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Keto-Friendly Energy Drinks: The Complete Low-carb Options!

Latest updates by: Hassan Thwaini

DON’T grab that can of Red Bull Zero Sugar. You need to read this guide before picking your energy drink of choice or you risk kicking yourself out of ketosis!

So, you’ve asked yourself the question, “are energy drinks keto-friendly?” and have come to us for an answer.

Well, we won’t make you wait.

Yes. You can have energy drinks on the keto diet without knocking yourself out of ketosis, but you NEED TO KNOW HOW.

So why don’t you keep on reading this comprehensive review to find out just how you can have an energy drink on the keto diet.

Can You Drink Energy Drinks On A Keto Diet?

image of Can You Drink Energy Drinks On A Keto Diet

There’s no dying that the use of energy drinks is on the rise. More and more people are waking up earlier and working longer hours which warrants the need for some form of added caffeine, whether that is through coffee or through an energy drink.

So the question here is, can you really enjoy an energy drink on the keto diet? Well, we’re here to break down the answer for you.

When it comes to energy drinks, the first thing we need to look out for on the keto diet is carbs. Energy drinks are notoriously full of sugar, which is a big no-no for all of us on the keto diet.

What you can do to help prevent accidentally drinking a sugar-filled energy drink is to look out for the nutritional labels on all energy drinks to check if they are truly sugar-free.

Most of these sugar-free energy drinks such as Red Bull zero sugar and monster energy zero will be sweetened by alternative artificial sweeteners, which we will discuss in more detail below.

With all that being said, YES you can have energy drinks on the low carb, high fat keto diet. But there is still a hidden truth behind them which we will uncover.

The Energy Drink Ingredients That Give Us Energy

image of Energy Drink Ingredients

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the majority of commercialized energy drinks are not actually natural. Instead, they are composed of too much sugar and a variety of ingredients, some of which give us wonderful benefits, whilst others are rather detrimental to our health and we would want to avoid.

So, which ingredients in energy drinks are beneficial?

Caffeine

The first and foremost reason you have decided to opt for an energy drink – whether you are on the ketogenic diet or not – is because of the caffeine content. Caffeine is the first ingredient usually listed on an energy drink’s nutritional label.

Typical energy drinks contain anywhere between 50mg-500mg of caffeine per serving. To put things into perspective, one cup of black coffee typically contains around 80mg of caffeine.

So why do people have caffeine regularly?

Well, first of all, as confirmed by various studies, caffeine helps boost our cognitive ability. This means that we are more alert and productive throughout the day. (*)

Furthermore, a heightened brain function has also proved to be beneficial in boosting our mood and reducing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. (*)

Lastly, studies have confirmed that the regular intake of caffeine, around 240mg a day to be exact, reduced the risks of multiple brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (*)

As you can see, caffeine has a wonderful effect on the body. Energy drinks contain sufficient caffeine that helps us go through our day feeling more proactive and wanting to do more.

Taurine

Another commonly found ingredient in energy drinks, taurine is an amino acid that is naturally found in the body. The main difference between body-found taurine and that which is found in energy drinks is the fact that taurine in energy drinks is chemically manufactured.

Taurine helps by regulating energy levels, nerve growth, muscle repair, and even help lower blood pressure. Therefore taurine is beneficial for those suffering from various cardiac problems.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are widely found in a variety of food that we consume on a daily basis. B vitamins are also incorporated as various supplements due to their immense benefits.

B vitamins are very prevalent in energy drinks and a lot of food, helping us convert the food consumed into energy. Furthermore, B vitamins help our body to fight infection, maintain good brain function and help promote a healthy appetite.

L-Carnitine

This is a protein or amino acid that is produced in the kidneys and liver. This protein works by speeding up your metabolism to increase fat burn and help give us more energy.

As we said, there are a lot of ingredients that go into the formulation of energy drinks, whether they are suited for the ketogenic diet or not.

Keep in mind that we have said that the ingredients in energy drinks give us both health benefits and health defects. So now, we’re going to look over the dark truth behind some of the ingredients in energy drinks that are detrimental to our health – particularly how they replace sugar!

Artificial Sweeteners

You’ve heard about the stigma behind the use of these sweeteners regardless if you are on the low carb ketogenic diet or not. Sweeteners are widely used in an array of common sugar-free food and beverages found in stores.

Why?

Well, artificial sweeteners can be up to 100x sweeter than sugar. Furthermore, these sweeteners are typically zero carb and so may not alter your state of ketosis.

