T Nation

Hot Coffee and Metabolic Drive


I've been mixing a scoop of cheap protein powder with a little bit of water. Mix it up into a paste. Then pouring fresh brewed hot coffee in. I figured if any of the protein suffered from the hot liquid, it wouldn't matter because it's cheap stuff.

But I got my Metabolic Drive order in today, and I don't want to waste that. Anybody know if hot liquid is bad for micellar casein / whey isolate?


It might denature the protein a bit, but it shouldn't be a big deal.


every now and again the oatmeal's still too hot when i put the Metabolic Drive in and it get a little clumpy. i've read studies on heating milk which say protein denatures by clumping together making it less and less bio-available as the heat increases. not necessarily destroying the protein per se, but the clumping means it won't function the way you want it to in your body.


Clumping eh!! you ought to see what it does when it hit the stomach acid. Think milk and lemon or orange juice It Clumps. The casein clumps larger therefore the slower digestion ( cottage cheese like)


Casein already clumps in your stomach, which is why we want it in the first place (because of this, it has a slowed absorption).

For proteins powders and milk, you really don't care if the protein is denatured or not, because by the time tridimensional protein reaches the duodenum, it as been denature (lost its tridemensional shape) and is in the process of being cut down to short polypeptides, which will be further cut later on).

The stuff clumps in the glass with the heat, probably does not significantly change absorption, but might slow it down further, which might not be a bad thing overall.

enjoy your proteinated-coffee.



awfully big "probably" alex.

i'm 100% positive i read on this site, from the makers of the stuff themselves, that they recommend not cooking with it, and adding to hot foods after they have cooled a bit.(i recall 160 degrees but i'm not positive on that point).

further, the feature of Metabolic Drive, and what differentiates it from all the other guys, is micellar casein. that is milk casein in it's more delicate natural state.

now i'm not a scientist, but i don't have to be because according to the makers of the stuff: you don't get the benefit of micellar casein, which is what makes Metabolic Drive so bitchin', from processed milk (heated milk). btw that information is right here:


i don't understand why you guys think a little clumping is no big deal. seriously why would you say that ? and what's with words like "probably" and "no big deal" ? if you've got an answer say it. but just talking out your ass isn't helping anybody.

so, the question i have why would you be so eager to carelessly negate the specific benefit of something you're paying for ? again not according to me, but according to the makers of the product.

and here's that study on casein and heat:

pretty interesting stuff. and now i know what a casein micelle looks like.


Berardi has an entire section of his Gourmet Nutrition book that is titled "Now Your Cooking With Protein" and includes a ton of recipes utilizing protein. Research studies notwithstanding, if he's cooking with it, I'm cooking with it.

Don't sweat dumping a half-scoop of MD/Grow! in your coffee...I do it every morning. Lowery (if I remember correctly) is a proponent of it as well.



Thanks for all that effort and research. I actually decided to keep using cheap 100% whey for coffee, and keep the Metabolic Drive for mixing with water.

This morning I mixed the cheap stuff with more water than before. So when I added the coffee, it would mix with the cold protein and it did not clump at all.


that's correct...Lowery did reccomend adding a half scoop to your AM coffee to help lower AM cortisol levels. I've tried it before...tasted pretty decent. Actually reminded me of the coffee you'd get at a crapy gas station.

So, if you want to keep the starbucks flavor, forgo the protein. Better question is, why put it in your fucking coffee when you can throw it in a protein shake?


I like my cup of morning coffee, but I don't like my coffee black. Work only has cream. And I want more protein in my day.


Ok, lets dwelve into more details then.

We must first realize that milk processing (heating milk for an extended period of time) is different from pourring hot coffee on protein powder.

Secondly, denatured protein is of no significant consequence for digestion. Because denaturetion of protein is a first step in digestion, so protein are to be denatured in the low pH of the stomach. However, other antinutritional factors could be created by heat/alkali treament. That is only some (15%) of the racemization prone L-amino acids (not the easily peptically cleaved ones are) have the potential to be modified to 10-15% less absorbable D-amino acids) after extended (6 to 24h treatment of, like you said, around 160F).

So unless you plan to keep you protein-coffee sturring on the pot for 6 to 24 hours, there really is no problem.

Next, clumping is not a big deal because this is actually what we seek.

