In my quest for Aspartame-free protein powder supplements (or even supplements without any artificial sweeteners whatsoever) I have decided to give Optimum Nutrition’s Natural 100% Whey Gold standard product a try. As some of you may recall, we did a pretty favorable review of Optimum Nutrition’s Classic Whey Protein last year, and if you want the review I’m writing right now in brief I’ll put it like this: 100% Natural Gold Standard is even better – in my opinion, at least. Not only does this product not come with artificial flavoring or sweeteners (Classic Whey uses the sweetener Acesulfame Potassium, which also goes by the name Acesulfame K), but I think I actually prefer the taste of it quite a bit to that of the Classic Whey. As this is a Gold Standard series product you will of course have to pay a few dollars more per 5 lb can, but that’s fine with me. Go for Classic Whey if cost is your number one concern, of course (you’d be hard pressed to find a better quality product for the price, I think.
With Optimum Nutrition, I think it’s fair to say that you can expect to get a quality product at a very decent price (and see the review on Classic Whey for more on how ON manages to sell their supplements at the prices they do). Personally, I also find that I can expect the taste of their proteins to always be pretty good, even though they never blow me away. And as expected, this product is a decent tasting one and one that I’ve used daily now for a little over two weeks without getting tired of it (I tire of things easily!), but it’s not something I’m absolutely crazy about. It’s more than good enough, though – I’ll happily order more of these.
Nutritional values are good: One 32 gram serving of this product will give you approximately 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and 5 grams of carbohydrates. There are products that will give you slightly less carbohydrates per gram of protein, but then there are those – like the popular BSN Syntha-6 that are much higher in carbs (and fat too). You will find few products out there with less than 2 or 3 grams of carbs per serving, so 5 grams is fine with us – as it should be anyone (except for the most ardent Atkins fanatic, perhaps). The product is also low in lactose, and will give you approximately 5 grams of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) per serving.
So how come this product tastes so nice and sweet if it contains no artificial sweeteners and no more than 5 grams of carbs per serving? Ever heard of something called Rebaudioside A? OrReb A? Or Rebiana? No? If not, here’s the short and – excuse me – sweet on that: Rebaudioside A is a Steviol glycoside. That’s right, these are substances derived from the Stevia plant. Steviol glycosides are what gives the Stevia leaves their sweet taste. Are they safe? Well, if you believe WHO, who did a thorough review of studies done both on humans and animals, Steviol Glycosides are safe to use – and may even have some therapeutic effects, even though nobody seems quite sure about that just yet.
The product mixes easily both with a spoon and a shaker, which is good as I do not have access to a blender at the moment.
Bottom line: Superb product. If you want an artificial sweetener free protein supplement you should give this one a try. We can find nothing wrong with it whatsoever.
Contents (vanilla flavor): Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides), evaporated cane juice powder, natural flavor, lecithin, xanthan gum, rebaudioside A, Aminogen, Lactase