In this review article I’m doing a head-to-head protein powder comparison between MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate and Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey.
We’ll be taking a detailed look at how they stack up against each other in terms of their ingredients, nutritional value, cost, taste, buyer’s ratings, & more.
The two flavors I have are MyProtein’s Chocolate Brownie and Gold Standard’s Double Rich Chocolate.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Summary…so who’s better, MyProtein or O.N.?
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate and Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey have many similarities in terms of their:
- protein provided per serving
- amino acids profile
- sweeteners used
- other additives
There are only slight variations in these categories, such as:
*MyProtein has the additional ingredients modified food starch, salt, & the artificial sweetener sucralose.
*ON’s Gold Standard has the additional enzyme formulas Aminogen® and Lactase.
*Gold Standard is currently about 10% cheaper than Impact Whey Isolate on Amazon.
*MyProtein uses sunflower lecithin as its emulsifier, ON’s Gold Standard uses soy lecithin.
*For my taste buds, Gold Standard’s Double Rich Chocolate has a more agreeable taste than MyProtein’s Chocolate Brownie.
*Both protein powders mix easily in a shaker bottle with just water.
MyProtein vs O.N. Gold Standard Comparison Categories
Here’s an outline of all the categories I’ll be covering in this comparison review.
- Macronutrient quantities
- Protein % per serving
- Protein type(s)
- Amino Acids profiles
What else do they put in it?
- Artificial sweeteners
- Other processed additives
- Buyer’s reviews
- Flavor choices
- Available sizes
First up, let me show you which products I’m using for this comparison.
This is a good idea because both MyProtein & Optimum Nutrition offer a wide variety of whey protein powder types & flavors, and in my review I’m only talking about one specific type of powder from each of them.
(Any “MyProtein” or “Optimum Nutrition” you see that are in blue are text links that open their respective Amazon product pages in a separate tab, if you want to peek at current prices or buyer reviews, etc.)
MyProtein vs Optimum Nutrition
The MyProtein powder used in this comparison review is their Impact Whey Isolate.
For the taste test I get to a little later on, I’m going with the Chocolate Brownie flavor I bought a few weeks ago.
My go-to Optimum Nutrition whey powder for all of the comparison reviews here on heydayDo is their Gold Standard 100% Whey.
I’ve been drinking this O.N. protein powder off & on for many years, and the flavor I use the most is their Double Rich Chocolate.
These aren’t pure protein powders by any means, but they are both better than a lot of similarly-priced whey products currently on the market.
And when I say better, what I mean is that neither of them have a long list of processed additives like many other cheap, mass-produced protein powders do.
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate ingredients
- Whey protein isolate
- Sunflower lecithin
- Natural & artificial flavor
- Modified food starch
- Acesulfame potassium
O.N. Gold Standard Whey ingredients
- Protein Blend (whey isolates, whey concentrates, & whey peptides)
- Natural & artificial flavors
- Acesulfame potassium
I’d call this a tie for the most part: note that they use some of the same ingredients.
There are a few distinctions to be aware of, and I’ll go over those differences in more detail in their respective categories in a bit.
Calories & macronutrients
That’s MyProtein Impact Whey on the left, ON’s Gold Standard Whey on the right.
Optimum Nutrition: 30g
Optimum Nutrition: 120
O.N. & MyProtein macronutrients
Optimum Nutrition: 24g
Optimum Nutrition: 3g
Optimum Nutrition: 1g
At first glance it looks like O.N. has more of everything compared to MyProtein, including 20% more protein.
But that’s not the case…their macronutrient numbers are actually about the same.
Reason: Look at their respective serving sizes, Optimum Nutrition’s is 30g, MyProtein’s is 25g.
That’s a 20% difference in serving size, and that’s the only reason O.N. looks like it has more calories, protein, etc.
Interesting thing is, their scoops are the same size, look:
(ON’s Gold Standard is the gold one, o’ course…)
The key is found in their Nutrition Facts panels.
Optimum Nutrition is basing their macro numbers on a rounded scoop, MyProtein Impact on just a scoop:
MyProtein vs. O.N. protein analysis
Revisiting the Nutrition Facts panel, we see this comparison of protein per serving:
MyProtein – 20g
Optimum Nutrition – 24g
Looks like O.N. delivers more protein, but remember they’re going with a rounded scoop.
And that is the only reason their protein quantity looks bigger/better than MyProtein’s when comparing their Nutrition Facts panels.
Bottom line: If you scoop the same amount of powder out of either a MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate or Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey container, you’ll get the same amount of protein.
