Protein coffee is currently trending on the social media platform TikTok, with the hashtag gaining nearly ten million views. Otherwise known as “proffee,” the drink is the latest protein-enhanced beverage, following iced tea and even beer. But, is it as simple as mixing espresso with protein powder? And are there any potential health risks of mixing the two drinks?
What is Protein Coffee?
Coffee is a stimulant that is designed to increase mental alertness, while protein helps to increase muscle mass and keep hunger at bay. So, can they work together? Several TikTok creators have been showing their followers how to make the popular drink, which is typically made by combining protein shakes, coffee and milk, along with some ice.
One health and fitness TikToker, named Katie, amassed nearly 180,000 views on a video demonstrating her take on the trend. It shows her adding three espresso shots, a protein coffee drink, almond milk, caramel syrup and sweeteners. Another creator, who goes by the name of Amber Aliya, made a version of the drink consisting of caramel syrup, ice, Starbucks coffee and a pre-made protein drink.
Some versions of the drink aren’t as high in calories, with some simply adding a protein shake to espresso shots. Proffee draws some similarities to pre-workout supplements, which are typically mixed into a beverage before a workout and contain caffeine, creatine, vitamins and other energy boosters. But is the trendy drink healthy, or even safe to consume?
Is Protein Coffee Healthy?
On their own, coffee and protein have several benefits when consumed in moderation. Caffeine is known to boost energy and coffee is a source of vitamin B12, magnesium and plant chemicals. Meanwhile, eating more protein may improve longevity and metabolic health. A superior source of protein is food since protein shakes may contain extra additives, sugars and sweeteners.
When combined, they are frequently used for weight loss. The caffeine in the drink may increase focus, performance and concentration, while the protein can help build muscle mass and increase metabolism. While the consensus is that proffee is healthy in moderation, adding too much caffeine can cause an increase in heart rate, stress and cortisol.
Proffee should not be used as a magic beverage for losing weight, either. Nevertheless, some research indicates that protein and caffeine may help some people maintain their weight. For instance, a 2020 study found that drinking four cups of coffee daily could reduce body fat by about four percent. At the same time, a high-protein diet could be a helpful strategy for weight loss and preventing obesity, according to a study from the same year.
Which Companies Sell Proffee?
While homemade versions of the drink have blown up on TikTok, several beverage brands have also introduced ready-to-drink (RTD) protein coffee beverages. Chike Protein Iced Coffee, which claims to be the internet’s top-rated protein coffee for taste and flavor, contains 20 grams of non-GMO protein, two shots of espresso coffee and one gram of sugar.
Thunder Coffee Milk, a Florida-based RTD coffee brand, also offers high-protein coffee drinks that contain nine grams of all-natural protein and are made from real milk and organic coffee. The drinks contain only five ingredients and come in three flavors: Mocha, Vanilla and Double Shot.
Alani Nu appears to be the latest brand to introduce its take on protein coffee, Alani Coffee. The RTD beverage offers ten grams of protein, natural caffeine derived from coffee beans and only 90 calories per 12-ounce bottle. Alani Coffee is also gluten-free, high in calcium, low in fat and cholesterol and sweetened with six grams of sugar.
Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, protein coffee is the latest food trend to gain popularity on TikTok, which has churned out hundreds of food and beverage trends in the last year alone.