When it comes to protein powder, you can’t afford to be taking anything but the best. If your goal is to get big and strong, you’re going to be putting a lot of this stuff into your system, so you need to be confident that it’s gonna’ do the business. It had better taste good, too. When it comes to premium quality protein, you’ve gotta’ be talking about GNC Wheybolic AMP Extreme 60 and Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard. They are two of the most popular protein powders on the market.
But which is the best.
In this article, we put GNC and Optimum Nutrition head-to-head to give you a definitive answer.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey and GNC Wheybolic AMP Extreme 60 are like the Ford and Holden of the protein powder market. Both have their diehard fans who will go down fighting to defend their hero. When it comes to the cold, hard facts, however, a clear favorite emerges. That favorite is Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard. It is the better product in terms of . . .
- Better amino acid profile
- Higher quality protein
GNC Wheybolic AMP Extreme 60 In Detail
GNC Pro Performance Wheybolic AMP 60 is the flagship whey protein powder from GNC. GNC claim that its protein profile has been clinically proven to produce a 30% increase in muscle strength compared to other protein powders on the market. The product is billed as 7 products in one, as it includes all of the following . . .
- Whey protein isolate
- Amino acid complex
- Thermogenic boosters
- Green coffee bean extract
- Digestive Enzymes
Let’s go inside this product to find if it has the power to deliver.
Delivers a Lot of Protein
Each tub of Wheybolic contains 3 pounds of protein powder. Wheybolic promises to deliver 60 grams of protein per serve. In order to achieve that, however, you need to use three scoops. That will limit you to just 17 servings per container. However, research tends to indicate that the human body can only process around 25-30 grams of protein every few hours. Post workout, it can process around 40 grams.
One scoop of Wheybolic will provide you with 20 grams of protein, which is an acceptable amount. However, this means that you are cutting the recommended dosage by 2/3. Obviously, this will allow you to prolong the life of the product by 2/3 also.
The protein blend that makes up Wheybolic is made up of 20 grams of isolate and hydrolized whey and 6.2 grams of leucine. This blend has been trialled on a group of athletes involved in intense weight training over an 8-week period. Strength increases were up to 30% higher than those exhibited by a control group.
Added to this is a Power Complex which features the 3 branch chain amino acids (Leucine, Valine, isol-leucine) in the ideal 2:1:1 ratio that has been shown to produce the best results.
The protein / leucine combination works with the effect of BCAA’s to produce a strength surge that will give you more power on the gym floor. The addition of three grams of creatine boosts this strength potential even further. Creatine has the ability to re-energize dormant ATP in the muscle cell, allowing to keep going for longer.
A critical factor in terms of protein powder effectiveness is the length of time it takes for the amino acids contained within the proteins to get into your muscle cells. The size of the molecules has a lot to do with speed. Wheybolic uses micronized amino acids to allow for faster absorption and digestion. To speed the process even further, however, GNC have a unique Amino Acceleration System. This digestive enzyme blend ensures that the aminos get into your muscle cells as quickly as possible in order to kick you into anabolic overdrive.
Amino Acid Profile
Each scoop of Wheybolic provides you with 8.5 grams in total of micronized amino acids. The profile is as follows:
- Glutamine (as Whey Protein isolate and Micronized Glutamine)
- Arginine (as Micronized Arginine and Whey protein Isolate)
- Leucine (as Whey Protein Isolate and L-Leucine)
- Carnitine (as L-Carnitine and L-Tartate)
With 3.4 grams of glutamine and 366 mg of arginine per serving, your muscle building recovery is assured. These are the two most important amino acids for muscle repair and blood flow.
High BCAA Level
Not only does Wheybolic provide you with the BCAAs in the ideal proportion of twice as muscle leucine as valine and iso-leucine, it also gives more quantity. With 10 grams of leucine and 4 grams each of valine and iso-leucine, you get a mega-powerful dose of BCAAs to enhance energy and drive strength and muscle gains.
You don’t often find a post workout protein powder that includes fat burning herbs, yet this is one such product. It includes fenugreek and green coffee bean extract to stimulate the body’s thermogenic effect and, thus, enhance calorie burning. However, the dosages are quite low, so they probably won’t have any appreciable effect.
High Sodium Level
When purchasing a protein powder, you need to be wary of the sodium content. Too much sodium in the diet can cause high blood pressure and other negative health effects. One scoop of Wheybolic delivers 100 milligrams of sodium, whereas Optimum Nutrition delivers 60 grams. While not alarmingly high, Wheybolic gives you nearly twice the amount that ON does.
High Dosage Level
At three scoops per serving, we think that GNC are being a little greedy here. Obviously, the more powder you put into each shake, the faster you’ll use up the product and the sooner you’ll need to buy another one. Also, the marketers of protein powders seem engaged in a battle to outdo one another in terms of protein quantities on the label.
The truth is that, if you take 60 grams of protein in one sitting, a lot of it will end up down the toilet bowl. Cut back to one scoop and you’ll be far better off (both physiologically and economically).
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Up Close
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard has consistently rated as the world’s best selling protein powder for a number of years. You don’t get to acquire that lofty position without packing in some high quality ingredients and performance. But does ON 100% Gold Standard deserve its reputation. Let’s find out.
Range of Whey Proteins
Within ON Gold Standard there are three different types of whey protein. They actually represent three stages in the whey making process. These three are . . .
