A high-protein breakfast is an excellent way to start your day.
That said, it can be hard to get enough protein at breakfast. Steak and eggs sounds great, but on a rushed weekday morning, you’re probably not going to make a whole meal.
Fortunately, there’s a simple alternative. Instead of cooking in the morning, you can add a scoop of protein powder to your coffee.
Protein coffee has become a popular choice for making a satisfying breakfast on the go. It fills you up and helps you start your day on the right foot.
But is it healthy to add protein powder to hot coffee? And does the type of protein matter?
This article will tell you everything you need to know.
The short answer is yes, adding protein powder to coffee is great for you.
Protein coffee is a healthy and convenient way to get more protein in your diet, and eating plenty of protein comes with a variety of benefits.
A high-protein diet is one of the best-studied ways to lose weight sustainably.
Even though they didn’t count calories, the women on a high-protein diet naturally ate almost 500 fewer calories per day.
If you want to lose weight, it’s worth your time to try a high-protein diet. Adding protein powder to your coffee is a great way to hit your protein goals every morning.
Protein coffee will also help you start the day with steady, reliable energy.
A high-protein breakfast stabilizes your blood sugar and hunger levels, keeping you full and giving you stable, reliable energy for hours[*].
Protein is more satiating than fat or carbs[*], making it a good choice for breakfast.
And when you compare types of protein, whey protein powder is particularly filling.
Adding whey protein to your coffee is a convenient, filling way to start the morning right.
Smooth and Healthy Skin
While whey is great for satiety, adding collagen protein to your coffee brings another set of benefits.
Collagen is the main protein that makes up your connective tissue, skin, hair, teeth, and nails. It’s made up of a few different amino acids — the building blocks of protein — that are hard to get in your normal diet.
Fortunately, collagen protein powder gives your body exactly what it needs to build new collagen and keep you looking young.
Research shows that taking collagen orally (as a protein powder, for example) increases skin elasticity and skin hydration[*]. In several studies, people who took collagen every morning had significantly younger, smoother skin[*].
If you want to make breakfast more filling and keep yourself looking young, collagen is a great choice. Our collagen protein powder is flavorless and dissolves into coffee in seconds. It’s also heat-stable up to around 700 degrees Fahrenheit[*], which means hot coffee won’t affect its benefits in any way.
Protein with breakfast is always a good idea. The bottom line is that you’ll get benefits from mixing whey or collagen protein (or both) into your coffee.
There are no major downsides to mixing protein powder and coffee, and protein coffee definitely isn’t harmful.
However, there are a couple cases where you may want to leave protein powder out of your morning cup.
Hot Coffee Denatures Whey Protein
Whey protein is sensitive to heat. It begins to break down at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and because coffee brews at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, whey protein will denature in hot coffee.
Proteins are made up of long strings of amino acids, folded into complex structures. When a protein denatures, those long strings begin to unravel — like a paperclip that you unfold and make straight.
Denaturing sounds scary, but it’s actually not that big a deal. In fact, some protein powders (like collagen protein) are intentionally denatured so you can absorb them better.
In the case of whey, you’ll still get almost all the benefits when the whey is denatured.
But when you heat whey past 150 degrees Fahrenheit, beta-lactoglobulin unfolds and stops working. That means you won’t get that small immune boost if you mix whey with hot coffee.
You’ll still absorb the protein just fine, and you’ll get all the other benefits of whey.
But if you don’t want to miss out on the immune boost, you can let your coffee cool before adding the whey, or you can mix whey into iced coffee.
Protein Powder Breaks Your Fast
Intermittent fasting is a popular way to lose weight and enhance your brain function. It involves going for a portion of the day without food, then having all your meals in a shortened eating window.
If you’re doing intermittent fasting, a cup of black coffee in the morning is no problem. Anything without calories won’t break your fast.
Protein, however, will break your fast, and you’ll miss out on the benefits of fasting. So if you’re doing a daily intermittent fast, save the protein for later and stick to black coffee.
If you decide to try protein coffee, there are a couple tricks to making it tasty.
The easiest option is to use collagen protein. Our collagen protein powder is flavorless and dissolves into coffee in seconds. You won’t even know it’s there.
Whey protein is a little trickier to dissolve, especially if it’s pure whey protein with no fillers. But if you know what to do, you can mix whey in coffee without a problem.
Whey mixes easily with cold liquids, so you can stir whey into milk or cream before you add it to hot coffee.
Alternatively, you can mix your coffee and whey in a blender for a few seconds until smooth.
If you don’t want to wash out the blender every morning, try buying a battery-powered milk frother online. It’s only a couple bucks and it will mix your protein coffee flawlessly.
One final note: do not blend hot coffee in bullet-type blenders. There’s no way for the steam to escape, so the inside of the blender will pressurize quickly. You risk damaging your blender, and you may also burn yourself in a hot coffee explosion, which is a terrible way to start the day.
For an even bigger morning boost, try this keto protein coffee recipe. It’s high in protein, and it also has healthy fats like MCT oil to give you stable energy for hours.
Keto Mocha Protein Coffee
- 12 oz black coffee, brewed
- 1 tbsp MCT oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
- 1 scoop grass-fed chocolate whey protein powder
- Pinch of salt (optional, but enhances the chocolate flavor)
Simply mix all the ingredients together and blend to combine. You’ll end up with a tasty, satisfying mocha that’s packed with protein and healthy fats.
Protein coffee is a great way to start your day. It tastes delicious, gives you stable energy, and curbs your appetite, and you can make it in just a few seconds every morning.
Not interested in protein coffee? We have plenty of other high-protein recipes that make for a delicious breakfast.
Our protein calculator can also help you figure out your ideal protein intake to meet your health goals.