Hell, if my whey protein would clump I'd be happiest guy ever and would not have to put cottage cheese in my protein shakes. The fact that casein clumps, wheter in the stomack or 7 seconds before in the glass is the reason why we pay for Metabolic Drive, to have something that takes a while to be transfered to the duodenum because it is clumped in the stomach, ensuring a slow, continuous protein absorption to the bloodstream.

Secondly, the reason I use ''probably'' and ''no big deal'' is not because I'm talking out of my ass but because where I a walking and talking evidence-based medicine library I would have used a somewhat similar terminology like I am 95% confident that pouring hot coffee onto Metabolic Drive for a short period of time does not significantly alter its digestibility profile in a way that impedes muscle building abilities.

There is amount of research and quality of research. Anyone that has critically read many studies eventually realizes that they are not the Word of God and that it takes numerous studies of, hopefully, good quality to eventully come up with the conclusion that X does Y with Z degree of confidence or evidence.

Having an answer and saying it without qualifying it implies a degree of confidence in the results that most research fields cannot give a the moment except in some/restricted topic. Nutrition clearly is not exempt from this.

As an apart?, I rarely talk out of my ass.



Try some of the hood low-carb products in your coffee (i'm partial to hood low-carb chocolate) if you're worried about denaturing the protein. Hood's pretty good stuff and it has more protein, less carbs, and fewer calories than milk. As for the lack of protein in your diet, I can think of plenty of ways to use up that metabolic drive...too many perhaps. 'Spoon, meet Mr. Protein container.'


Although it's been alluded to several times in the thread, just to spell it out in black and white - denaturing does not hydrolise the peptide bonds so leaves the actual aminos intact (which are what you want to build muscle with).

Denaturing your protein does.not.matter. for bodybuilders.

In fact (I think there is another thread going on about this somewhere right now) it can often improve your uptake of the aminos. Cooking it and boiling it for periods of time, microwaving it and so on will often reduce the levels of some aminos as is the case with cooking any protein source, but just denaturing it in itself isn't important.


Had to re-visit this thread as I sit here wasting valuable company time and resources AND enjoying my mid-morning, steaming hot cup of Starbucks French Roast + Vanilla MD.

Sugarfree...there's a lot (maybe too much) good information presented here, but I think you're thinkin' a bit too hard on this one. Dumping your cash on what you already acknowledge to be "cheap" protein solely for your java IS a waste. After all, a tub of MD is only $25. It's been a long time since I purchased protein from a source other than Biotest, but I have to believe you'd be hard-pressed to find even a "cheap" protein at a lower cost.

Here's to caffeine!!!!


yes, the difference being that milk processing is gentler than coffee. typical pasteurization temps :

63?C (145?F)* 30 minutes Vat Pasteurization
72?C (161?F)* 15 seconds High temperature short time Pasteurization (HTST)
89?C (191?F) 1.0 second Ultra Pasteurization (UP)
90?C (194?F) 0.5 seconds Ultra Pasteurization (UP)
94?C (201?F) 0.1 seconds Ultra Pasteurization (UP)
96?C (204?F) 0.05 seconds Ultra Pasteurization (UP)
100?C (212?F) 0.01 seconds Ultra Pasteurization (UP)
138?C (280?F) 2.0 seconds Ultra-high temperature (UHT) Sterilization

so, pasteurization would be at a lower temps than coffee and the exposure is much less. seconds or milliseconds, rather than minutes. take note of how fast the damage occurs after 190 f, the temp of coffee, likely brewed just over 200f, when it hits your protein.

well, i guess this is where the bone is buried. "denature" is a blanket term and i would think some types of denaturation would be more or less damaging than others. the way i read it:

the more heat the more hydrophobic the micelles. the more hydrophobic the micelles the more they clump. the more they clump the less they gel. the less they gel the less you get for your money.

"..these effects are attributed to altered properties of the casein micelles due to stronger hydrophobic interactions: lower voluminosity, less deformability, and hardly any serum casein release. At lower temperatures fewer hydrophibic interactions are present, which would allow particles to aggregate with a larger number of bonds between two particles and serum caseins, thereby causing fewer rearrangements during gel formation. The low G values for gels formed at higher temperatures may be due to extensive rearrangements during gel formation as fewer bonds between the particles are formed. This results in the formation of dense clusters of aggregated particles which in turn aggregate to form a gel. From these dense clusters many particles would hardly contribute to the rigidity of the network resulting in a weak gel.
{Casein - whey protein interactions in heated milk / Astrid Jolanda Vasbinder - [S.l.] : [s.n.], 2002 - Tekst. - Proefschrift Universiteit Utrecht}

yes. and of course i'm just making my best guess here, but given that even the folks who make the stuff don't really know how to answer- on the one hand they say heat damages the micelles which makes the poduct awesome cause we have it and they don't; on the other hand they say oh sure cook all you want with it, it'll be fine, and btw we sell stuff for a living...

