More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, people have come up with a variety of creative drinks in place of going to coffee shops and bars.
And the latest drink going viral on TikTok is proffee – a nickname for protein coffee – which is made by adding a scoop of flavored protein powder to espresso and poured over ice.
Social media users insist the caffeinated beverage helps promote weight loss, boost energy levels and burn more calories.
But doctors and nutritionists warn that too much coffee can lead to irregular heart rhythms and, depending what protein powder is used, can come with too much added sugars or even lead to excess protein intake.
Proffee – a nickname for protein coffee – is a trend sweeping TikTok and is made by adding a scoop of flavored protein powder to espresso
Social media users say proffee (left and right) has many health benefits including weight loss, boost energy levels and burn more calories. Doctors and nutritionists warn that the drink is good in moderation, but adding too much espresso or protein powder can lead to health issues
Caffeine, one of the ingredients, is a natural stimulant that can improve your muscles’ contractions and resistance to fatigue.
Studies have found that it can boost your mood, rev up your metabolism and even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
However, having too much caffeine at one time can be dangerous.
‘If you’re taking a few shot of espresso, that could be a lot of caffeine. It’s like having three cups of coffee,’ Andrea Chernus of Chernus Nutrition in New York City told DailyMail.com.
‘Depending on how your body metabolizes coffee, it may stay in your system longer.
‘That can affect your heart rate, cause arrhythmias and it may not be so great for the heart to be pounding down shots of expresso.’
Dr Frederick Davis, the Associate Chair of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, agrees.
He said coffee is good in moderation, but too much of anything is bad for the body.
‘You have to watch how much caffeine you’re taking in or it can lead to palpitations., especially when people have underlying conditions,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘It can also be dehydrating because coffee is a diuretic so it makes you urinate more, so you could be losing a lot of fluid in the process.’
The other ingredient, protein, helps people feel fuller for longer as it the body burns more calories while digesting it.
Dr Davis says that what can make the proffee fad harmful is what ingredients are in the protein power or shake.
‘Protein with added sugars or some sort of artificial flavorings or sweeteners unfortunately can push up sugar levels and carbohydrate levels,’ he explained.
Additionally, there is such a thing as too much protein, which can lead to intestinal discomfort and indigestion.
Having too many shots of espresso can affect heart rate, cause arrhythmias and lead to dehydration. Pictured: Ingredients for a proffee recipe
Too much protein can cause intestinal discomfort and indigestion, and lead to underconsumption of other nutrients. Pictured: A finished proffee drink
‘Some studies have shown that too much protein is a bit of a waste,’ Chernus said.
‘People will also say: “Oh I’ll have this protein thing for breakfast so I won’t have any other protein for rest of the day.” Just having protein from a protein shake doesn’t mean it’s a great thing if you’re missing out on a lot of other nutrients.’
Dr Davis says excess protein can be especially harmful for patients with decreased kidney function.
‘They work harder to filter waste out, so too much protein can stress your kidneys as they work to get rid of the big molecules in protein,’ he said.
The experts say if you want to make yourself a proffee, have just one cup of coffee and add one scoop protein powder – with not a lot added sugars – to it.
And if you’re not sure if you should be trying it, speak to your physician first.
‘These different nutrition fads might not be a one-size-fits-all for everyone and it might prevent someone from doing these different fads who might be harmed,’ Dr Davis said.
Chernus adds: ‘Just because it’s a trend on TikTok doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.’
HOW TO MAKE a PROFFEE
Recipe is based on British protein brand ‘bulk’
- 1 scoop bulk’s Pure Whey Protein (in Salted Caramel) – or swap in Vegan Protein Powder as a vegan alternative (try it in Caramel Latte) •
- 200ml bulk’s Oat Drink
- bulk’s Zero Calorie Syrup (Salted Caramel)
- 1 double espresso shot (around 60ml)
- 30ml bulk’s Oat Drink (optional)
- Milk frother – optional
1. Pour your milk into your shaker and add 1 scoop of Pure Whey Protein Powder and mix together so there’s no bits
•.2 Squeeze the Zero Calorie Syrup around the sides of your glass
3. Put some ice in your glass
4. Pour your coffee into the glass
5. Add your protein shake to the glass
6. Froth your milk with an electric of handheld frother (step is optional)
7. Top with some more Zero Calorie Syrup