flavor, it mixes great with both water and milk, meaning you can choose based on preference.


Taste:0
Texture:0
Mixability:0
Sweetness:0

Positives:

  • No medicine taste other brand strawberry flavors
  • Suitable for vegetarians

Could be better:

  • Suitable for vegetarians Too sweet for some people

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Why Even Optimum Nutrition?

1. Brand Reputation

When buying an Optimum Nutrition product, you're buying from a trusted brand with over 30 years of experience producing high-quality products at a decent price point.

With over 129,000 customer reviews on Amazon, Optimum Nutrition has a 4.7/5 star rating which is extremely impressive considering its wide range of products.

2. Product Quality

With the rigorous ingredient and manufacturing process, Optimum Nutrition aims to provide the highest quality sports supplements to a wide range of athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Optimum Nutrition has always taken a hands-on approach to product quality. Their certified manufacturing facilities rigorously test each ingredient before placing it into a machine.

Once finished, each product is given a vacuum barrier and sealed before being stamped with a date and batch code.

3. Product Variety

In addition to creating the Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Optimum Nutrition also manufactures products such as slow-digesting casein protein.

Alongside this, they offer various vitamins and minerals, essential amino energy powder, and a range of protein snacks including bars and crisp bars.

Their products can be found throughout the world in gyms, grocery stores, and shops as well as directly online from Amazon or the Optimum Nutrition website.

4. Protein Formula

The Gold Standard 100% whey formula is a protein blend consisting of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides.

Unlike most protein powders, the Optimum Nutrition 100% whey contains no unnecessary filler ingredients. With the different flavor options, it does have some natural and artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium), and the digestive enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose.

5. Mixability

A common problem with most whey powders is clumping when liquid is added meaning they don’t mix very well.

To solve this, Optimum Nutrition has added soy-derived lecithin, an emulsifier that helps the powder to mix easily without clumping.

6. Bloating

Another common issue with protein powders is gas and bloating due to the milk sugar lactose. Most people struggle to break this down, leading to small amounts causing gas, bloating, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

To minimize or stop the adverse side effects, Optimum Nutrition has added lactase, a digestive enzyme that helps to break down lactose.

Drinking Nutrition Flavor Shake

What to Look For in Optimum Nutrition Protein Powders

Here is what to look for when deciding which Optimum Nutrition flavor is the best for you:

1. Sweeteners 

Flavored protein powders often contain different types of sweeteners depending on their composition.

Nutritive sweeteners (also known as natural sweeteners) like honey, cane sugar, and agave are easily identified by checking the nutrition label. Try to limit the intake to less than 5 grams per serving.

Non-nutritive sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame are the same types of sweeteners found in diet soda and can be found on the protein powder’s ingredient list.

Sugar alcohols like sorbitol provide another non-caloric sweetening option that can cause people who are sensitive to FODMAPs digestive issues.

With different protein powder flavors using different sweeteners, it’s best to thoroughly check the label before purchasing.

2. Flavorings

Flavored protein powders also contain flavorings that are either listed as specific ingredients or as types of flavors. Added to protein powders in small amounts, flavorings are generally considered safe for consumption and don’t need much more attention.

If you have an allergy to a specific food ingredient, make sure to check the protein powder label. If a natural flavor contains a major food allergen, it will be listed in the ingredients section.

If you have an allergy that doesn’t belong to any of the major eight, it won’t be listed on the label.

3. Thickening Agents

Thickening agents that provide protein powder bulk are okay in small amounts and shouldn’t be a cause for concern if they are on the nutrition label.

4. Emulsifiers/ Anti-clumping Ingredients

Emulsifiers and anti-clumping agents are added to protein powders to give them a creamy texture and help with mixing. They also help the powder to last longer.

Emulsifiers and anti-clumping ingredients are safe in small amounts.

5. Additional Supplements

Supplements added to protein powders include creatine, BCAA’s, omegas, and enzymes.

