I often wonder how we learned about trends and fads before the internet and TikTok came along? Even if you don’t actually watch TikTok, you’re bound to hear or read something about a posting through either friends, family or some news outlet.
Over the last couple of months, that’s how I learned about baked pasta and feta cheese, fresh fruit dipped in protein powder and 100% honey frozen popsicles. And now the most recent fad to appear on my radar is coffee mixed with protein powder, aka proffee. My feelings are mixed.
What Exactly Is Proffee?
Besides a very clever name, it’s simply coffee mixed with protein powder. Whatever one serving of the powder would be, you mix it with iced coffee, which mixes much more easily than in hot coffee. And obviously, just like with any cup of Joe, you can feel free to add extras like spices, whipped cream, sugar (granted many protein powders are already sweetened) and dairy/non-dairy milk.
The amount of protein per cup of coffee will vary depending on how much protein powder you add and what brand you use. But on average, if you add one scoop of powder, you should get at least 20 grams of protein — definitely a significant amount.
[READ: How Much Protein Do I Need?]
What’s the Purpose of Proffee?
For starters, protein helps to maintain, build and repair muscle in our bodies, make important enzymes and hormones, and shape our tissues and organs. When it comes to mealtime, protein can also help with satiety.
So, for those who tend to skip breakfast, protein in their coffee may provide them with some satiety till lunchtime they may otherwise be missing out on. This can be especially important for those trying to maintain or lose weight. And a protein powder may also contain some carbohydrates, which can provide a little more energy, besides the caffeine from the coffee. Also, for the morning exerciser who enjoys a cup of coffee post workout, the protein may help with recovery.
What Should I Know About Protein Powder?
When it comes to protein powder, it really depends on the brand and their ingredients and what may matter to you personally. For example, non-GMO or organic, vegan or animal-based protein? Some brands include a lot of added sugar and other low-calorie sweeteners; some are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and others with fiber. Most contain a minimum 20 grams of protein per serving, which I believe is probably plenty for your coffee.
What’s always most important though, is that whichever you choose does not cause any stomach upset, diarrhea or nausea. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant and choose a brand with whey protein, whey contains lactose, and therefore it may upset your stomach. Also, some brands use sugar alcohols for sweetening, and sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol, have been associated with diarrhea.
What About Coffee Benefits?
I would guess that most people choosing a proffee are already coffee drinkers. It’s the protein addition that’s new. Either way, moderate coffee consumption (2-5 cups/day) does come with health benefits, such as lower risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
It is also important to know that too much caffeine from coffee may come with adverse side effects, including insomnia, jitters, anxiety and headaches.
Proffee: the Bottom Line
I want to say that I just can’t get on board with this fad. I mean I did hear about it from TikTok. And besides, I’m a nutritionist who’s always a fan of food first, and there are many better morning options packed with protein, such as eggs, yogurt and tofu. Also when choosing whole foods, you get a lot more than a single macronutrient; you can get a slew of other vitamins and minerals that your body will thank you for, which are not found in a powder.
However, for those individuals who basically start their day on empty with just a simple cup of coffee, I might see some benefits. But please, let’s just keep it to one proffee per day, without the whipped cream and little added sugar.
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