The facts on 'proffee': Can protein powder plus coffee help you lose weight?

protein powder

The trend of proffee, or adding protein powder to your morning cup of coffee, is gaining momentum. It seems innocent enough – just mix and sip. But is this on-the-go breakfast healthy for you? 

Nebraska Medicine registered dietitian Kimmie Sharp, MMN, RDN, LMNT, LD, says yes, protein coffee is an easy low-calorie, filling meal. 

Here Sharp explains how to make protein coffee and what to look for in a protein powder.

Can protein help you lose weight?

"Plenty of evidence supports that adequate protein intake helps with weight loss," says Sharp. "Adding protein powder to your coffee is a nice way to cut some extra sugar and calories from creamers."

Don't go too crazy with coffee – drinking two pots in one day is not good for you. But a cup or two of coffee with protein powder is a great choice.

"Protein in the morning takes away that sense of physical hunger you feel after waking up," explains Sharp. "Protein will keep you going for a few hours, while something like plain toast will make you feel hungry sooner."

Other good sources of protein:

  • Skim milk
  • Soy milk
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese

Protein coffee will break your fast

Following the intermittent fasting 16/8 method means you eat or drink calories in an eight hour window each day. For the remaining 16 hours (including time asleep) you're fasting – not consuming calories. 

You can drink black coffee (without creamer or sugar), black tea, green tea, matcha tea and water without breaking your fast.

However, mixing things containing calories with your coffee means it will no longer calorie-free. Protein has calories. Adding protein powder to your coffee will break your fast. 

If you're intermittent fasting, wait until your eating window to get your protein powder fix. Watch our webinar to find out the rights and wrongs of intermittent fasting.

Is protein coffee a meal replacement?

You can use protein coffee as a meal replacement. It's a quick and easy way to fuel up quickly for a busy morning. However, many powders lack essential vitamins, minerals or healthy fats. Some protein powders contain much more protein than you need, which could cause weight gain. 

If your goal is to lose weight, a shake that's specifically formulated to replace a meal is a better option. "Our meal replacement shakes are nutritionally complete with all the vitamins you need," says Sharp. 

"The New Direction® program is great if you want to take a mini-vacation from food and lose weight," says Sharp. "You also get the support of our team members and education on how to keep the weight off." 

Schedule a free information session for our medically managed weight loss program by calling 402.559.9500.

What is the best protein powder?

For either a protein powder or a pre-made shake, look for: 

  • 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving
  • 5 grams or less of sugar per serving

The New Direction® meal replacement shakes contain 35 grams of protein and 4 to 6 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor.

"Avoid brands that make crazy health claims, for example that they help cure disease. Those aren't reputable," says Sharp. 

How to make protein coffee

If you're adding a protein shake that's already a liquid, like the New Direction® program shakes, you can just mix it with your coffee – hot or iced. 

Adding protein powder to iced coffee is also simple. Just mix the two together and you're set. 

For hot coffee and protein powder, though, it's a bit trickier. 

"Depending on the type of protein powder, it can congeal or get a bit clumpy if you add it straight to hot coffee," says Sharp. "Instead, mix the protein powder with a little bit of warm water first. Then add your hot coffee to your mixture, and you should be good to go." A milk frother can help you dissolve the powder more quickly.

No matter what your coffee preference, it's safe and easy to give the proffee trend a try. "Protein coffee can be effective for weight loss," says Sharp. 

If you aren't seeing results on your own, try our weight loss program managed by medical experts. Call 402.559.9500 to schedule a free information session for the New Direction® weight loss program.