Whilst it doesn’t hurt to have these added to the protein powder, it’s better to get them separately, with most protein powders containing inadequate amounts.

6. Taste

When making a flavored protein powder, the main goal is to provide a great flavor that tastes and smells great.

Whilst milk can usually mask the quality of a flavor if it’s not quite up to scratch, a powder that tastes good when mixed with water is preferable.

Once mixed with water or milk depending on preference, the shake needs to deliver a good aftertaste so you're not left with a bad taste at the end of drinking. 

Tips From the Champ

As protein powders are created using different processing methods, they come in different forms. These include isolates, concentrates, and hydrolysates.

Concentrates are the least processed meaning they contain more carbohydrates and fats and therefore more calories. Isolates undergo more processing, reducing the amount of fats and carbohydrates and increasing the protein. Hydrolysates are further processed to make them more digestible.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

7. Protein Quality

Protein quality is one of the most important factors when determining which protein powder is best.

Proteins are made of amino acids, with 20 different ones existing. Of these, 9 are essential, meaning you need them from your diet.

With the amounts of essential amino acids determined by the protein source used, make sure to check the protein powder label to ensure all 9 essential amino acids are included.

8. Protein Quantity

Alongside quality, protein quantity is equally important. When ingesting a protein shake around a workout session or throughout the day between meals, your main goal is to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

Whilst research is still ongoing, current literature suggests 20-40 grams per meal of high-quality protein is enough to maximally stimulate MPS. With this, a protein shake should contain this amount per scoop. 

FAQs

Which Flavor Is Best In Optimum Nutrition?

The Double Rich Chocolate flavor gets my top pick in terms of taste and mixability, tasting great with both water and milk. If you don’t like that flavor, Optimum Nutrition offers a huge range of exciting options to choose from. 

Is Optimum Nutrition Good For Weight Loss?

The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is an excellent choice for weight loss. It contains 24 grams of high-quality whey protein with each serving only 120 calories.

Which Optimum Nutrition Flavor Is The Best?

Optimum Nutrition offers an amazing range of new and exciting flavors, making choosing the best one a hard decision. Coming top of the list is a fan favorite, the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Double-rich Chocolate Flavor. It’s not too sweet, tastes great with both milk and water, and mixes well in a shaker. For these reasons, it gets my vote for the best tasting Optimum Nutrition protein powder.

Optimum Nutrition has a great reputation for producing a high-quality formula that passes ingredient tests with flying colors. When buying from them, you know you're getting a product that’s undergone an in-depth testing process to make sure it’s of the highest standard.

What do you think of my Optimum Nutrition flavor reviews? Do you have any favorites of your own? Let me know below.

Also Read:

References:

  1. Cookies Optimum Nutrition // Optimumnutrition:
    https://www.optimumnutrition.com/en-us/about-us
  2. What is protein? // Livescience: https://www.peckmeout.com/can-you-put-squat-rack-outside/
  3. What are carbohydrates? // Livescience: https://www.livescience.com/51976-carbohydrates.html
  4. What Do Fats Do in the Body? // Livescience: https://www.livescience.com/9109-fats-body.html
  5. Artificial Sweeteners: Good or Bad? // Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-good-or-bad#how-they-work
  6. Five common food additives — and what they mean for our health // Livescience: https://www.livescience.com/common-food-additives
  7. Thickening Agent // Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thickening_agent
  8. Emulsifier/ Anti-clumping Ingredients // Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/emulsifier
  9. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution // Jissn.biomedcentral: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Oleksandr Maksymenko

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko
Certified Sports Nutritionist,
MSc Sports Dietetics

Experience: 7 years
Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist certified by the Fitness Professional Association (FPA). He follows the principles of evidence-based dietetics and fosters a healthy relationship with food in his clients, ensuring there are no strict prohibitions on their favorite foods or frequent lapses. His primary goal is not only to achieve results for you but also to sustain them over the long term, all while enjoying tasty and delicious food.

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