Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard vs MusclePharm Combat


These are 2 really popular protein powders, so let’s give them a quick compare and see which ones comes out best.

Ingredients Profile

Firstly, let’s look at the ingredients.

Combat and Gold Standard provide BCAAs and Glutamine. Combat however doesn’t state how much, while Gold Standard proudly declares 5.5g of BCAAs and 4g of glutamine per serve. They are probably very similar.

Both products also include digestive enzymes to help with absorption. MusclePharm use lactase and protease, whereas Optimum Nutrition use lactase and Aminogen.

Now Aminogen is a patented formula of enzymes to help with protein breakdown. But whether it really offers anything more than protease is a debate for another day. If you care strongly about Aminogen, then you want Gold Standard, otherwise consider Combat pretty much the same as far as enzymes go.

All About The Protein

Clearly the most important thing to compare is the protein.

Muscle Pharm Combat does have a broader range of protein types – something they like to put in BIG letters on the tub. It includes a range of slow to fast release protein sources (i.e. whey hydrolysate through to micellar casein).

This may make it more suitable for meal replacement than your straightforward post-workout protein hit. Problem is, they don’t tell you how much of each protein type is in it. It could be less than 1% and the label is still technically ‘true’. This is just one of those annoying ‘company secrets’ we seem to have to live with when it comes to workout supplements. It makes choosing difficult. My gut feeling is the slow release proteins form a fairly small part of the overall profile.

But if you’re buying protein for pre or post-workout use, and want to know reliably how much fast release protein you’re getting then go for Optimum Nutritions Gold Standard. It’s whey isolate, concentrate and whey peptides only – so all fast release protein.

Total Protein Per Tub

It’s not just about the price and the size of the tub. Ultimately you should care how much protein there is in the tub overall. Who cares if there is 50g of protein per scoop, if it just means the scoop is huge so you only get 20 serves per tub!

Here’s the low down on total protein:-

CombatGold Standard
Pack Size4lb5lb
Serves Per Pack5280
Scoop Size34.9g29.4g
Protein Per Scoop24g24g
Total Protein Per Pack1248g1920g
Protein Per lb312g384g
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard vs MusclePharm Combat

What does all that mean? People generally choose Gold Standard as the actual percentage of protein is much higher. For every pound of powder you buy you get 72g more protein with Optimum Nutrition – that’s 23% more. You would have to find Combat at a much cheaper price to make it better value in terms of total protein per pack.

What Else Is Different?

If you look at the Nutrition Facts there are some minor differences. Combat has slightly higher calories, fat and carbs per scoop. But the difference is so small it’s barely worth mentioning. An extra 0.5g of fat or 2g of carbs is not going to make any real difference.

Besides which different flavors of the same product can also have slightly different nutritional profiles. If you’re cutting you may care, otherwise it’s normally just too small to matter. For example, double chocolate has 10 kcal per serve more than strawberry for Gold Standard.

OK, So Which Is Best?

The bottom line is both products are good, and both companies have a really good reputation for putting out reliable products.

In the real world your results will probably be just as good from either product.

In terms of value however, Optimum Nutrition Gold delivers more protein per pack than Muscle Pharm. So it will generally be the cheaper option. Unless you find a street price or special for Combat that makes it significantly cheaper per lb than Gold Standard.

You Can Buy Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard From Amazon Here

Otherwise it comes down to personal preference, which can be as simple as which flavors you like best. I really like ON‘s double chocolate, but some people prefer Muscle Pharms flavors which can be stronger. Although you can also boost up flavors by adding your own ingredients anyway – e.g. add a spoonful of peanut butter (check out our recipes for more ideas).

Bear in mind though that you won’t find all flavors in all sizes – Muscle Pharm only do chocolate milk and vanilla in the big 10lb bags.

Read our reviews of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard here

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Which Do You Prefer?

Let us know which flavors you have tried, and which product you find the best. Add a comment below.

Gold Standard vs Combat