Although all of the above sounds fantastic, there is a dark, hidden truth behind these sugar-free, zero-calorie alternatives.

The most commonly found artificially produced sweeteners in zero-carb food and drinks are aspartame and acesulfame potassium. These sweeteners are 200 times sweeter than sugar, which is what makes us think foods supplemented with these sweeteners are ketogenic and will not kick us out of ketosis.

However, there have been studies proving the negatives behind these products.

  1. Some studies have shown that these sweeteners can increase your appetite, which in turn promotes weight gain. (*)
  2. A link has been shown between the use of these sweeteners and diabetes, with over. 20% increased chance if you alternate between these zero-calorie drinks and full-fat sodas. (*)
  3. Studies have suggested that those who actively choose to drink diet soda are at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome which is harmful to the body. (*)

Although there are still some evident benefits of the use of these as sugar-free alternatives such as heightened dental hygiene and leading to an ultimately decreased rate of obesity, drinking diet sodas and diet energy drinks is classified as ‘dirty keto.’

Dirty keto is a term used for ketogenic food and drinks that may not necessarily kick you out of ketosis but may lead you to develop health issues further down the line.

So yes, energy drinks are okay on the ketogenic diet, but they are not keto-friendly as such.

In order to find the best keto energy drink, we recommend that you either make your own at home using one of the methods we will discuss below or check out the nutritional label for the following keto-friendly sweeteners:

  • Monk fruit
  • Stevia
  • Yacon Syrup

The Best Keto-Friendly Energy Drink To Buy In Stores

Now, for the best part. Strap in, as we are going to show you all the ways you can incorporate various energy drinks into your ketogenic diet without altering your state of ketosis or affecting your health.

The majority of the energy drinks we are about to compare and discuss below contain some sort of sweetener, whether that may be artificial or not. However, these zero-carb energy drinks are some of the most popular in the markets, and we thought it is only necessary to include them in our comprehensive guide.

Firstly, let’s have a quick open discussion about two of the most popular energy drinks found in stores today, Rockstar zero, and Red bull zero sugar.

Rockstar Pure Zero

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One of the most popular energy drink providers on the planet, Rockstar, has created a zero-carb version of their popular fruit-flavored energy drinks.

So what’s so good about Rockstar energy drinks?

Well, let us tell you.

  • One can of Rockstar Zero contains 240mg of caffeine. That’s right, nearly 3 times as much as a cup of coffee!
  • These drinks contain no carbs, zero calories, and are extremely affordable.

The best part?

Rockstar loves the addition of fruit flavors to its drinks, and so you can be sure to find the right Rockstar Zero flavor just for you!

Now, Rockstar, unfortunately, does not use keto-friendly sweeteners such as Stevia and Monk Fruit, and instead, uses aspartame and acesulfame potassium. This means that Rockstar is not keto-friendly as it is in fact, dirty-keto.

Red Bull Zero Sugar

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These energy drinks need no fancy introductions. Red Bull Zero Sugar has taken the world by storm and is the number one selling energy drink around the globe.

Red Bull Zero Sugar, as specified in the name, is a sugar-free energy drink containing zero carbs and zero calories. Sounds pretty good right?

This carb-free energy drink uses aspartame and sucralose as opposed to standardized sugar as its main form of sweetener.

One 8.4 oz can of Red Bull Zero Sugar contains 80 mg of caffeine, which is not too high and not too little – perfect for those of you wanting that little extra push of energy.

If you wish to read more about the insights of this drink, why not check out our fully comprehensive Red Bull review.

Having said that this drink contains zero calories, carbs, or sugar, we must classify Red Bull as dirty-keto due to its use of non-keto-friendly sweeteners.

Reize Energy Drink

Reize may have quite possibly secured the perfect combination of ingredients to make a keto-friendly energy drink that fits perfectly into our ketogenic diet.

The Reize energy drink, in comparison to those that come in a can, comes as a 4g sachet. You simply mix the contents of the sachet with water and voila – you have a very convenient low-carb energy drink.

Reize is suitable for the keto diet because not only does it not contain any sugar, fat, or calories, but it only contains a very reasonable 50mg of caffeine in a single serving.

However, although this product is extremely convenient for us to use, it is sweetened using aspartame and acesulfame potassium, making it also, dirty-keto.

Nuun Caffeine Tablets

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When undergoing the keto diet, our body starts relying on fats for energy. When participating in events that require a higher energy output, we automatically turn to carbs.

