Figuring Out the Protein Supplementation Market

Every once in awhile, I am asked to review products, and this month it was two of Naked Nutrition‘s newest releases: their protein coffee Mocha Latte and Vanilla Latte drinks.

With the protein market so incredibly saturated, I often receive questions from clients about different brands and products. It can feel bewildering to walk into the health food aisle of a grocery store and feel bombarded by the (literally) hundreds of choices. As a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, my main protein goals for clients are to help them…

  • Eat enough protein, and at the right times, to help them achieve their performance and physique goals
  • Eat protein in context, as part of a mainly “real food” diet that is satisfying, healthful, and balanced
  • Create realistic and livable protein routines that can be put on autopilot (including which brands they buy)
  • Decrease stress and angst around food choices, building more confidence and utilizing protein as a tool instead of as a meaningless macro to “achieve”

So is I helpful to drink protein coffee? There are new products on the market that claim that you can turn your morning caffeine boost into a protein-rich snack. Is this legitimate?

Let’s look at the nutrition for the Naked Nutrition Mocha Latte and Vanilla Latte protein coffee, which I was asked to review…

Full disclosure, this is a sponsored blog post containing affiliate links, but I would not have written it had I not actually enjoyed the beverages and felt satisfied with the nutritional profile!

Protein Coffee Mocha Latte and Vanilla Latte Nutrition Facts

One serving of either protein coffee delivers 20 grams of whey protein, a “normal” caffeine buzz of 95 mg (i.e., this is not a super-juiced-up energy drink), and only 5 grams of sugar.

Naked Nutrition generally avoids using artificial sweeteners (they are, after all, the “Nutrition with Nothing to Hide” brand), so there is a small amount of added sugar from coconut sugar. But this could be an advantage for someone who doesn’t like the taste of stevia or other popular sweeteners in health foods. Plus, if you’re using it as a pre-workout (which would be pretty good timing for this beverage), the caffeine and sugar combination could be perfect for quick energy.

Finally, at 20 grams of whey protein, these protein coffee drinks are only 150 calories. Honestly, this is a solid nutrition profile in terms of a protein:calorie ratio. It’s practically impossible to get protein bars that hit this distribution.

Practically speaking, I think that grabbing a Mocha Latte or Vanilla Latte with 20 grams of protein could be a pretty good choice when you need that pick-me-up! If you drink coffee anyway, it could be a good way to get in more protein when you’re running to work, especially if you tend to skip breakfast and always fall behind on protein.

To play devil’s advocate, however, if you would have had a 50-calorie coffee (with creamer) with breakfast and instead you have a 150-calorie coffee with the same breakfast, you might not be doing yourself any caloric favors, even with the increased protein content. I think this beverage really works best if it replaces a protein bar – or fills in the blank when you might normally skip a meal – rather than being added onto what you’re already doing. Like I said, I think it could also help if you’re the type of person who always lags behind on protein, and as a result are constantly feeling hunger and cravings. But when it comes to weight management, calories are ultimately king, so that’s important to keep in mind when you’re considering protein supplementation.

Now, let’s talk about taste…

My Take on Naked Nutrition’s Protein Coffee

As an avid espresso drinker and general coffee snob, what did I think of Naked Nutrition’s Mocha Latte and Vanilla Latte coffees?

I thought they were tasty. I don’t drink a lot of caffeine, so I sampled the products sparingly, but I enjoyed the Colombian coffee flavor (especially on the Mocha Latte), and they were truly so easy to make. I know that for many people, getting enough protein into their diet is often a matter of convenience and preference. When something can come together so quickly and taste really pleasing (especially if someone might enjoy it more than a regular protein shake), I think it’s a good thing to put in your pantry. Most of my clients drink coffee, and I can picture it being a smart choice.

While the package says these are iced coffee products, I made them as hot drinks because I strongly prefer hot coffee. I mixed it into hot water with a frothed wand like this one, and I enjoyed them hot. But you could also easily make it as an iced coffee in a shaker bottle with water and ice, or make a granita-style drink in a blender with ice and milk.

If you’re interested in trying out either flavor from Naked Nutrition, here are the links to check them out:

Mocha Latte Protein Iced Coffee

Vanilla Latte Protein Iced Coffee

Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

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