Wellness

Why TikTokers Are Obsessed With “Proffee”

Everything you need to know, according to nutritionists.

TikTok loves talking about proffee. But is it actually good for you?
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By now you’ve probably seen a bunch of proffee recipes on TikTok. You know, those delicious-looking combos of protein and coffee? Usually, they’re made by mixing iced coffee and a protein shake, but you can also do protein powder, espresso shots — and, of course, a swirl or two of caramel syrup. The taste factor is likely why the #proffee hashtag has nearly 5 million views on TikTok. But add in the fact it gives you a boost of energy, and it’s easy to see why everyone from nurses to students like to drink proffees first thing in the a.m.

From a nutrition standpoint, NASM-certified personal trainer and nutritionist Donna Burke says starting the day with protein isn’t a bad idea. It provides a boost of energy (more on that below) and also gives you time to space out your protein intake throughout the day. “Excess protein isn’t stored, it’s excreted,” she tells Bustle. “It can be useless if packed into one sitting.” That’s why it’s better to have some protein every three to four hours to ensure your energy lasts.

With that in mind, read on for all the benefits of proffee, as well as some downsides, so you can decide if this famed TikTok drink is really worth the type.

What Are The Benefits Of Proffee?

Since protein is a macronutrient, “it will help keep you full and encourage more energy throughout the day,” Burke says. And this is especially true if you’re into morning workouts. “Protein coffee is a great way to repair and build lean muscles,” she adds. “Protein breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of every cell in your body, so starting with protein coffee gives your body the fuel it needs to generate and build new healthy cells immediately.”

The caffeine boost isn’t bad, either. According to Kristin Koskinen, RDN, LDN, LD, CD, a registered dietician and performance nutritionist, the caffeine in proffee can increase your power output during a workout, meaning you can get a good run or HIIT class in without feeling tired. And since proffee includes a nutrient-dense protein shake, Koskinen says it’ll give you a hit of carbs to fuel your workout, too.

Whether you work out or not, a sip of proffee can stave off low blood sugar jitters when you’re in a pinch and give you enough energy to make it to your next meal. The reason? “Protein slows the absorption of both carbohydrates and caffeine, which may protect against blood sugar spikes,” Koskinen says.

Are There Any Downsides To Proffee?

It really depends on how you make it. Follow a super-sweet proffee recipe on TikTok — one that’s heavy on the flavored syrups and caramel drizzles — and you might end up consuming too much sugar for the day. If you’re just using syrup as flavoring, and not for a jolt of energy, Koskinen suggests adding a splash of vanilla extract instead.

It’s also good to keep in mind that not every protein powder or shake is created equal. “Pre-made protein shakes are convenient but are often made with low-quality ingredients,” Koskinen says. That can mean iffy things like fillers and preservatives, so don’t throw just any protein into your coffee. “Instead, use a scoop of high-quality whey powder or pea powder if you prefer plant-based.”

If you throw back proffees all day — especially ones with three shots of espresso — keep in mind that it might increase your anxiety. “It can also disrupt sleep if you take in too much or use it too late in the day,” Koskinen says. Caffeine has a half-life of 6 to 10 hours depending on the individual, so have a cup or two in the morning, then switch to a caffeine-free drink so it has time to wear off before bed.

The Consensus

Proffee is one way to add more protein to your diet. But since it’s so tasty, it’s definitely easy to overdo it, consume too much caffeine, and then feel anxious or too wired to sleep. Low-quality ingredients might not do you any favors either, Koskinen says. But make a proffee with a high-quality protein powder, and it’ll provide a burst of energy, fuel a workout, and help you survive a busy morning.

Studies referenced:

Clark I, Landolt HP. Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2017 Feb;31:70-78. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Jan 30. PMID: 26899133.

Tipton KD. Role of protein and hydrolysates before exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007 Aug;17 Suppl:S77-86. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.17.s1.s77. PMID: 18577777.

Wilk M, Filip A, Krzysztofik M, Gepfert M, Zajac A, Del Coso J. Acute Caffeine Intake Enhances Mean Power Output and Bar Velocity during the Bench Press Throw in Athletes Habituated to Caffeine. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 4;12(2):406. doi: 10.3390/nu12020406. PMID: 32033103; PMCID: PMC7071256.

Sources:

Donna Burke, NASM-certified personal trainer and nutritionist

Kristin Koskinen, RDN, LDN, LD, CD, registered dietician and performance nutritionist