Millions of women can’t get enough of the internet’s most-talked-about drink — proffee. It’s simply a cup of coffee spiked with protein. But all the fuss makes sense when you consider this: Experts say sipping the stuff can prevent weight gain and often triggers effortless weight loss in women 60 and older. For proof, look to Mary Jo Liccar, who lost 109 lbs with the help of the delicious concoction. Intrigued? Read on to learn more about this potent drink and find out what proffee can do for you.
What is proffee?
Proffee is so simple to make: “Just take your morning coffee and mix it with a natural, sugar-free protein powder or protein shake,” recommends University of Maryland nutrition expert Pamela Peeke, MD. “While many high-carb breakfast foods promote fat storage,“proffee makes it easier for your body to burn fat. It’s a superb choice.” (Click through to see our round-up of the best vegan protein powders and/or a review in our sister magazine of the protein powders least likely to cause bloat.)
Bonus: Proffee’s protein helps override hormonal changes that slow fat loss, so women over 60 benefit most. “I’ve seen amazing weight loss results from proffee in the women I’ve worked with!” enthuses 10-Day Belly Slimdown author Kellyann Petrucci, MS, ND. (Click through to see how a hearty breakfast ups your GLP-1 levels naturally to speed weight loss.)
How proffee speeds metabolism
Research shows that individually, the both coffee and protein can help make you feel fuller and help improve levels of belly-flattening good bacteria in the digestive tract. Plus, it turns out that coffee and protein both have a thermogenic effect, “which means they create heat as they digest, burning extra calories,” explains Dr. Peeke, who is also the author of the bestselling The Hunger Fix and host of the popular HER Mind Body Life podcast on iHeart Radio. Studies show that just digesting the protein in proffee can temporarily fire up metabolism by 35%, while coffee’s caffeine boosts it by as much as 29%.
On top of that, bonus doses of protein naturally shrink appetite by about 494 calories a day, according to a University of Washington study. As metabolism amps up, you’ll also automatically eat less without even trying.
How proffee helps increase fat burning
As proffee’s caffeine wakes up the nervous system, “it stimulates fat cells to release fat and make it available as fuel,” explains Dr. Peeke. Meanwhile, amino acids in protein prompt the release of hormones that help do the same thing. So fat not only circulates in your blood, your proffee-boosted metabolism has an enhanced ability to burn it off.
To maximize this benefit, “use the energy proffee gives you to do something physical — walk the dog, chase your grandkids, clean the house — then watch how well your system responds,” suggests Dr. Peeke. Adds Dr. Petrucci, “Proffee gives you the potential to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.”
Proffee’s impact on over-60 weight gain
The main culprit in age-related weight gain: Hormonal shifts that lead to muscle loss. “Muscle is your fat-burning engine,” says Dr. Peeke. “The less muscle you have, the less of a calorie-guzzler your body will be.” Proffee to the rescue! While our body isn’t as good at building and maintaining muscle as we age, we can compensate by giving it extra building blocks in the form of protein.
Scientists say this is especially important at breakfast, when we tend to skimp. In one study, older adults who upped their protein intake at every meal saw dramatic improvements in muscle strength and overall health, plus doubled weight loss compared to those eating typical amounts of protein. (Click through for more on the power of morning protein to spur weight loss.)
“You can go from a four-cylinder engine to an eight-cylinder one, especially if you make a little time for exercise,” says Dr. Peeke. “Proffee is a fantastic tool.” Dr. Petrucci, who created an instant proffee mix for her patients (Collagen Coffee at DrKellyann.com), adds: “This drink stimulates fast and lasting fat loss.” At age 60, Mary Jo Liccar is living proof.
“I traded muffins for proffee—and lost 109 lbs”
On and off diets since childhood, Mary Jo found it harder and harder to maintain her weight as years passed. Her cholesterol soaring, the Illinois grandmother finally tried a program that calls for protein at every sitting. “I love my morning coffee, so I tried mixing cold brew and a protein shake. I’d add sugar-free caramel syrup and that was breakfast instead of a muffin.”
Mary Jo’s metabolism hasn’t been the same since. At age 60, she lost weight she’d been trying to shed for years. “And it most definitely boosted my energy!” She says that proffee keeps her satisfied for hours, so she makes healthier choices. Over the course of year, she lost 109 pounds and she is off cholesterol meds.
And Kara Harris lost 50 lbs at age 67
After adopting a child later in life, Kara Harris was ager to avoid a second knee replacement. So she went to a nutrition class taught by a local chiropractor. The chiropractor suggested she replace her high-carb breakfast with proffee.
“Now I can’t start my day without it,” says Harris, 67. “It’s my ‘go juice’. I bought a battery-operated whisk and whip up my coffee, collagen protein powder, some Truvia and sometimes a little squirt of sugar-free flavorings.”
Harris says that her proffee recipes boosts her energy and metabolism, keeps her full until lunch and reduces midday cravings. All told, she’s down 50 lbs. “My thyroid meds have been lowered, and I really think the collagen has helped my joints beyond the weight loss alone. It saved me another surgery,” she says.
How to incorporate protein coffee into your diet
Experts suggest having a low-sugar proffee as breakfast each day; at other sittings, simply aim to include a nice serving of protein (six to eight ounces), adding as many veggies as you can. When you’re not in a proffee mood, you can get similar metabolic results by eating protein-rich egg whites or Greek yogurt or adding protein powder to any morning meal.
That said, be sure to always get a doctor’s approval before trying any meal replacement or new diet. In general, healthy adults should have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (four cups coffee), and proffee is not recommended for those with liver/kidney issues.
Fun proffee recipes to try
Mixing up proffee couldn’t be any easier — all you need are two ingredients to start. And yet the recipe is easy to customize to whatever flavors your craving.
To make Basic Proffee: To hot coffee, add ¼ cup low-sugar protein powder. To iced coffee or espresso, mix in one low-sugar protein shake. Add spices, cocoa, sugar-free syrup or any healthy extras desired. If using dry spices or protein powder, you can whip in a blender for a smoother consistency.
To make Mint Chocolate Proffee: In mug, combine one ready-to-drink chocolate protein shake and 3 tsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup. Microwave 40 seances. Stir in 1 tsp. espresso powder and ¼ tsp. peppermint extract. Garnish with sugar-free whipped cream, if desired.
To make Proffee Mug Cake : In greased mug, mix 2 Tbs. protein powder, 1 egg, 1 Tbs. cocoa, 1 Tbs. sweetener, 1 tsp. espresso powder (or more to taste) and ¼ tsp. baking powder. Microwave 60 seconds.
And for something even more fun, check out this Girl Scout Cookie Proffee from Tonya Spanglo — it tastes just like a Samoa!
For more on proffee, check out our sister publication’s story Women Over 50 Are Going Crazy for Protein Coffee — And Weight Loss Is Only One Reason
For more on how skinny syrups are helping women over 50 lose weight, click through to Adding the New Flavored ‘Skinny Syrups’ to Water Is Helping Women Lose 200+ lbs — Discover How It Can Work For You
For more on how to make your own skinny syrup, click through to Love Those Coffee Drinks Made With Skinny Syrups? Here’s How to Enjoy Them for Less
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.