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Is it Healthy to Add Protein to Your Coffee?

Instead of mixing in the typical cream or sugar into a cup of cold-brewed coffee or iced espresso, many have been going for protein powder. The protein and coffee mixture has been dubbed proffee, and it’s been the latest viral trend on TikTok, with the hashtag amassing more than four million views. Even medical practitioners have been touting the concoction as a protein-packed pick-me-up that aids in weight loss. But is this viral trend drink truly good for you? Taking a closer look into when you typically intake your protein throughout the day can help answer that.

Benefits of Adding Protein to Coffee

Studies indicate that adding protein to your coffee may provide several benefits. The first benefit is that it may improve your workout performance. Coffee is rich in caffeine, a natural stimulant that can improve your muscle’s contractions and resistance to fatigue when you consume it within 60 minutes before exercising. Likewise, protein powder provides your muscles with the building blocks they need to recover from exercise, grow, and become stronger. Another commonly cited benefit to adding protein to coffee is that it helps people who regularly skip breakfast meet their daily protein requirements. Protein is best eaten over several periods throughout the day, especially if you’re physically active and hoping to build muscle or increase strength. Thus, adding protein to coffee may help you spread out your protein intake more effectively. Then lastly, adding protein to your coffee may aid weight loss. Protein reduces hunger and promotes feelings of fullness, adding it to your coffee may help keep you fuller for longer and possibly lower the number of calories you eat later in the day. Caffeine also has potential weight loss benefits of its own. For instance, research suggests that it boosts your metabolism, lowers levels of hunger hormones, and raises levels of fullness hormones.

Possible Downsides

Although coffee with protein powder may benefit those who don’t typically eat or drink anything in the morning, it doesn’t likely help those who eat a balanced, protein-rich breakfast alongside regular coffee. Whole foods are a better source of protein over powders because they contain additional vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds seldom found in protein powders. Moreover, protein powders are sometimes laden with sugar, fillers, artificial sweeteners, and other additives. They also risk being contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, and other ingredients not listed on the label. Therefore, it remains best to opt for whole, protein-rich foods over protein powders whenever possible.

The Bottom Line

Many health enthusiasts have agreed with this social trend and promote adding protein powder to your morning coffee. Doing so may be a convenient way for people who regularly skip breakfast to get enough protein. What’s more, the combination of protein and caffeine may help you shed weight and amp up your workouts. At the end of the day though, eating a balanced breakfast with a regular coffee remains a superior, more nutritious way to achieve these same benefits with many fewer downsides.

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