So now let’s look a little closer in our comparison using another protein number that I find very useful.
Protein percentage per serving
What is this number?
I like figuring out a product’s Protein % per serving because it helps clearly illustrate how much other stuff you’re getting in that scoop besides the protein you’re really after.
You figure it out by dividing the amount of protein per serving into the entire serving size.
MyProtein as an example
Look at the Nutrition Facts panel and we see:
* a serving size of 25 grams
* protein delivery of 20 grams
20/25 = .8 or 80%. This means that 80% of what you’re drinking is protein, and 20% is other stuff.
And so comparing our two protein powders in this review, we get:
MyProtein – 80%
Optimum Nutrition- 79%
Result: Just about even, which isn’t surprising since they’re both whey isolate-based and their “other ingredients” lists are similar.
Is 80% or so a good number?
Not the best but it’s a pretty good number for sure, especially for a flavored whey powder since things like cocoa or vanilla extract need to be added for taste.
Here’s how our MyProtein Impact & ON’s Gold Standard compare to a few other very popular whey products along with a pure whey isolate:
Protein % per serving:
Why is protein % per serving important?
Lots of fillers & sugars are often used
A lot of cheap protein products — powders and ready-to-drink shakes in particular — might show a high protein number in the Nutrition Facts panel, which seems nice.
But what if that protein is only half of what you’re drinking, and the other half is all crap?
For example, look at this Core Power Performance protein shake.
It provides 26 grams of protein per serving, which is more than both MyProtein and Optimum Nutrition (20g & 24g, respectively).
So this Core Power must be a better protein product, right?
When we figure out its protein % per serving, we see that it’s actually the worst of the three protein products, look:
Core Power protein per serving: 26g
Core Power macros per serving: 58g
MyProtein protein %/serving: 80%
Optimum Nutrition protein %/serving: 79%
Core Power protein %/serving: 45%
That’s a big, big difference.
Worse still, it shows that over half of what you’re drinking in a Core Power shake isn’t protein, but something else.
“Less than half” is just wrong if you’re looking for a real for real protein product.
And in this case, that something else that’s been added is cane sugar & honey.
Protein types: MyProtein vs. Optimum Nutrition
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate consists of just that; it’s a 100% whey isolate product.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is what’s known as a whey blend.
This is because it combines three types of whey:
- whey protein isolate
- whey protein concentrate
- whey peptides
So who’s better?
It depends on your individual preferences; there’s no clear winner here.
With the lactose removed, whey isolate is well-tolerated for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to consume this high-quality protein source. (3)
And MyProtein’s Impact powder is 100% whey isolate.
Whey protein concentrate
No doubt Optimum Nutrition uses whey protein concentrate in their whey powders because it’s considered the cheapest form of whey to make. (4)
It’s cheap to make because it’s a leftover byproduct that comes from making cheese.
And it just so happens that Optimum Nutrition is owned by a gigantic dairy product corporation named Glanbia.
Whey comes from the liquid portion of milk during the separation process of cheese production. (5)
When it’s dried, it becomes the basis for all these whey powders you see on the market.
But what are whey peptides?
A peptide is just a string of amino acids, making a peptide smaller than a protein. (6)
And amino acids are the building blocks within all of the types of protein we eat & drink, including protein powders. (7)
So whey peptides are the amino acid strings that are extracted from the liquid milk plasma, also a process during cheese-making. (8)
Optimum Nutrition’s use of whey peptides as a protein source is another cheap way for them to make their powders, since their parent company makes tons of cheese. (9)
Amino acid profile comparison: MyProtein vs. O.N.
Without even digging up the nutritional data of these two protein powders, I’m guessing that their amino acid profiles are very similar.
This is because both are 100% whey products, even though they’re not made up of the exact same type of whey.
But let’s go see…
MyProtein’s amino acid profile
Here’s a pic of the amino acid profile of MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate.
MyProtein doesn’t provide this info on the bag, nor on their product page on Amazon, or even on their website.
No warm fuzzies from me for that, since there are some of us who train hard & take our supplements seriously…
…which naturally leads us to wanting to know “how much of the good stuff” is in this product.
So I wrote them and here’s what I got:
One thing to note:
Their formatting of this amino acid info doesn’t follow the typical industry standard.
Every time I’ve ever seen an amino acid profile for a protein powder –we’re talkin’ hundreds of times — the numbers represent a single serving.
On the other hand, MyProtein provides numbers for 100 grams, which is 4 servings’ worth of their 25 gram scoop.
