Time and time again, Optimum Nutrition has dominated its competition. This whey protein powder juggernaut puts together an impressive nutritional profile, palatable taste and texture, and a reasonable price point which makes it hard to bump out of the top spot. I’ve done lots of reviews for Optimum Nutrition in the past, and it seems that whatever brand I put up against it simply can’t outshine its optimum formulation.
Of course, that is until Muscletech came along. As one of the most reputable brands for muscle gainers, Muscletech has a pretty solid formulation that competes closely with Optimum Nutrition. With products like their NitroTech Pure 100% Whey Protein Powder making rounds in the market, it’s hard not to consider the brand as one of ON’s top competitors.
So which one wins this heated battle of the protein powders? It was a tough one, but I ultimately had to crown Optimum Nutrition as the better of the two. So based on my standards, the brand continues its reign as the very best protein powder out there. Why, you ask? Find out what put Optimum Nutrition a cut above Muscletech by reading through this comprehensive product comparison and review.
Muscletech vs Optimum Nutrition: Best Protein
Nutritional Profiles: Optimum Nutrition Vs Muscletech
The first and most important factor you should check out when buying protein powders is the nutritional profile. Containing vital information on what a specific formulation can do for you, this will ultimately tell you whether or not you can benefit from a specific product.
I chose to compare the two standard protein powders that both brands had to offer. These were Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder and Muscletech’s NitroTech Pure Whey Protein Powder.
At a glance, it’s easy to see that Muscletech provides more of everything – from protein, to carbs, cholesterol, sugars, sodium, and everything in between. Each scoop of NitroTech contains a whopping 30 grams of protein. This is 6 grams more than ON Gold Standard’s 24 grams per serving.
So the winner should be NitroTech, right? Well, it would seem that way until you check out the serving size.
The discrepancies between the values can be attributed to the fact that each product is consumed in different serving sizes. A single scoop of ON’s Gold Standard measures 32 grams, while a scoop of Muscletech’s NitroTech measures 44 grams. When you take these values and calculate the ratio of its macro and micronutrient content in relation to the size of the scoop, the outcomes show that Optimum Nutrition actually offers more protein per unit of weight.
When you crunch the numbers, you get 75% protein with each scoop of ON. On the other hand, you only get 68% protein with a scoop of NitroTech. ON’s Gold Standard also contains far less carbs, sugars, cholesterol, sodium, and fat in proportion to the size of the scoop. So if we’re talking nutritional profile, I’d have to call ON a clear winner.
Similar Protein Sources
Another reason why it was tough to call a winner between these two is the fact that they share the same protein sources. Both products use whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey peptides to come up with their nutritional and muscular benefits. That said, they both contain small amounts of carbohydrates, cholesterols, and sugars that come hand in hand with whey concentrates.
So because they were so similar with their protein profiles, I decided to check out their BCAA content. Basically, branched chain amino acids are responsible for metabolizing proteins to turn them into usable units for muscle building. Without the right amount of BCAAs, you waste unused proteins and limit the extent of gain you could have achieved.
A single serving of Gold Standard contains 5.5 grams of branched chain amino acids. NitroTech brags a content of 6.8 grams of BCAAs, which is significantly more than any other protein powder I’ve seen. But the main consideration here is that NitroTech is taken in much bigger servings. That said, the BCAA content simply bumps up as a result of a larger scoop.
Relative to the size of the serving, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard contains slightly more amino acids. This was measured at 18% per scoop, as opposed to NitroTech’s 15% per scoop.
The Battle of Taste and Texture
After having studied and reviewed protein powders extensively over the past few years, it has come to my attention that the biggest issue buyers usually have isn’t that they’re ineffective, but that they’re unpalatable. So the big question here is – which protein powder tastes better?
I’ve done a bunch of reviews on Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard in the past. For the most part, it doesn’t do so bad in terms of its taste and texture. Probably the only issue I’ve discovered is that the company updated the formulation to include sucralose. While this does make it a lot sweeter which some consumers enjoy, it also leaves a funny aftertaste. Texture-wise, there’s not a lot to complain about. Sure, you still shouldn’t expect a smooth, grainless blend. But it does feel a lot easier in the mouth and it definitely won’t make you gag.
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard comes in 24 different flavors. This includes three naturally flavored options for those who would rather do away with the artificial additives.
MuscleTech’s NitroTech comes in 14 flavors. Although not quite as extensive as Gold Standard’s flavor selection, some of the stuff NitroTech has to offer is pretty unique. For instance, one buyer favorite is Birthday Cake which – as far as my knowledge goes – is exclusive to the NitroTech formulation. There’s a little aftertaste to all the available flavors. But I think it’s not enough to get you to back out of a serving.
Personally, I think NitroTech mixes better than Gold Standard. The formula isn’t as thick, and it’s a lot easier to blend and smoothen out. A lot of buyers even claim that it works like any other powdered drink mix. So there’s not a lot of clumping to worry about. In the mouth, the blend feels really smooth and consistent without a lot of graininess to it.
It was tough to find a choice that could out-perform the Gold Standard in this aspect. But it seems that NitroTech takes the cake when it comes to taste and texture.
Other Protein Powder Varieties and Fitness Products
To cater to a wider base of consumers, Optimum Nutrition and Muscletech both have extensive product line-ups that use different formulations. Some are completely plant-based or organic. Others are developed to be taken at specific times during the day. And others still are designed to help you achieve a healthier diet overall.
For Optimum Nutrition, some of the most notable protein powder variation has to be their Organic Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder. The main distinction between this variant and the original formula is that it uses non-animal sources as its protein source. Other than that, the nutritional profile remains essentially the same. So for individuals with dietary restrictions, this choice might be a suitable alternative.
In Muscletech’s corner, I want to mention the NitroTech Ripped formulation. This specific powder was developed to help with weight loss along with muscle gain. It achieves this by bumping up its L-Carnatine content. This micro nutrient works to help metabolize stored fat to give you a leaner, slimmer look.
If we’re talking strictly about the extent of variety, I have to admit that Muscletech has a whole lot more to offer. They offer everything from pre-work out powders, to recovery powders, testosterone boosters, night time protein powders, and everything else you can imagine. That said, I’m certain they have something to offer anyone and everyone interested in stepping up their work out gains.
Muscletech put up a pretty solid fight against Optimum Nutrition. But when you crunch the numbers and consider every angle, Optimum Nutrition still comes out to be the ultimate gold standard for protein powders. Their low calorie formulation combined with a complete nutritional profile makes it a very reliable solution that shows impressive results in the gym. So between the two, I’d have to recommend Optimum Nutrition to anyone stuck on making a choice.
Does that mean that Muscletech isn’t worth the purchase? Far from it. Muscletech has a great formulation without comparison, and it does work well for a majority of its users. Remember, different bodies respond differently to various formulations. So while Muscletech might look like a runner-up when you consider the numbers alone, there are still some people who will respond better to its formulation than they will to Optimum Nutrition. It all depends on what works best for your system.