If there ever was a ‘most popular supplement’ contest, whey protein would probably make the podium, if not winning first place. Whey protein shakes are so ubiquitous that ‘drinking protein shakes’ have become a stereotype associated with gym junkies and other fitness enthusiasts.
Because of their popularity, consumers are spoilt for choice; there are dozens upon dozens of whey protein brands to choose from, with apparently little differentiation.
The former product has long been the ‘gold standard’ in the whey protein market and might actually be the most popular whey protein supplement ever (over 15,000 reviews on Amazon!). But relative newcomer Body Fortress’ product has been gaining popularity and is also very well reviewed.
Unlike most of our other comparison posts, we will dive straight into a head to head comparison right off the bat. This is because whey protein is quite a simple and standard product and we feel that there is no need to do a detailed review of each individual product first. With that said, let’s get right to it.
Note: The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey being reviewed here is the new formula, which was apparently changed sometime in late 2016. Notable changes were the removal of digestive enzymes and the addition of sucralose for flavoring. We should note that most people seem to prefer the old formula to the new one.
Body Fortress Whey vs Gold Standard Whey
To begin, let’s first take a look at the very basics of each product. All information here is on a per serving basis.
|ON Gold Standard Whey||Body Fortress Whey|
|Serving Size||30g – 32g||50g|
|Servings per Container||71 – 76 servings||18 servings|
|Calories||120 calories||210 calories|
|Carbohydrates||4g (0g dietary fiber)||8g (1g dietary fiber)|
|Sugars||1g – 3g||4g|
|Fat||1g (0.5g saturated fat)||5g (2.5g saturated fat)|
|Sodium||100mg – 150mg||110mg|
The reason that Body Fortress has much fewer servings per container compared to Optimum Nutrition is that at present, Body Fortress only has its Super Advanced Whey product in 2 pound containers. Meanwhile, the most common container size for Optimum Nutrition is 5 pounds.
Protein Quality and Content
This is the bread and butter of the review; which product is a superior source of protein? First, let’s take a look at the type of whey protein that each product uses. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey uses a blend of whey protein isolates, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein peptides. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey uses a blend of whey protein concentrate and isolates.
Some general information; whey protein isolate is the more processed (undergoing an additional stage called micro-filtration) and thus purer form of whey protein. It contains more protein (about 90%), less fat, less carbohydrates, and less lactose. But it is of course also more expensive compared to whey protein concentrate.
Whey protein concentrate contains less protein (about 80%) and more lactose, fats, and carbs. It is also cheaper. Despite this, a good whey protein concentrate will have much higher levels of growth factors like TGF-1, TFG-2, and IGF-1. They will also have higher phospholipids and bioactive lipids like conjugated linoleic acid plus immunoglobulins and lactoferrin (which may reduce cancer risk).
So far it looks like both products are equal, but you will notice that Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has one more additional source of protein: whey protein peptides. Whey peptides are pure whey protein molecules that have been further broken down into components called peptides.
Due to their smaller size, they are better digested and absorbed. Further, whey peptides may also lower cardiovascular risk factors by improving blood pressure.
So, it looks like while Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein does contain more protein compared to Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey, we give the latter the edge in terms of protein quality due to the addition of fast digesting whey protein peptides in addition to the whey protein isolate and concentrate.
In terms of amino acid content, as Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey has 25% more protein per serving, by comparison, it will also naturally have higher amino acid content. For instance, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has 5.5g of branched chain amino acids (the three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and 4g of glutamine.
Meanwhile, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey has 6.3g of BCAAs and 5.8g of glutamine. Taken as a percentage of the total protein content, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey actually has about 10% more BCAAs although Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey has about 16% more glutamine.
Verdict: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has less protein per serving but faster digesting and absorbing protein compared to Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey. The former also has more BCAAs by protein percentage although less glutamine.
However, given that BCAAs are widely considered to be more beneficial compared to glutamine, on an overall basis, due to this plus the whey peptides, we have to say that Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has the superior protein quality (although lesser content).
Fat and Carbohydrate Content
As you saw in the ‘Basic Information’ section, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey is much more substantial compared to Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. It has 75% more calories, with 25% more protein, twice the carbohydrates, and five times the fat. It also has 50% to 300% more sugar.
Further, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey also contains maltodextrin, which is a cheap filler carbohydrate. It has an even higher Glycemic Index value compared to table sugar, meaning spikes in your blood sugar level, plus it has also been linked with negative changes in gut bacteria composition.
Verdict: If you are looking for a low-calorie protein shake, you should opt for Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. But if you want more calories in your shake, let’s say because you are bulking or as a meal replacement, then Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey would be more suitable for you. However, on an overall health basis, we have to give the edge to Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey.
Other Beneficial Ingredients
Other than its protein content, mentioned above, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey does not have any other added beneficial ingredients. On the other hand, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey has 1.5g of creatine monohydrate and 1.5g of taurine per serving.
Creatine is one of the most well-studied supplements there is and there is no question that it works. Taken over time, it will increase your power output and athletic performance, especially if you are in a sport that requires a lot of strength and power.
That said, at 1.5g per serving, the creatine content is rather low. The usual recommended daily dose is about 5g a day. Nevertheless, you will still see benefits from a 1.5g daily dose, although it will take a longer period of time. We should also note that creatine is one of the cheapest supplements out there and it should cost you very little to supplement with creatine on top of your current supplement regime.
Taurine is an ingredient commonly found in energy drinks that may improve blood flow by increasing nitric oxide levels.
Verdict: Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein is the winner in this category as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has no extra beneficial ingredients. However, we note that these benefits are only minor and should not be the main criteria for comparison purposes.
Flavor and Mixability
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey has 23 different flavors while Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey only has seven. By all accounts, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey is not a bad tasting whey protein; in fact, most consumers seem to enjoy the product.
But with 23 different flavors available for the former, statistically speaking there will be a larger number of people who will be able to enjoy at least one flavor of Optimum Gold Standard Whey. Both products use sucralose and acesulfame potassium for flavoring purposes.
On the mixability side, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey also comes out on top. One of the most common complaints with Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey was that the powder had a lot of chunking.
Verdict: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey emerges the clear winner on both taste and mixability.
Value for Money
While we are putting this section toward the end, this is one of the most important factors in the comparison. Supplements aren’t cheap after all, and in this economy, every dollar counts! So which product will give you the best bang for your buck, or shall we say, protein for your dollar?
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey retails for about $58 on both Amazon (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) and the company’s official website. This translates to a per-serving cost of $0.76 – $0.82. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey retails for about $17 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) on Amazon (they don’t sell it through the company’s website) which equates to $0.94 per serving.
Obviously, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey is the more expensive product. But don’t forget that it also contains 25% more protein. Using that multiplier, each serving of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey would now be about $0.95 – $1.03. So in reality, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is actually the more expensive product by about 1% to 10%.
Verdict: On a price to protein content basis, Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein gives you slightly more protein for your dollar.
After looking at each product from every angle, we have to declare Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey the winner over Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey. Unless you are on an extremely tight budget, for a slightly higher price, it will deliver a superior source of protein with fewer carbs, sugars, and fat. It will mix better and you will also have a much wider variety of flavors to choose from.
Quick Review Table
|Superior source of proteins and BCAAs||Slightly more expensive|
|Wide variety of flavors|
|Better value for money||High fat and carbs content|
|Contains additional creatine and taurine|
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.