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A common practice is mixing coffee with protein shakes. Although this combination can provide you with the energy boost you are looking for, adding hot water to whey protein can possibly denature the protein (especially if the water is boiling).
Thus, you may be wondering whether protein powder has caffeine already included.
Does protein powder have caffeine? Most protein powder brands do not have caffeine included. However, some brands, such as Muscle Milk, Gold Standard, Ensure Max, Dymatize, Iconic, and Orgain, have “mocha” or “coffee” flavored options, which do include small amounts of caffeine (anywhere from 15-120 mg per serving).
This article will explore more than 30 brands of protein supplements to determine which ones contain caffeine and how much they contain in one serving compared to a cup of coffee.
I’ll also explain whether it’s safe to consume protein powders with caffeine and whether you should buy these products.
Why Does Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
Even though some protein powders contain caffeine, it is not the case for most. So, why include caffeine with whey protein?
Caffeine is one of the most studied performance aids in sports. Although it is most often consumed in coffee or tea, some people don’t like the taste of those options or it’s not as convenient, which leads to finding alternatives (such as protein shakes) to get the benefits of caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system. This means that it can fight fatigue and boost energy levels. Thus, drinking caffeine before workout sessions can significantly increase performance.
In a study done on seven adult cyclists, they were given a placebo or some caffeine (4 mg per kilogram of body weight). The study concluded that those who took caffeine improved the time to exhaustion by 12%. This means that they could last longer than those that didn’t take any caffeine.
Easy To Carry Around
One of the other benefits of having whey and caffeine together is that it makes it easier to carry around.
Instead of taking a mug with your coffee and another bottle with your protein shake, you can just take the powdered form with the caffeine and mix it up in a single shaker cup.
Is It Safe To Consume Protein Powders That Have Caffeine?
Yes, it is safe to consume protein powders with caffeine. But, you need to be careful with how much caffeine you consume. A recommendation of 3-6 mg per kilogram of bodyweight brings several performance benefits. However, having more than 9 mg per kilogram of body weight can have harmful effects.
A high caffeine intake can lead to sleep problems (insomnia), anxiety, headache, nausea, nervousness, and irregular heartbeat. Remember that it is a stimulant of the central nervous system. Thus, it is always important to check with your doctor when adding caffeine products, especially if you have a heart disease history.
Should You Buy Protein Powders That Have Caffeine?
Here are a couple of cases when you might want to consider buying a protein powder with caffeine.
You Don’t Like Coffee or Tea
For those that don’t like coffee or tea but still want to get that energy boost from coffee, buying a protein shake with caffeine can provide you with the needed caffeine to help you have sufficient energy levels.
Weight Gain Phase
Whether you are a bodybuilder or just someone trying to put on muscle mass, adding too much volume to your stomach can increase your fullness levels and prevent you from reaching your total calories during the day. If you add a cup of coffee along with a protein shake, it might make you feel overly full.
Thus, adding only one beverage will prevent you from feeling too full. This means that you can still eat the rest of the calories during the day without feeling stuffed.
- Related Article: How Many Calories Are In A Protein Shake? (9 Examples)
You Train Too Early
Waking up early and eating a meal right away, and at the same time, having enough energy levels to train might be challenging.
If you need to train with something in your stomach, a protein shake can help you out, and consuming protein that has caffeine included can also help increase your alertness if you’re not a morning person.
You Train After Work
If you are training after a long day at work, you might be too tired to go to the gym. Taking a protein shake with caffeine can be a handy snack that gives you that energy boost for you to go to the gym.
3 Best Protein Powders That Have Caffeine
If you’re in the market for protein powders that have caffeine included, I recommend the following three options:
IsoPure Espresso – Best Overall
IsoPure is one of my favorite brands when it comes to protein shakes. It offers less than 1 gram of both carb and fat, making it the best option to ensure that you only add protein to your meals.
IsoPure has an espresso version with 40 mg of caffeine, similar to one shot of espresso or half a cup of coffee.
Since it is a whey protein isolate, it is easier to digest, which won’t cause an upset stomach. It also has a reduced lactose content, making it the best option for those with lactose intolerance.
Additionally, if you are very sensitive to caffeine, meaning that only one cup of coffee might affect your sleep patterns. A lower caffeine option like Isopure is the best option to start.
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder in Dunkin’ Mocha Latte Flavor
Even though the Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder has the same macro content as the Isopure, it has the benefit of containing more than twice the amount of caffeine. It has 95 mg of caffeine, representing one cup of coffee.
This is ideal for those that need an energy boost and have a higher tolerance to caffeine.
Muscle Milk Coffee House
Muscle Milk Coffee House has the advantage that it has all the macros (protein, carbs, and fats). It contains 9 grams of fat, 21 g of carbs, and 32 g of protein. If you have a hard time adding food to your day, adding a shake with all the macros can act as a meal replacement.
Additionally, it is the highest in caffeine content, with 120 mg of caffeine per serving. This represents having 2 cups of coffee.
This is ideal for those looking to gain some weight and need extra calories in their diets. With that said, it is not for those that have a lower calorie intake during the day (like those in a weight loss phase).
- Related Article: Does Protein Powder Have Carbs? 8 Types of Protein Explained
Protein Types & Caffeine
Here I’ll discuss whether different types of protein (casein, hemp, soy, etc.) have caffeine.
Does Casein Protein Have Caffeine?
No, casein doesn’t naturally contain any caffeine. In most cases, thanks to being a long-digesting protein, it is typically used before going to bed to help provide a steady amino acid release. Thus, it is not very common to find casein protein that has caffeine in it.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Whey Protein With Casein?
