Transformation Protein Review
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
This in-depth Transformation protein review covers the ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and much, much more. Find out whether or not Transformation protein is right for you.
An in-depth review of Transformation protein powder.
Transformation protein powder Nutrition Facts.
Transformation makes several different types and flavors of protein powder. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to review their best-selling Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder.
Transformation protein powder is a protein supplement, so I am going to start my Transformation protein review by talking about the Nutrition Facts. 1 serving of Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder contains 160 calories, 4g of total fat, 8g of total carbohydrates, 0g of sugar, and 30g of protein. From a nutritional standpoint, this looks like a healthy source of dietary protein. There is a high protein to calorie ratio, meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck, and no Added Sugar. This flavor does contain more fats and carbohydrates than the average protein powder, but it also contains more protein.
The Nutrition Facts are really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to protein powder, however. In order to understand if a protein powder is actually good for you, you have to look at the ingredients.
Transformation protein powder ingredients.
The ingredients list is by far the most important indication of whether or not a protein powder is good for you. There are over 20 ingredients in Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder, which is not a good sign. Generally speaking, when it comes to protein powder, the fewer ingredients the better.
The first ingredient in Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder is a Protein Blend consisting of pea protein, hydrolyzed collagen (bovine), egg white protein, and pumpkin seed protein. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so although we do not know the exact amount of each ingredient, we know that there is more pea protein than hydrolyzed collagen, more hydrolyzed collagen than egg white, etc.
Why Transformation chose to use a protein blend is unclear, as there is no benefit to using a protein powder made with a protein blend as opposed to a single dietary protein. Some might argue that using a protein blend ensures that you are getting a complete protein with every serving, but if you are eating a variety of dietary proteins on a regular basis, you do not have to worry about whether or not your protein powder is complete. In case you were wondering, a complete protein contains all of the amino acids that the body needs, but cannot produce on its own. Most animal proteins are complete, whereas most plant proteins are not. This is why many vegan protein powders are made with protein blends; combining two or more plant proteins often creates a complete protein. Again, if you are eating a balanced diet, however, you do not need to eat a complete protein in every bite. This is basically a marketing gimmick.
Another reason why Transformation’s decision to go with a protein blend is unclear is that egg white protein is a complete protein. A protein powder made with egg whites alone would therefore cover your amino acid needs, so the idea that pairing different proteins will create a superior protein source is nonsense. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using protein blend, just know that doing so will not make you a superhuman.
The first protein in the Protein Blend is a pea protein, or pea protein isolate. I will not go into the details, but pea protein isolates are made by mechanically and/or chemically stripping split peas of everything but the protein. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food. I will explain why this might be problematic later on in the Transformation protein review.
The second protein in the Protein Blend is bovine collagen, which is found in the connective tissues of cows. Hydrolyzed collagen protein is simply a pre-digested form of collagen that is supposed to be easier to digest. If you can get over the fact that you are eating connective tissue, bovine collagen is actually a decent source of dietary protein. To make bovine collagen, manufacturers simply boil connective tissues in water, which breaks down collagen into a gelatin-like substance. The collagen is then extracted, dried, and milled to form a powder.
egg white protein
The third protein in the Protein Blend is egg white protein. Egg white protein is quite possibly the best source of dietary protein, as it is made by simply drying liquid egg whites. Did you know that dried egg whites are naturally 80% protein?
pumpkin seed protein
The final protein in the Protein Blend is pumpkin seed protein, which is made by pressing pumpkin seeds to remove some of the oil, and then mechanically and/or chemically stripping what is left of everything but the protein. This process is generally less intensive than that which is used to make pea protein.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of fat found in oils, such as coconut and palm oil. In this case, it appears that Transformation is using MCTs from palm oil, as coconut (a tree nut) is not listed as an allergen.
Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder contains a Fiber Blend, which is misleading and outright shady. Their “Fiber” Blend is made up of guar gum, carrageenan, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, and gum arabic, all of which are common thickeners (food additives) used in protein powders. You can find a least one of these ingredients in almost every protein supplement, and although they are high in fiber, their role is functional, not nutritional. If Transformation really cared about the fiber content of its protein powders, it would not be using protein isolates stripped of fiber and other nutrients, it would be using whole foods. In essence, do not let the term “Fiber Blend” fool you. Gums and can carrageenan are food additives, not real foods.
Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are hard to digest and sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), and can lead to constipation. Worst of all, in the long term, food additives disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder contains a BCAA Blend. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are naturally occurring in many foods, and some protein powder companies add them to their recipes to artificially inflate the protein content. This is called amino acid spiking, and should be a huge red flag. If a company feels the need to spike its product with BCAAs, it is probably cutting corners somewhere.
Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder contains a Digestive Blend consisting of several probiotics (bacteria) and enzymes, both of which help us to digest food. This is a nice gesture, but ultimately a gimmick. Although the evidence is promising, the scientific community still disagrees about what the actual benefits of probiotics are, as well as about which strains are good, and which are bad. Some researchers even warn about possible negative effects of adding probiotics to processed foods, and call for caution and strict regulation. Although it has become common practice for protein supplement companies to spike their products with probiotics to make them gut-friendly, given the uncertainty that surrounds the role of these microorganisms, you should avoid them until more conclusive research is available .
Did you know that while food manufacturers are required to disclose their ingredients, flavor manufacturers are not. They can add solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives to a flavor that qualifies as “natural” under current regulations. This means that the natural flavors in Transformation protein could just be a catch-all term for everything that they would rather not spell out on the ingredient list.
It is almost impossible to find a natural protein powder without stevia these days. Stevia is an inexpensive zero calorie sweetener derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant. It is over 100 times sweeter than table sugar, and is considered by many to be a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners like sucralose. It is therefore no surprise that this zero calorie sweetener has found its way into protein powders looking to please health conscious consumers. That said, stevia is often extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant using chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol. This, one could argue, makes it barely more natural than the artificial sweeteners that it seeks to replace. In fact, a recent class action lawsuit filed in California reached a $6.1 million settlement because it was ruled that the company in question falsely labeled and advertised its stevia sweeteners as natural.
Monk fruit – also known as luo han guo – is a melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a concentrated powder. As far as low/zero calorie sweeteners go, monk fruit is the most natural and best tasting. Unlike stevia, which activates bitter taste receptors, monk fruit tastes just like sugar.
To put it simply, soy lecithin is a group of fatty substances derived from soybeans. It is added to foods like protein powder to create a smooth, creamy texture, to prevent separation, and to improve mix-ability. Like the other additives, it looks nothing like real food, however and therefore poses a serious risk to your gut health.
Transformation protein powder taste and texture.
Taste is so subjective that I hesitate to include it in this Transformation protein review. A protein powder that one person loves might make another person gag, so if you read product reviews on Amazon, you will find both 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews of the same exact recipe. For the sake of this Transformation protein powder review, however, I will share my opinion on how Transformation protein tastes and mixes.
Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder tastes ok, not great, not bad. It mixes well in a shaker bottle (no clumps), and like most protein powders, tastes a lot better with milk than with water. I would not say that it is too sweet, but it does have an unpleasant aftertaste that I blame on the stevia. The vanilla flavor was underwhelming, but pleasant. If it did not contain so many food additives, I could drink Transformation protein.
Transformation protein vs drink wholesome.
Transformation protein powder is a popular protein powder intended to help people achieve their wellness goals. As you just learned, however, it is not good for you. Its biggest weakness, which is a weakness for most protein powders, is that it is so processed that it hardly resembles real food.
This is the point in my Transformation protein review where I shamelessly pitch my own protein powder company, not because I just want to sell you something, but because it is a better-for-you alternative to Transformation. Hi! My name is Jack, and I am the founder of drink wholesome. A few years ago, I was sick and tired of protein supplements that upset my stomach, so I made my own with simple, real food ingredients.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, I use egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are a gut-friendly, natural alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. Moreover, unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, and naturally alkaline. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein. If you cannot eat eggs, our almond protein powder is easy to digest too, and a great option for vegans.
Transformation Vanilla Ice Cream Protein Powder ingredients:
Protein Blend (pea protein, hydrolyzed collagen (bovine), egg white protein, pumpkin seed protein), medium-chain triglycerides, Fiber Blend (guar gum, carrageenan, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, gum arabic), BCAA Blend (leucine, isoleucine, valine), Digestive Blend (bacillus coagulans, alpha amylase, protease, lactase, cellulase, lipase) natural flavors, stevia (leaf), monk fruit, sunflower lecithin, salt.
As you can clearly see, drink wholesome is additive-free and dairy-free, which is great new for you gut. The “gut,” also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) system, is made up of several organs including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon. The term “gut microbiome” refers to the microorganisms living in your intestines, and the term “gut health” describes the function and balance of these organisms. You may not have known that the gut does much more than just help you to digest food. It also protects against pathogens, educates the immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of our physiologic functions.
Several recent studies have examined the role of the gut in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of a variety of diseases, and have concluded that it plays an integral role in overall health. Given the important role that your gut plays, you should consider the ways in which the foods you eat affect it. You should also consider the potentially enormous impact that protein powder can have on your gut microbiome. Protein powder is not just any food, it is a food that you probably consume regularly, if not daily.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
drink wholesome is a healthy alternative to Transformation protein.