given there remains a question, i won't be roasting my jars of exotic proteins, which need to be

"handled in the most careful way possible, shielded from light and heat and mechanical insult.." -TC

over the campfire anytime soon.

please, are you frickn serious ?

aside from that, what's with people putting anthing but sugar and 1/2 & 1/2 in their coffee anyway ? frickn weirdo's. and y'all are trying to flip the anal coin on me ???


I use Metabolic Drive in my java pre-cardio in the AM with two ice-cubes, not because of the denaturing issue but because I want to slam it and get on with my day! I only know a handful of people that can drink coffee blazing hot right out of the pot... I guess I'm tough enough.

Anyway, there's your solution - its still warm enough to taste like a good cup-o-joe, but not hot enough to really do any significant further denaturing, IF it were to happen.. From Dr. Alex's posts it appears we don't have to worry about that anyway.

And, just to second an early post, Berardi states in Gourmet Nutrition that heating, baking, or cooking protein powder DOES NOT affect its absorption, denatured or not. Also, remember that ANY processing of food (heating, homogenization, etc) IS technically denaturing if any molecular structure is changed from its natural state, hence the term "DE-NATURE". In other words, most protein powders are already denatured yet they can still be beneficial.

Lastly, when I used to add piping hot water to straight whey, it would curdle to a point where the surface of the liquid was afloat with chewy, almost hard, chunks of whey. I don't care so much if this was denatured but it was disgusting to chew these chunks! So, I try to add luke-warm water/coffee to any protein for palatability alone.



jeez i dunno man. still doesn't seem to me like dr.alex has said anything.

um yes. this is what has been said. de-nature is a blanket term. pasteurization is timed specifically to limit damage. it is damaging the milk in varying degrees as the chart suggests. i agree there are times when it doesn't matter.

the question remains: is this one of those times ?

i would think the lack of palatability alone would be enough to make people think something must be happening.

but the peg i'm hanging my hat on here is the one that clearly differentiates between clump and gel. "gel" we all agree is beneficial; "clump", however, offers "hardly any serum casein release"-ibid.


Yeah, only $25 US. I'm Canadian. So on my last order an extra $50 US for shipping. Then I have to pay the exchange rate that VISA charges. Then an extra $34Cnd for Customs. Or I could buy it here, I've seen it sell for $50-62 Cnd.

While Metabolic Drive is my main source, my coffee is getting the $10 powder.


Ok, I don't want to enter a pissing contest here, but I'll give it a shot.

Having an answer and saying it without qualifying it implies a degree of confidence...

please, are you frickn serious ?

Yes, I was being serious. I just finished a course on evidence-based medicine and a main point being hammered down is that study results are only good as the Level of Evidence associated to it. It is therefore important to be able to critically appraise an article to check its actual value.

Also, wheter we are in medicine, nutrition and other science, we have to follow statistical models and that the results we get are approximations of reality. Clearly in ''purer'' physical sciences this is usually less so, but it is not uncommon to find studies which lack power to differentiate between a null hypothesis and the one being tested or a study which is in error and finds a difference when their is none.

The value of the study is actually more important than the results and that is why I mentionned ''probably'' (statistical significance) and ''no big deal'' (clinical significance).

so, pasteurization would be at a lower temps than coffee and the exposure is much less. seconds or milliseconds, rather than minutes. take note of how fast the damage occurs after 190 f, the temp of coffee, likely brewed just over 200f, when it hits your protein.

Well here, it depends on how soon post-brewing we put the coffee on the proteins. I agree with you that brewing temperature of coffee are between 190F and 200F. However, my interpretation of pouring freshly brewed coffee maybe was different because I let the coffee on the turned off burner for a while before pourring it, maybe 10-15 minutes. Because a coffee at 150F induces medical attention requireing burns in 2 seconds, in 6 seconds at 140F and at 125 it takes 2 minutes (the sip that makes your throat burn like hell when it goes down that you need to drink something cold.)

