Is Protein Coffee The Latest Weight Loss Trend? We Asked The Experts

Ozempic is (thankfully) out. But there’s another weight loss trend brewing – and it can be served up hot or cold. Here’s the skinny on social media’s latest trending “health” craze: protein coffee.

By Audrey Enjoli3 min read

Could protein coffee be your new morning savior? Dubbed “proffee,” the protein-packed, caffeinated drink appears to be a fan favorite among influencers, content creators, and the like. 

Videos related to protein coffee have amassed more than 136 million views on TikTok. In the vast majority of clips, TikTokers can be seen whipping up their favorite protein-spiked brew. But, what’s really causing a stir is the fact that many of the users seem to be touting the same proffee benefit: weight loss. 

“I used to weigh 258 pounds. I have lost 120-some pounds. Every single morning I drink a protein coffee,” TikTok user @proteincoffeekt explains in one video. In another video, entitled “What I ate to lose 125 pounds,” user @rissarecharged says the creamy drink is one of her breakfast staples.

But, just how healthy is protein coffee, really? And is it actually useful for shedding those unwanted pounds? We asked the experts: Ashley Wilke, a certified nutritionist and fitness coach, and Emily Rae, a certified health coach (IINHC), have the scoop.

The Importance of Protein 

Known as the building blocks of life, protein is essential for helping the body to grow and repair cells. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance, 0.36 grams of protein should be consumed per every pound weighed. This equates to roughly 56 grams of protein for the average sedentary man and 46 grams for the average sedentary woman.

Starting your day with at least 20 grams of protein is a great way to promote balanced blood sugar and satiety.

Since powder supplements are generally packed with about 10 to 20 grams of protein per scoop, both experts agree they’re a great way to increase protein intake and fill protein gaps in your diet. 

“Protein is the most satiating macronutrient,” says Rae, who specializes in women's health and hormones. “Starting your day with at least 20 grams of protein is a great way to promote balanced blood sugar and satiety so you can avoid that mid-morning slump from a blood sugar crash and keep your energy up until lunchtime.”

But, although protein powders can be beneficial for those who fall short on their daily protein intake, Wilke notes that they shouldn’t be favored over a healthy, well-balanced diet. “Protein powders should be viewed as an addition to a healthy diet high in protein-rich foods and should never replace protein-rich foods altogether,” she says. “Real foods offer vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that may be unavailable in protein powder.”

Is “Proffee” Healthy?

Whether or not coffee itself is healthy is a hotly debated topic (although many experts now agree that drinking it in moderation is key). A natural stimulant, coffee has been shown to boost energy levels and concentration.

However, due to their relatively high levels of acidity, coffee drinks may also have undesirable effects, including digestive issues like nausea, heartburn, and gas. And, since caffeine stimulates the nervous system, coffee may also cause feelings of restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.

Protein powders can actually help mitigate a caffeine-fueled cortisol spike.

But according to Rae – who’s been adding protein powder to her coffee for years – protein powders can actually help mitigate a caffeine-fueled cortisol spike, helping you to avoid those anxious jitters.

When it comes to protein powders, just be sure your preferred brand isn’t harboring any unwanted ingredients. “Protein powders can be high in added sugars and carbs,” Wilke explains. The protein-packed supplements may also harbor toxic ingredients. A 2018 study by the Clean Label Project found that 75% of leading protein powder products contained heavy metals and other toxins, including lead, arsenic, mercury, and BPA, a chemical used to make plastics.

For the cleanest proffee drinks, Wilke emphasizes the importance of reading ingredient labels. Opt for brands that indicate where their protein is sourced from and have been tested by a third party for quality and safety.

Is Protein Coffee Good for Weight Loss?

In addition to making you more alert, studies show that caffeine can also help stimulate your metabolism and increase thermogenesis (the process of burning calories) in the body. And, similar to caffeine, eating more protein can also aid in reducing cravings

“When it comes to weight loss, a big factor can be cravings, and blood sugar plays a big role in this,” explains Rae. “When we eat a meal or snack that is imbalanced – meaning there are more carbs and not enough protein or fats – it can spike our blood sugar, leading to an inevitable crash.”

She says that by consuming ample amounts of protein first thing in the morning, you can set yourself up for success throughout the rest of the day – and boost those muscle gains.

“Protein contains the essential amino acids needed for building and maintaining muscle mass, which is super helpful for weight loss,” adds Rae. “We want to make sure we are nourishing our body with adequate protein so we are burning fat, not losing muscle.”

One of the best things about protein coffee is that it’s extremely easy to make.

Incorporating protein powder into a daily routine – such as the ritual morning cup of coffee – can help ensure the body has ample amounts of amino acids to support its daily energy requirements. This is especially important because the more muscle you build, says Rae, the more calories your body will burn.

Ready to whip up an easy, high-protein breakfast for weight loss? In addition to its many nutritional benefits, one of the best things about protein coffee is that it’s extremely easy to make.

Running late in the morning? Simply add a couple tablespoons of protein powder directly into your morning latte. Or, if you’re out and about, simply pour a pre-made protein shake over espresso and ice.

“I add either organic cashew milk or A2 half and half for some healthy fats with a scoop of protein to my coffee every day,” says Rae. “I use a handheld frother to blend all the ingredients together, and it tastes like a velvety latte with amazing health benefits – it's a win-win!”

Closing Thoughts

All in all, for those who drink coffee on the regular – and eat breakfast on the irregular – protein coffee may be a terrific option for achieving daily nutritional requirements. But, Rae says, protein isn’t just important in the morning. “It really should be the star of the show when it comes to your meals. A diet high in protein will promote muscle growth and maintenance, healthy hair, skin, and nails, stable blood sugar (bye-bye cravings!), and overall, more satiation throughout the day.” 

And, when it comes to losing weight, Wilke notes that it’s also important to prioritize the basics. “When looking to lose weight, I recommend eating a diet rich in whole foods, sticking to a consistent workout routine, and getting in at least 8,000 steps daily,” she says. “There is not just one factor that leads to weight loss, it’s a combination of many factors – and staying consistent!”

Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.