Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 100 Whey Protein vs ON Gold Standard — A Close Call

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Optimum Nutrition is a brand that’s so well-known it almost needs no introduction. They produce the most popular protein powder on the market, Gold Standard Whey, which can be found in practically every supplement store in the United States.

Ultimate Nutrition has a slightly smaller reach, but they have a pretty dedicated following among bodybuilders, in part because they sponsor Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.

Both brands offer a variety of different protein powders (check out our reviews of Ultimate Nutrition’s Gold Whey and Iso-Cool), but we wanted to compare Gold Standard Whey with Prostar 100% Whey Protein, which seems like it was made to compete with Gold Standard. The two brands have nearly identical calories, macros, cost, and ingredients — but across these domains, we’ve stacked them up to see which is tops.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar Whey
Ultimate Nutrition Prostar Whey
A blend of three kinds of whey that's extraordinarily creamy and surprsingly inexpensive.MoreLess

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
The market's most popular whey lives up to its reputation as a solid all rounder with a huge variety of flavors to choose from.MoreLess


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Both products have 120 calories per scoop, and ON has a pretty competitive macro split: 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs (1 gram of sugar), and 1 gram of fat.

It’s also got 10 percent of your recommended daily intake of cholesterol (30mg), 5 percent of your daily sodium (130mg) and 8 percent of your daily calcium.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

While it has the same amount of calories and fat as Gold Standard, it has just a little bit more protein (25 grams) and fewer carbs (2 grams, 1 gram of sugar). This means the Ultimate Nutrition has more protein per calorie, but just barely.

The real difference is in the micronutrients: Prostar has about 30 percent less cholesterol (20mg versus 30mg), it has over two times more calcium (20 percent of the RDI versus 8 percent) and it has far less sodium (30mg versus Gold Standard’s 130mg).

On a macronutrient and micronutrient basis, Prostar comes out ahead.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

ion Prostar 100 Whey Protein vs ON Gold Standard Nutrition


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

There are three kinds of whey in the following order: isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysed. Then there’s cocoa (we sampled the Double Rich Chocolate flavor), soy lecithin (for mixability), natural and artificial flavors, the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium, and the digestive enzymes Aminogen and Lactase.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

The ingredients are nearly identical. The same whey proteins in the same order, they both have soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, and acesulfame potassium.

There are two main differences: Prostar has a second artificial sweetener, sucralose (also called Splenda®) and it doesn’t contain digestive enzymes.

For these reasons, I think Gold Standard has better ingredients. Both sucralose and acesulfame potassium are controversial in some circles so it’s smart to only include one of them, but the main selling point was the digestive enzymes. These may help the user to absorb more of the protein and may minimize digestive issues among folks with lactose sensitivities — and both products contain lactose.

Winner: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

ON Gold Standard Whey


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

If you buy a standard two-pound tub, it’s $30 for 29 servings. That’s $1.03 per serving, or 4.31 cents per gram of protein.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

A two-pound tub goes for around $29, which provides 30 servings. That comes to 96 cents a scoop or 3.9 cents per gram of protein.

The difference is small, but clear: Prostar delivers more protein for your dollar.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 100% Whey


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

I tried the Double Rich Chocolate flavor, which despite the name is relatively mild. It’s closer to a dark, cocoa-y chocolate than a milk chocolate so while it’s great with milk, it’s pretty bland with water.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

I picked up the Chocolate Crème flavor, and boy is it creamy. For a product with 1 gram of fat, I was bowled over by how creamy it tasted. With milk, it made for a decadent shake that was almost like melted ice cream. But here’s the kicker: it tasted great with water.

Gold Standard, while an excellent all-rounder, doesn’t taste as great with water. Prostar, therefore, is more versatile — and it’s more useful for folks trying to lose weight because you can ditch the milk and save on calories.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

Winner? A Close Call

These are both great products, and the fact that Prostar comes out ahead by a nose in some categories doesn’t mean that Gold Standard isn’t worth your money; it’s a very good product, and it has many flavor options to fit your individual tastes. They’re both fantastic, cost-effective proteins, and Gold Standard is most likely a better pick for folks with sensitivities to lactose. However, on the basis of taste and protein-per-calorie, I tend to prefer Ultimate Nutrition Prostar.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.