So when I pour the coffee on my protein powder I wait a little for it to cool down so I don't get 3r degree burns. But I'd have to ask the poster exactly what he does. Because for me, pourring hot coffee would be way closer to 125F and not 190F. Maybe he pours then waits 15 minutes? Or maybe he's got a leathery man-mouth? Chuck Norris would be proud...

well, i guess this is where the bone is buried. "denature" is a blanket term and i would think some types of denaturation would be more or less damaging than others. the way i read it:

While I'll have to disagree that denature is a blanket term. People use it as a blanket but it is just loss of tertiary (3D) structure and potentially secondary structure (loss of non-peptidic links between amino acides). It's a loss of the higher structures.

However, it is true that some types of physical or chemical actions are harsher than others on protein.

But while pasteurization denatures proteins, it leaves its secondary, primary and the individual amino acids intacts. This in itself has largely no bearing on what its going to do after it its the stomach. Because the chemical denaturation process in the stomach is very harsh and then goes beyond denaturation since proteins are cleaved and primary structure is loss through enzymatic proteolysis.


Protein-Bound D-Amino Acids, and to a Lesser Extent Lysinoalanine, Decrease True Ileal Protein Digestibility in Minipigs as Determined with 15N-Labeling

Michael de Vrese3, Regine Frik, Nils Roos and Hans Hagemeister

Journal of Nutrition. 2000;130:2026-2031.

Federal Dairy Research Centre, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, D-24103 Kiel, Germany and Research Institute for the Biology of Farm Animals, Division of Nutritional Physiology, D-18059 Rostock, Germany

Original article of what is summarized below.

What is a concern to us however, is if the structure of amino acids themselves are damaged or changed, through racemization for example where L-alanine might become D-alanine. D-amino acides are less absorbable then L-amino acids to varying degrees.

For example, a few amino acides are racemization prone like (asparagine, serine, and glutamic acid /glutamine )with heat and alkanization (this will depend on the amount of heat and the high pH). These D-amino amino acids can be less absorbable/digestible than regular L-amino acids. But at temperature of 65C (150) and alkalization, and after 6 hours of incubation, only a few (15% of these damage prone aa)switched to D-isomers reducing the overall digestability of casein from its 93% digestability to 85% digestibility. (Beta-Lactoglobulin goes from 97 to 88 after 24 hours of incubation at 150F and a low pH of 10.5)

The conclusion of this is the following, if the poster leaves his coffee/ protein mix with a scoop of NaOH in it at 150F for six hours, he'll lose about 8% of digestibility.

I am not one who does this and I doubt that anyone does it either, this is why I doubt that this has any significant impact overall.

As for TC's "handled in the most careful way possible, shielded from light and heat and mechanical insult.."...

Well, there is some exaggeration in there, but that's why I like reading his articles.

As for your points on gelation of protein, I must say that what happens when very hot water is poured on the protein, there will be some gelation that occurs, but the gelled protein clumps forming a shell around intact protein making the amount of gelled protien rather limited. However, I have not looked into the actual effects of gelation on protein digestability. Anyway, the clumping that ensues will be broken through the mechanical action within the stomach, because if that weren't the case, you'd probably be seeing protein clumps in your feces just like you see peanuts when you didn't chew them. Since nothing above 0.5 mm diameters leaves the stomach during digestions. If the stomach has not been able to fragment the particles sufficiently or not at all like the peanuts, they will be cleared from the stomach a couple hours latter by Migrating Motor Complexes. Of course, you could argue that when you pour the hot liquid you can make particles that are just under 0.5mm (maybe be grinding around in the cup) that pass through the pyloric and then that the gel substance around it would render the protein clump unassailable by enzymes, which I honestly doubt.

As a compromise, the poster, to ensure that no amino acids are affected should let the coffee cool below the scalding point and then pour it on his protein say a bit below 125F and he should be fine and dandy.

I hope this clarifies my position.

So to each his own. Sugarfree, enjoy your steaming hot proteinated coffee and Swivel, you can always go with a Metabolic Drive frappuccino...

Anyway, you guys should be drinking green tea...



Oh guys, just to take the confusion away, I'm not an MD yet, gimme 2 years and a board exam and I'll accept the title.

And I am not a nutritionist either, but I am mastering in it.

Its always cool to exchange ideas with people who back up their claims.

Props to you Swivel.

It won't be the first time that 2 people come to 2 different conclusions while looking at the same set of data.

Stay healthy,