Protein coffee, or proffee, is a hot trend right now, but is adding protein to your coffee really beneficial? Let’s take a look at what it is, how to make it, and whether or not protein coffee is beneficial to your health (especially when it comes to managing blood sugar).
What is protein coffee or proffee?
Protein coffee is exactly what it sounds like: coffee plus protein. It really is that simple.
This trend is all over TikTok and Instagram right now and there’s really no right or wrong way to make it. However, there are some tips that I will share that will help you make the best possible version for you.
How to make protein coffee
There are a ton of versions of protein coffee out there, so test a few out and see which you like best. For instance, do you prefer hot coffee, ice coffee, or cold brew? They call all work when making proffee, so just go with the one you enjoy most.
Choose the right protein for your coffee
There are a couple main types of protein additions that you can add to your coffee: protein powders or ready to drink protein shakes. There are so many different brands and flavors out there, and this is where you can have some fun and experiment to find your favorite version.
Some people may opt for the simple vanilla or chocolate protein flavors, while others might be more adventurous and choose salted caramel, cinnamon bun, or cookies and cream. Just choose the flavor that sounds best to you and roll with it!
How to make protein coffee with hot coffee
Your first instinct may be to add protein powder directly to your hot coffee in the morning and stir it up. However, protein powder tends to clump up when added directly to hot coffee.
To prevent your protein from clumping in hot coffee, there are a few options:
- Mix a scoop of protein powder with a small amount of your milk of choice (maybe even try camel milk!) in a shaker bottle or blender, then pour it into the hot coffee in lieu of creamer or plain milk.
- Slowly add the protein powder into your hot coffee, little by little, stirring constantly to ensure it dissolves completely.
- Add your hot coffee and a scoop of protein powder to a blender, removing the lid insert to allow steam to release.
An even easier method is to pour a pre-made, ready to drink protein drink directly into your hot coffee.
How to make iced proffee
Protein powder dissolves in cold liquids more easily, this version is quicker and easier option for your busy mornings.
You can take chilled or room temperature coffee, or even cold brew coffee, and simply mix it with protein powder, using a spoon, handheld milk frother, shaker bottle, or blender. Add ice to and you’ve got an iced proffee!
Is protein coffee healthy?
Protein is important in our diet for so many reasons. Every cell in our bodies contains and needs protein. We need to consume protein in our diet to ensure the proper growth and repair of cells and in order to build muscle and make hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and so much more. Adding protein into a drink you already consume regularly, like coffee, may be a good option for people who need to consume more protein throughout the day, but there are some caveats to be aware of.
Do you actually need more protein in your diet?
One important thing to consider is whether or not you need to amp up your game when it comes to your protein intake. Protein needs vary based on many factors, including age, gender, activity levels, type of exercise, and more. In general, the more active you are, the more protein you need. This is especially true if you employ more strength training over cardio workouts.
On average, the minimum amount of protein that should be consumed per day is about 50-60 grams, but this amount is not suitable for active individuals. Optimal daily protein intake goals should actually be around 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (or 0.6 to 0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight) for active people who wish to maintain or grow muscle mass.
Many people are consuming enough protein throughout the day already, and may not see any additional benefit from supplementing with more protein through drinking protein coffee. However, some people will see a benefit from proffee if they are not consuming the amount of protein needed to support their lifestyle.
For people who are trying to lose weight, it is usually recommended to pump up protein intake because it increases feelings of fullness and can help you maintain muscle while losing fat. In this case, proffee can absolutely be a great choice to help maximize daily protein intake. However, eating a protein-packed breakfast along with drinking a cup of coffee is likely to show the same benefits for weight loss.
Not all protein powders are created equal
Not every brand of protein powder is going to be a good choice for your health. Depending on the protein sources you have available to you, the protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, and micronutrient content can vary drastically. Whey protein powder is very different from vegan protein, egg white protein powder, and collagen protein powders. There are so many options out there, it may even feel difficult to make a decision!
Opt for brands of protein that have about 20 grams of protein per serving (if your proffee is your main protein source for breakfast) and contain little to no added sugars. For people sensitive to sugar substitutes, be sure to focus on the ingredients list in order to avoid potential digestive troubles.
Check for third-party tested protein powders and beverages to make sure there is no contamination, as supplements are less heavily regulated than foods. Some protein powders can be contaminated with heavy metals, which can be harmful to your health.
Is protein coffee good for diabetes?
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, this version of coffee can be both helpful and harmful depending on how it is used. That’s why if you have diabetes, there are some important factors to pay attention to when considering jumping on this trend.
The first thing to understand is that protein coffee is not an appropriate substitute for a balanced breakfast. Many people may think that this can be a good meal replacement, but this is not true, especially for people with diabetes. Protein coffee isn’t going to provide the same vitamins, minerals, fiber, and macronutrient balance as a breakfast made with whole foods.
Coffee has many health benefits, but some people with diabetes are more sensitive to caffeine, which can lead to higher blood sugar levels. In addition, while protein itself doesn’t impact blood sugar levels, some protein powders and premade protein drinks may have a lot of added sugars and excess carbs that can contribute to blood sugar spikes.
This drink can definitely be a good addition to your breakfast, especially for people who don’t consume enough protein at breakfast. However, proffee shouldn’t be the only source of protein in your diet. Spreading out your protein consumption over the course of the day while also focusing on consuming balanced meals is the key for keeping blood sugar balanced when you have diabetes.
If you’re unsure if protein coffee will help you reach your health goals with diabetes, be sure to speak with your diabetes care team for further guidance.
The bottom line: should you add protein powder to your coffee?
Like many wellness trends, the answer to this question is: it depends!
In general, before choosing a protein powder for your coffee, it is best to check the Nutrition Facts panel, ingredients list, and whether or not it is third-party tested.
If you don’t usually start your day with a protein-rich meal, adding protein into your coffee can be a good way to help you get enough protein to kickstart your day. However, it is still the best practice to consume a balanced breakfast focused on whole foods.
There are many other ways to get your protein in at the beginning of your day, and proffee doesn’t have to be your method of choice unless you really love how it tastes. The moral of the story is: adding protein powder to your coffee can definitely be a healthy choice to add to your daily routine, especially if you really enjoy it!