Never seen that before…
Because of that, they’re making you do some math to try & figure out how much BCAAs & EAAs (branched-chain amino acids & essential amino acids, respectively) you’re getting per serving.
Kinda bugs me, but whatever…
…I’ll do the math. Then we’ll compare them to ON’s Gold Standard Whey amino acid numbers, which look like this on the packaging:
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
MyProtein Whey Isolate: 5.7g
ON Gold Standard Whey: 5.5g
Essential Amino Acids
MyProtein Whey Isolate: 11.9g
ON Gold Standard Whey: 11g
Pretty close numbers as expected when comparing two similar whey protein powders.
Give a slight edge to MyProtein, since it has about a gram more EAAs and a teeny bit more BCAAs.
MyProtein vs ON: Sugar & Sodium
Here are the per serving amounts of sugar & sodium of Impact Whey Isolate & Gold Standard Whey.
Note that neither of these two protein powders add sugar to their formulas; both use artificial sweeteners instead.
Bottom line: So any sugar you see — which will be negligible — is occurring naturally.
Optimum Nutrition: 1g
As expected, very little sugar in either of them.
And with only a gram difference between the two protein powders, we’ll call this a tie.
I’m a bit surprised that MyProtein has twice the sugar as ON’s Gold Standard Whey.
Granted it’s only 1 gram.
Still, it’s odd to me because Optimum Nutrition’s whey still has a teeny bit of lactose (milk sugar), thanks to the whey concentrate they use.
But the MyProtein Impact powder is a 100% isolate, so almost all of the lactose has been removed, yet it has 2 grams of sugar.
Again, this is a minimal amount of sugar any way you look at it, so no biggie.
The reason I’m surprised is because the pure whey isolate I drink from Muscle Feast has 95% less sugar than MyProtein’s Impact whey isolate (0.1 vs. 2 grams).
Muscle Feast’s almost sugar-free…
Looking over the Impact Whey ingredients list, maybe that 2 grams of sugar comes from the Modified Food Starch, an additive made from corn or tapioca that’s used to help thicken & blend things. (10)
There’s no salt added to Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey.
Yet it has a lot more sodium in it than MyProtein’s whey isolate, which lists salt as an ingredient…go figure.
MyProtein whey isolate: 40mg
ON Gold Standard whey: 130mg
That’s over 3x as much, so where does it come from?
My guess is it’s naturally-occurring in the whey protein concentrate, based on data I saw on a US government food aid site. (11)
And another food database, NutritionData, confirmed whey concentrate’s natural sodium content.
MyProtein vs. ON: Artificial sweeteners
Where our ‘natural’ flavors & artificial sweeteners are born…
As just mentioned, there’s no sugar in either of these protein powders, so they “need” to be sweetened artificially.
“Need”, meaning the manufacturers need to produce it this way in order to compete in the crowded & competitive protein supplement space.
This is because:
1) the market clearly proves that there a lot more people who prefer flavored protein products compared to those who’re cool with unflavored versions;
2) most people who work out regularly via strength training or athletics, AND also supplement their daily protein intake, avoid excess sugar consumption like the Plague.
Bottom line: Artificial sweeteners & protein supplement products (powders, bars, shakes) go hand in hand.
MyProtein’s & O.N.’s artificial sweeteners
This bag of Chocolate Brownie-flavored Impact Whey Isolate I bought has both sucralose & acesulfame potassium (AKA Ace-K, or acesulfame-K) in it.
And ON’s current* version of their flagship Double Rich Chocolate Gold Standard Whey is sweetened via just the acesulfame potassium.
(* current – There was a time years ago when the tubs of ON’s Double Rich Chocolate I bought had sucralose in them as well.)
Where I’m at with artificial sweeteners
I’m no fan of artificial sweeteners or artificial anything when it comes to food I eat; my taste buds & organic farm will tell you that.
And my main whey isolate powder these days — Muscle Feast’s Unflavored Grass-Fed Whey Isolate — is much cleaner than either of these best-sellers I’m reviewing here, by far.
…I do drink protein powders that have acesulfame potassium (AKA Ace K) & sucralose in them daily too.
I’ll use 1-2 tablespoons of the flavored whey to improve the taste of any fruitless protein-shake-in-a-blender recipes I whip up.
(A shake made from avocado, spinach, & unflavored whey doesn’t quite work as-is, and I bet you feel me on that. Definitely needs a little pizazz, and sugar is NOT an option.)
So I avoid the artificial stuff as much as I can but not entirely, because I’ve researched the supposed evils of sucralose & Ace K and found that many of the claims are simply unproven.
Let’s take a quick peek.
