What Is Protein Coffee – And Should You Try It?

Protein shake, meet coffee

Last year, whipped cream was all the rage. This year? Protein coffee has everyone’s attention.

If you’re not familiar with current TikTok lingo, protein coffee is simply protein powder added to coffee.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment protein coffee became the next “it” drink, but many say TikToker @happyhealthyolivia’s video of her frothing a Premier Protein drink and adding it to her hot-brewed protein coffee – also called a proffee – huge.

Since then, other coffee companies have jumped on the bandwagon, including Bulletproof — you know, the company that made the butter and coffee combination so popular years ago — whose proposed protein coffee recipe features a combination of coffee, collagen protein, prebiotic powder, and MCT oil. .

But how healthy is this trend and is there a best way to brew and drink it? We spoke to a registered dietitian to find out.

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What is protein coffee?

You can make protein coffee in two ways. “It’s the combination of your coffee of choice, mixed with a premixed protein drink or a protein powder,” says Emma Backes, a registered dietitian in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

While there’s no real consensus among experts on how much protein to pour into your java, Backes suggests adding 10 to 20 grams of protein.

“That would be about half to one bottle of premixed drink, or about one scoop of protein powder,” she notes.

In comparison, two eggs provide 12 grams of protein, while three ounces of salmon have 17 grams of protein.

When to drink protein coffee?

Some people don’t like breakfast. Others simply can’t (or don’t want to) make time for a meal in the morning.

So if you’re just having a cup of coffee in the morning, adding protein to your mug can be a great way to fuel your day and help you move on to the next meal.

Another way protein coffee can be used? Bridget Wood, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Reno, Nevada, suggests thinking of it as a post-workout drink. Protein after a hard workout helps promote muscle recovery and growth.

Protein coffee nutrition

There are so many protein powders and protein drinks that you can add to your coffee. The nutrition in your protein coffee will differ depending on the version you use and how much protein it contains.

How you brew your coffee — and in particular what add-ons you add — will also play a role in the overall nutrition of your morning brew.

Here’s a look at the nutritional profile of protein coffee made with eight ounces of brewed coffee and 20 grams of unflavored collagen peptides.

Calories: 70

Total fat: 0 g (0 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV)

Saturated fat: 0 g (0 percent RDA)

cholesterol: 0 mg (0 percent RDA)

Sodium: 70 mg (3 percent RDA)

Carbohydrates: 0 g (0 percent RDA)

Fiber: 0 g (0 percent RDA)

Egg white: 18 grams

Calcium: 45 mg (4 percent RDA)

Potassium: 113 mg (2 percent RDA)

Health benefits of protein coffee

Let’s talk about nutrition for a moment.

“Starting your day with a good source of protein is a great way to feel full longer, balance blood sugar, and regulate hunger hormones throughout the day,” says Caroline Thomason, a registered dietitian in Warrenton, Virginia. “Because of this, protein coffee may be helpful for people who are currently skipping breakfast and trying to lose weight.”

Some people are picky eaters who don’t like foods that have good or excellent amounts of protein, such as eggs, chicken, turkey, seafood, and Greek yogurt.

“Protein coffee may be beneficial for people who struggle to get enough protein through whole foods,” Backes says.

Disadvantages of protein coffee

If you’re a fan of protein coffee, try just one cup of the drink daily.

“Taking in too much protein too quickly can upset your gastrointestinal tract,” Backes says.

Plus, you don’t want to rely on protein powder for most of your protein intake throughout the day. Whole protein sources are usually ideal.

Who shouldn’t drink protein coffee?

Some people with lower protein needs, for example those with chronic kidney disease, should avoid protein coffee.

“If you are pregnant, I would also avoid protein coffee because of the amount of coffee you would have to mix into protein powder,” Backes adds.

And if you’re a fan of a hearty breakfast, drinking protein coffee regularly in the morning can add unnecessary calories to your morning.

“Depending on how you drink your coffee, a protein coffee can have a lot more calories than you normally would and is usually more comparable to a meal replacement,” Woods says.

How do you make a protein coffee?

Your choice of protein powder will have a major impact on the nutrition of your final product.

Some protein powders contain added sugars, which add unnecessary calories and count toward your daily amount of added sugar, which should be no more than 10 percent of total daily calories.

Other protein powders contain sugar alcohols, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.

Your best bet? A protein powder with minimal added ingredients. If you want a sweeter taste in your protein coffee, you can always add a pinch of cinnamon.

How do you shop for a high quality protein powder?

Protein powders are considered supplements – and the category of supplements is like the Wild West. There are super reputable products that you wouldn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole.

How do you know you are buying a quality product? “Look for third-party verification labels on the front of the protein package,” Backes says. “These third-party companies verify the ingredients in the protein drink or powder to ensure they are truthful and safe.”

This means that the verification will confirm that the product contains the amount of protein it says it contains and that it has not been contaminated with harmful ingredients.

Best protein powders to add to protein coffee

Here’s a handful of expert-recommended protein powder picks to mix into your cup of protein coffee.

Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer

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Vital Proteins Vanilla Collagen Creamer

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“This is one of my favorites,” Thomason says. “It provides 10 grams of dairy-free protein per serving and is free of artificial flavors and sweeteners.”

It contains collagen peptides, organic coconut milk powder, natural flavors, silica and organic acacia fiber.


Designer Whey French Vanilla Protein Powder

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Designer Whey French Vanilla Protein Powder

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“This is my go-to for protein coffee,” says Oregon-based registered dietitian Megan Byrd. “It is gluten-free and high in fiber and probiotics. It is low in sugar and uses no artificial sugars. It mixes really well in hot coffee with a blender bottle, and it’s not chalky like so many other protein powders.


Anthonys Marine Collagen Peptides

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Anthony’s Marine Collagen Peptides

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“This provides 12 grams of protein per serving,” notes Jody Bergeron, RN, a registered nurse at Cape Cod Healthcare. “It is made from type 1 collagen from wild-caught fish in France. It is also gluten free.”


Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend

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SunWarrior Chocolate Protein Warrior Blend

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“I’m a fan of this plant-based protein,” says registered dietitian Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan. “It’s not only vegan, it’s also packed in MCT [medium-chain triglyceride] fats, BCAAs [branched-chain amino acids]and antioxidants.”

You get 16 grams of protein per serving from ingredients such as organically fermented pea protein and organic hemp protein.

Cheers to a protein-packed brew

Provided you don’t fill your coffee with cream, sugar or other dessert-like additives, protein coffee can be a good breakfast substitute, a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or post-workout fuel.

So grab your favorite brew, stir in protein powder and drink to your health. Or try this high-protein coffee smoothie recipe.

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