Does Soy, Hemp, or Pea Proteins Have Caffeine?
Vegetable proteins like soy, hemp, and pea don’t naturally contain caffeine. If you ever find a vegetable protein with some caffeine, it was artificially added to the mix and will be clearly labeled on the bottle
Does Coffee Flavored Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
Yes, in most cases, the coffee-flavored protein powders have caffeine in them. Since people regularly drink coffee for its caffeine content, a protein shake flavored with coffee is expected to have the same energy-boosting results.
For example, protein shakes like Iconic Protein Coffee, Café Latte, or Ripple – Vegan Protein Shake contain caffeine. They usually obtain this by adding ground coffee beans to the formula, thus providing the flavor and the caffeine content.
However, you can still find coffee-flavored protein that doesn’t have caffeine added. For example brands like Premier Latte have a Caffe Latte powder protein that won’t provide you with any caffeine. This is obtained by adding natural coffee flavors but not coffee powder It provides the flavor without the caffeine.
Protein Brands & Caffeine
Does Pure Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
Pure protein doesn’t have any caffeine. They are a good option if you want a protein shake with more than 20 g per serving (25 g per scoop). However, if you want to have an energy boost from your protein powder, this is not the option for you.
- Related Article: Review of Pure Protein Powder
Does Muscle Milk Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
Regular Muscle Milk doesn’t have any caffeine. However, they do have a brand called Coffee House, which is coffee flavored and contains caffeine. One of its ingredients is instant coffee, which provides flavor and caffeine content. Each serving has 120 mg of caffeine, representing 1.2 cups of coffee.
Does Vega Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
None of the vega protein powders contain any caffeine in them. They have different protein options, such as a sport or recovery powder, but they don’t offer one that can provide that additional energy boost.
Does Quest Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
Quest Protein powder doesn’t have any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Gold Standard Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
In the Gold Standard Protein Family, only the Coffee and Mocha Coffee flavors have some caffeine, thanks to coffee powder added in the mix. They contain 15 mg of caffeine which might not represent a significant amount since it is ¼ of an espresso shot.
Does Ghost Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
You should assume that Ghost Whey Protein has caffeine. While the brand doesn’t explicitly say that it contains caffeine, the ingredient panel cites “Columbian coffee”, which would 100% be a caffeinated ingredient. How much is added to the powder is unknown though.
- Learn more about Ghost Whey Protein
Does Equate Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
Equate Whey Protein doesn’t contain any caffeine in its protein powders.
- Related Article: Does Whey Protein Have Calcium? (A Nutrition Coach Answers)
Does Muscletech Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
Muscletech Whey protein doesn’t have any caffeine in its protein powders.
- Check out our Muscletech Whey Protein Review
Does Body Fortress Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
Body Fortress Protein has no caffeine in its protein powder.
Does Six Star Whey Protein Have Caffeine?
Does Premier Protein Have Caffeine?
Premier Protein has only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee latte. None of the powders contain any caffeine in them. Although they have a coffee flavor, they get it from natural flavors added to the mix containing no caffeine.
- Related Article: Premier Protein Shakes Review: What I Liked & What I Didn’t
Does Ensure Max Protein Have Caffeine?
Ensure Max Protein Shake Coffee Mocha offers 30 g of protein per serving and has Colombian Coffee extract, which provides the flavor and the caffeine. It contains 100 mg of caffeine, representing one cup of coffee. The other flavors from this same brand don’t contain caffeine.
Does Herbalife Protein Have Caffeine?
Herbalife proteins don’t offer any caffeine content in its protein shakes.
Does Blessed Protein Have Caffeine?
Blessed Protein doesn’t contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Boost Protein Drink Have Caffeine?
Boost Protein Drink has three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. Although there is a coffee flavor, this is obtained through natural flavors. Thus, it means that it does not contain any caffeine added.
Does Isopure Protein Drink Have Caffeine?
Isopure protein does not contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Dymatize Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
The proteins from Dymatize protein don’t often contain caffeine. However, they have one flavored Dunkin’ Cappuccino that contains caffeine in its ingredients. It offers 95 mg of caffeine which represents one cup of coffee. It provides no fat and no significant carb content, with 25 g of protein per serving.
Does Fairlife Protein Drinks Have Caffeine?
Fairlife protein does not contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Gatorade Protein Have Caffeine?
Gatorade protein does not have any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does GNC Protein Powder Have Caffeine?
GNC protein powder does not contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
- Related Article: GNC Protein Powder Review: Why I Think Better Options Exist
Does Iconic Protein Have Caffeine?
Iconic Protein has a high-protein coffee beverage that comes in three flavors. They are made with Colombian coffee powder, and it provides 180 mg of coffee, representing 2 cups of coffee per bottle. Ideal for those that need a high caffeine intake.
Does Orgain Protein Have Caffeine?
Orgain Protein Powder doesn’t contain any caffeine unless it is the Iced Coffee Flavor. It’s made with organic caffeine extract, which helps provide 60 mg of caffeine per serving size, representing one shot of espresso. Additionally, it has organic coffee powder to give that iced coffee flavor.
Does Purely Inspired Protein Have Caffeine?
Purely Inspired Protein does not contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Olly Protein Have Caffeine?
Olly Protein does not contain any caffeine in its protein shakes.
Does Atkins Protein Shakes Have Caffeine?
Atkins protein shakes do not contain any caffeine.
Does Special K Protein Shakes Have Caffeine?
Special K Protein shakes do not contain any caffeine.
Other Whey Protein Resources
- What Can You Mix With Whey Protein? (13 Examples)
- Why Is Protein Powder So Sweet? How To Make It Less Sweet
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.