About Ace-K & Sucralose: good or bad?
Acesulfame potassium & sucralose are arguably the most controversial artificial sweeteners on the market today.
Yet acesulfame potassium & sucralose are also arguably the most-used artificial sweeteners in the protein supplement industry.
That’s just my guess, but I’ve see one or both of them on dozens (hundreds?) of protein products’ ingredients lists, far more than any other synthetic sweeteners out there.
* People who think sucralose is bad have blamed it for causing
“everything from cancer to DNA damage.” (12)
* But according to medical authorities like the Mayo Clinic,
“there’s no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems.” (13)
*The FDA approved sucralose as a safe-to-use artificial sweetener in 1998 after reviewing over a hundred medical research trials, finding no evidence of
“a connection between sucralose and cancer.” (14)
Acesulfame potassium (Ace K)
* A number of researchers feel acesulfame potassium is not safe enough for regular consumption. (15)
* The FDA approved it as an artificial sweetener in 1998 like sucralose, again after examining dozens of Ace K research reports. (16)
*The National Cancer Institute agrees with the FDA, saying
“The results of these studies showed no evidence that these sweeteners cause cancer or pose any other threat to human health.” (17)
Prefer cleaner protein?
If you’re interested in clean protein products — meaning no sucralose or other artificial sweeteners — I’ve analyzed a boatload of protein powders, protein bars, & BCAA supplements.
I published my opinion on dozens of protein products — including those I currently consider the best — for each of those categories here on heydayDo in the following articles:
MyP vs ON: Other additives
As we saw earlier when looking at the ingredients list, MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate & Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey have several similar ingredients.
So here in this section, I’m just going to focus on the ones that are unique to one or the other.
Natural & artificial flavors
Both protein powders list “natural & artificial flavors”.
Just to be clear, the formulas each company uses for this ingredient description are different from one another.
The FDA allows companies to hide the recipes of proprietary ingredients under generic names like these, including a popular one you see in fitness supplements, “proprietary blends”.
Both protein powders also list a lecithin, MyProtein going with sunflower lecithin and Optimum Nutrition just calling it lecithin.
Both are emulsifiers, which are used extensively in processed food products.
An emulsifier is an additive used to help unlike ingredients blend together better, like oil & water or as in this case, protein powder & water.
This greatly reduces the likelihood of drinking one of those dreaded clumps of dry protein powder, which happened a lot back in the day.😉
ON uses soy lecithin
With ON doing this, the odds are almost certain that it’s soy lecithin.
You can tell this by looking at the allergen disclosure on the Gold Standard Whey’s Nutrition Facts panel:
Some people don’t want to consume soy, and the FDA allows the word lecithin to be listed as-is on the ingredients list.
But the FDA requires that the word soy be listed as an allergen down at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts labels, which Optimum Nutrition indeed does. (18)
Other Additives in MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate
*Modified food starch – usually made from corn or tapioca, it’s used to improve blending & texture. (19)
*Sucralose – we covered earlier.
*Salt – and MyProtein must not use much of this at all – only 40mg per serving, and 70% less than ON Gold Standard has.
O.N. Gold Standard Whey ingredients
*Aminogen® – this is a patented digestive enzyme designed to improve the amount of protein you absorb when you drink Gold Standard. (20)
*Lactase – is also a digestive enzyme. And this one is designed to improve the digestibility of lactose (milk sugar), which some of the population have difficulty doing. (21)
ON vs MyProtein: Cost
Since they both deliver around 80% protein per serving, we can simply use their current cost per ounce to compare their pricing.
Here Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard wins, since they’re about 10% cheaper than Impact Whey Isolate as of ‘my’ today*:
(* – Prices change all the time of course.)
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate:
99¢ per ounce / $34.72 for 2.2. lb.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard:
91¢ per ounce / $29 for 2 lb.
MyProtein vs. O.N.: buyer reviews
This category compares MyProtein & Optimum Nutrition’s whey isolate powders, using the average rating of all online buyer reviews I could track down at the time of writing this.
Both powders score well according to their customers.
But make no mistake: Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard is in another stratosphere, in terms of popularity & customer satisfaction, compared to any MyProtein product.
No surprise there really, since their Gold Standard Whey product is the best-selling protein powder in the world.
(The % you see is the percentage of 4&5-star ratings.)
O.N. Gold Standard Whey 97% – 4.8⭐ 52,000+ reviews
MyProtein Impact Whey 88% – 4.5⭐ 4,400+ reviews
To read buyer comments on ol’ Amazon, click on their pics or names.