- Whey isolate
- Whey concentrate
- Whey peptides
Isolate is whey protein with the fat and lactose removed. Whey concentrate is a concentrated form of whey protein with fat and lactose left in. The amino acids in whey peptides have been broken down into smaller chains so that they can be digested and absorbed more quickly. This blend of three versions makes it easier to digest the whey quickly, while also ensuring that some of the protein is released more slowly for an ongoing amino acid supply.
Each scoop of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard provides you with 24 grams of protein. Each container of Optimum Nutrition 100% provides you with 5.1 pounds of product.
Branch Chain Amino Acids
The branch chain amino acids consist of the three amino acids leucine, iso-leucine and valine. These three have been shown to be especially beneficial in terms of both training endurance and muscle anabolism. You get 5 grams of BCAAs in every serving of Gold Standard. These are in the ideal ratio of 2:1:1 in terms of isoleucine, leucine and valine.
You get 2.5 grams of leucine in each scoop of ON 100% Whey Powder. There is a high level of the essential amino acids glutamine and arginine at 4.5 grams.
One scoop of Wheybolic provides you with 93 calories. Each serving adds about one gram of fat, along with the same amount of sugar.
Amino Acid Profile
Gold Standard provides you with a complete amino acid profile to promote anabolic muscle building.
4 grams of glutamine provide you with a key transporter of nitrogen to the muscle cell. This helps to ensure that you are in a state of positive nitrogen balance to keep you in an anabolic state. Working out uses up a lot of glutamine, so post workout you are in need of a fast replacement. Because glutamine is essential for recovery, adding it to a post workout drink is a major positive.
There are also 4 grams of glutamic acid in each serve of Gold Standard.
Once scoop of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey gives you 120 calories. You get a single gram of fat per serving. There is also single gram of sugar per scoop.
In previous versions, Gold Standard used aspartame as a sweetener. However, aspartame has been associated with such side effects as dizziness, digestive problems, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, aspartame has since been replaced with Ace-K and Sucralose, which are much safer.
Amino Gen is Optimum Nutrition’s patented blend of digestive enzymes that is designed to break down proteins. Included is lactase to break down the lactose within the whey concentrate. This is a beneficial addition for people who are unable to break down lactose on their own.
The general consensus among users is that the taste of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% whey is very good. It comes in a 21 flavors, including Rocky Road and Cookies and Creme. These favors taste so good that it’s hard to believe that they are actually good for you. Most reviewers cite the taste as the main reason that they rate Gold Standard above the competition.
The mixability of a protein powder is a key consideration. Many users will want to use a shaker bottle in the gym locker room so it needs to be easily blendable by hand, without leaving clumps in the mixture. Gold Standard performs very well in this regard. It actually mixes so well that you can get a perfectly good shake with just a glass and a spoon.
A large portion of the community are unable to comfortably tolerate lactose, which this product includes. It can cause stomach upset and gas. On the up side, Gold Standard does include lactase, which breaks down the lactose.
Even though aspartame has been replaced with safer options, Gold Standard does include artificial sweeteners. Of course, they are added to improve the flavorings, which they clearly do very well. Still, if you are concerned about what goes into your body, you might think twice about drinking a product that contains Ace-K and Sucralose .
GNC Wheybolic & ON Gold Standard Head-to-Head
Now that we’ve taken an in depth look at each product, let’s see how they stack up side by side.
Both products give you high quality, easily digestible whey protein. Wheybolic delivers a blend of hydrolized whey and leucine, whereas Gold Standard provides a mix of three whey proteins across the processing spectrum. While both are excellent sources, we believe that the more complete profile provided by the combination of isolate, concentrate and peptides that you get with Optimum Nutrition delivers the most anabolic effect.
Amino Acid Profile
GNC Wheybolic Extreme 60 provides you with a more complete amino acid profile than you get with ON Gold Standard. It provides you with a blend that contains glutamine, arginine, leucine and carnitine to provide a full spectrum of muscle building and recovery effects. Gold Standard gives you a simpler amino acid profile, consisting of glutamine and glutamic acid. GNC provide the better option here.
The addition of creatine is by no means a requisite for a post workout protein powder, However, its addition is a great bonus. GNC Wheybolic provides you with 3 grams of creatine to provide you with an extra strength boost during intense weight training. You do not get this with ON Gold Standard.
Both products offer a range of flavors. Some of those provided by Wheybolic are very tasty while others are less so. However, OM Gold Standard gives you a greater range, more exotic flavors and an across the board taste that surpasses any of the Wheybolic range of flavors.
Wheybolic provides a good level of mixability, though it doesn’t perform so well when you are using a shaker bottle. You are likely to get a clumpy residue at the bottom of your shaker bottle, despite shaking vigorously. In contrast, ON Gold Standard is one of the best mixing protein powders we have ever come across. It easily beats out GNC Wheybolic in this regard.
The best and fairest way to compare protein powder costs is on a per serving basis. So, if we compare a 20 gram serving of each product, we find that Optimum Nutrition comes out on top by around 20 cents. This is the case even when you take the GNC discount reward card into account. In addition, each container of ON Gold Standard gives you 5.1 pounds, compared to 3 pounds for Wheybolic. That is an increase in quantity of 171%.
It’s clear then, that Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard provides you with better value for money than does GNC’s Wheybolic AMP Extreme 60.
Both GNC Wheybolic AMP Extreme 60 and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey are top quality post workout supplements. Both have their benefits, with Wheybolic providing a better amino acid profile. Unlike ON Gold Standard, you also get a good dose of Creatine with Wheybolic. However, ON Gold Standard delivers a more complete blend of whey protein varieties, better mixability, a superior across the range taste and is more cost effective. For these reasons, we have no hesitation in recommending Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey as our preferred post workout protein brand.