You may have now seen a bunch of professional recipes on TikTok. You know, those delicious combinations of protein and coffee? Typically, they’re made by mixing iced coffee and a protein shake, but you can also make protein powder, espresso bars — and of course, a swirl or two of caramel syrup. The taste factor is probably the reason why the hashtag #proffee has nearly 5 million views on TikTok. But add to the fact that it gives you a boost of energy, and it’s easy to see why everyone from nurses to students loves drinking bad guys first thing in the morning.
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 is not stored, it is excreted,” she tells Bustle. “They can be useless if put into one sitting.” That’s why it’s best to eat some protein every three to four hours to ensure your energy continues.
With that in mind, read about all the proffee benefits, as well as some of the downsides, so you can decide if the popular TikTok drink really deserves this one.
What are the benefits of profi?
Since protein is such a macronutrient, it “will help keep you full and encourage more energy throughout the day,” says Burke. This is especially true if you do morning exercises. “Protein coffee is a great way to repair and build lean muscle,” she adds. “Protein breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of every cell in your body, so starting with coffee protein gives your body the fuel it needs to generate and build new healthy cells right away.”
Excess caffeine isn’t bad either. According to Christine Koskinen, RDN, LDN, LD, CD, registered dietitian and performance nutrition expert, the caffeine in the pro can increase energy production during exercise, which means you can get a good cycle or HIIT class without feeling tired. And since the proffee includes a nutrient-dense protein shake, Koskinen says it’ll give you a dose of carbs to fuel your workout, too.
Whether you exercise or not, a sip from the pros can combat low blood sugar anxiety when you’re in trouble and give you enough energy to get to your next meal. Reason? “Protein slows down the absorption of both carbohydrates and caffeine, which may protect against high blood sugar,” Koskinen says.
Are there any downsides to Profi?
It really depends on how it’s made. Follow the super-sweet pro recipe on TikTok — one that’s heavy on flavored smoothies and caramel drizzle — and you might end up consuming a lot of sugar in the day. If you’re only using syrup as a flavor, not for a boost of energy, Koskinen suggests adding a drizzle of vanilla extract instead.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that not every protein powder or shake is created equal. “Ready-made protein shakes are convenient but often made with low-quality ingredients,” Koskinen says. It can mean imprecise things like fillers and preservatives, so don’t toss any protein in your coffee. “Alternatively, use a scoop of high-quality whey powder or pea powder if you prefer vegan.”
If you’re tossing the pros all day long — especially ones with three shots of espresso — keep in mind that it may add to your anxiety. “It can also disrupt sleep if you take it too much or use it too late in the day,” says Koskinen. Caffeine has a half-life of 6-10 hours depending on the individual, so have a cup or two in the morning, then switch to a decaffeinated beverage until it wears off before bed.
Prophy 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 restless or too tired to sleep. Low-quality ingredients may not do you any favors, Koskinen says. But make a bonus with a high-quality protein powder, it will provide a boost of energy, fuel your workout, And Help you survive a busy morning.
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Donna Burke, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist
Kristin Koskinen, RDN, LDN, LD, CD, Registered Dietitian and Performance Dietitian