This is where Nuun comes in. Nuun is one of the first companies to introduce sports hydration and energy recovery without the incorporation of carbohydrates.

Sounds good, right?

Nuun uses only natural ingredients which means that it is in fact more suitable for the keto diet than most. However, as a result of this, Nuun still uses a little amount of normal sugar to add a sweeter flavor to its product.

In a serving of Nuun, you can expect complete electrolyte replenishment at the cost of only 4 grams of net carbs. Although this is a higher carb count than the above products, having the carbs come from naturally sourced ingredients makes this product keto, simply because of the lack of complications that may arise if it were sweetened artificially.

Zevia

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As the name subtly hints, Zevia is a wonderful energy drink that is sweetened using a natural sweetener called Stevia. The best part? Zevia comes in an array of wonderful fruit flavors to make sure that your energy drink consumption doesn’t get boring!

Zevia is a wonderful alternative to nearly all diet sodas and sugar-free energy drinks out there simply because they have eliminated the use of artificial sweeteners in their products.

Zevia will not kick you out of ketosis because guess what? It contains 0g of carbs, 0 calories, 0 sugars…pretty much 0g of everything apart from caffeine and a wonderful natural flavor.

One can of Zevia has 45 mg of caffeine which is around half of that in a cup of coffee. We believe that this is a great amount of caffeine that is not too low as to not show any effect but not too high either, leaving us with trembling hands and unwarranted caffeine withdrawal.

Tea

Tea is derived from a plant. You simply add a portion of hot water to this dried, wonderful plant, and you get rewarded with a wonderful warming cup of tea.

Tea is a natural source of caffeine that comes with absolutely no carbs, sugars, fats, and any other unwanted macronutrients.

The best part? You can enjoy tea hot or cold – so you can apply this drink to any weather condition you are about to experience.

Black tea is made from older leaves which gives it its black color and unique flavor. Green tea on the other hand is made from fresher leaves.

Both types of tea are fantastic caffeine-rich drinks that are absolutely suitable for the keto diet. Additionally, tea comes full of wonderful natural anti-oxidant properties which help our body recover quicker.

Read: Net Carbs in Green Tea: Is Green Tea Keto-Friendly?

Coffee

Coffee doesn’t need quite as big an explanation as the rest of the energy drinks discussed in this comprehensive review. Coffee essentially holds the birthright to caffeine.

A cup of coffee is part of the normal routine for the majority of people around the world. Some people may even go as far as to say that they can’t function as well without at least one cup of coffee per day – so let’s see why this energy drink is one of the best for the keto diet, shall we?

Similar to tea, coffee can also be consumed either hot or cold. Black coffee contains absolutely no calories or carbs, and if no sugar is added, it can be a perfect addition to your ketogenic lifestyle.

The main thing to look out for when deciding to consume coffee is whether or not you should add milk. If you decide to add dairy milk, you may be susceptible to drinking too many carbs which may ick you out of ketosis.

You can try adding milk tailored best for the keto diet such as almond milk that contains a minimal amount of carbs.

Read: Is Coffee Keto Friendly? The Ultimate Guide To Low-Carb Keto Coffee!

Conclusion

Trying to find alternative means to boost our energy whilst partaking in the keto diet is quite hard, especially considering that the majority of consumed energy – whether that may be from food or drinks – are usually from non-ketogenic carbs.

Luckily, various popular energy drink companies have caught on to the keto diet trend and have begun manufacturing great-tasting no-sugar energy drinks to satisfy our needs.

However, the majority of store-bought energy drinks contain a lot of artificial sweeteners which means that we may be predisposed to some health complications if we continue to consume these products for a long period of time.

The best keto-friendly energy drink is therefore one that does not contain such sweeteners but instead is completely natural, such as tea, coffee, or a product like Zevia.

The key takeaway here is to always read the nutritional label before you purchase an energy drink, and make sure to have no more than one can per day. One can per day may keep the doctor away as everything is beneficial if taken in moderation.

image of Top Energy Drinks Low Carb Keto Friendly

Up Next: Top 12 Keto-Friendly Drinks Besides Water: The Complete Low-Carb Options

 

 


Hassan Thwaini

Hassan Thwaini is a qualified pharmacist and hospital specialist at the University of Sunderland. His main focus is to help people utilize their environment and develop a Keto-based diet to help give everybody a healthy lifestyle.


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