MyProtein vs. ON: flavor choices & taste
In this last section we’ll look at what other flavor options (besides my two chocolate versions here) are available for MyProtein’s Impact & Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard whey powders.
And of course I’ll give you my 2 cents’ worth of taste-testing opinion when comparing the two chocolate flavors of theirs that I bought too.
Flavor options quest
You’ll be hard-pressed to find accurate info on Amazon & other retailer sites regarding exactly how many flavors are available for either ON’s Gold Standard Whey & MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate.
There are multiple duplicate-yet-incomplete product listings (yes, there is such a thing), and the “Available Flavors” sections on a product’s page are often a hot mess.
Pick a flavor, suddenly the size changes. Pick a size, suddenly flavors disappear.
Hit up their websites
No doubt due to backroom deals between Amazon & manufacturers, Amazon’s prices are often cheaper than what you’ll see on the product’s home site.
But at least all of the flavors are there, and here’s what I found on Optimum Nutrition’s site regarding all the flavors they have for their Gold Standard Whey.
Looks like 17 of them on that page today, but a few days ago I landed on it and it showed a whopping 30 flavors:
I bet it changes daily…
And a more complete Impact Whey flavor list also exists over on MyProtein’s website too, and they offer 10…well as of today anyway.
I’ll share my opinion regarding the taste comparison between these two protein powders in a sec, but first…
I put the Taste category last in this article because — and I’ve said this lots of times here on heydayDo — I don’t believe that my opinion on how it tastes provides any real value for you.
My feeling about this is perfectly expressed by chef, cooking teacher, & taste-test expert Becky Selengut, author of How To Taste:
“The world of taste is subjective. What one person experiences when they taste a dish is not necessarily the same as someone else, which means that no one can contest what it is that you, yourself, are tasting.” (22)
Science has proven that there are thousands & thousands of taste preference variations in human taste buds. (23)
So I’m pretty sure your taste preferences are different than mine, but as promised here are my thoughts.
MyProtein vs ON Gold Standard Taste-test
Quick note: I do all my protein powder taste tests with plain water, because it reveals the true nature of these processed supplements.
Milk, fruit, peanut butter, and anything else you can chuck in a blender can easily mask even the gnarliest, most artificial flavors.
Well, almost…that stevia some of the protein powder companies are using more of these days…yikes.
I like Gold Standard’s Double Rich Chocolate flavor a lot better than the Chocolate Brownie version of Impact Whey Isolate.
Whether it’s due to the different ingredients…
*their Natural Flavors formula, or
*modified corn starch
…something about this flavor of MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate doesn’t work for me.
My taste buds are sensitive to — and not in a groovy way — artificial sweeteners, especially sucralose.
That’s one of the reasons I switched my main protein powder source to Muscle Feast’s Unflavored Whey Isolate.
(Well, that plus the fact that its powder is 90% protein by weight.)
Both Ace-K and sucralose linger in my mouth long after that last protein shake I had is a distant memory.
And so with MyProtein using both sucralose & Ace-K in their Impact Whey Isolate powder, that synthetic-y taste isn’t pleasing to me.
Enough for me to confidently say (at this point anyway) that I won’t be buying another bag of it.
But remember, I have one set of taste buds out of billions out there, and thousands of people love MyProtein’s Chocolate Brownie flavor…you can check out their opinions on the Amazon link below if interested.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard’s taste
Bottom line: This is very easy for me to down in a glass of water; always a good sign.
I could be trippin’, but I’m pretty sure this Double Rich Chocolate actually tastes better than when I first started drinking it.
I’ve been drinking this protein powder for 15+ years I think, if memory serves.
And Costco’s been carrying this Double Rich Chocolate in their stores for many years, and the price almost always beat any price I’d see online…especially when I snagged one of the 10 lb. bags of it.
So it was an easy & inexpensive way to get my protein fix, and it used to be my go-to powder for all my shakes.
Like I said earlier, I eventually took issue with artificial foods & acesulfame potassium (including the processed flavor it imparts).
This caused me to relegate this ON Gold Standard Whey to the occasional tablespoon or two when needed to flavor up one of my protein shake recipes.
Or in a morning cup of coffee or two, that works nice as well.
Bottom line second time:
It’s real easy for me to recommend this: good quality protein at a great price, and this flavor works for me.
I’ve tried several other flavors of theirs, and there’s a link in the Wrapping Up section to that taste-testing review article.
I didn’t hate all of the flavors either, lol…
Related protein powder article here on heydayDo
I hope that my article comparing MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate to Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.