Just because you’re diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional energy drink. So long as it’s sugar-free, low in calories, and doesn’t exceed the daily recommended caffeine limit, you can indulge in an energizing beverage without compromising your blood sugar levels.

Our aim is to empower you with the knowledge to enjoy energy drinks safely and responsibly, while effectively managing your diabetes.

As always, drink energy drinks with care and keep an eye on your blood glucose when you’re not used to them or drinking them for the first time.

I regularly receive questions about this topic from my blog readers. After a bit of research, I decided to write an article covering all the important aspects of consuming energy drinks as a diabetic. 

To be honest, I’m not one to drink energy drinks. I'm sensitive to caffeine, and I don’t particularly enjoy their taste. 

So, to write this in depth review, I asked a few of my friends with diabetes to test sugar-free energy drinks. I carefully reviewed the drinks’ ingredients so I can say for certain they’re safe to consume in moderation.

Are Sugar-free Energy Drinks Safe for Diabetics?

In moderation, sugar-free energy drinks are safe for diabetics. 

However, it’s important to note that most sugar-free drinks still contain artificial sweeteners, which aren’t always the best option for people with diabetes.  

For example, regular energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster Energy contain sugar in the form of high fructose, corn syrup, or sucrose. These sugars are terrible for your body because they cause blood sugar spikes, leading to many health problems related to diabetes. 

So, when you’re looking to drink an energy drink, pay attention to the ingredients. Avoid energy drinks with hidden sugars like: 

  • Corn sweetener 
  • Corn syrup 
  • Dextrose 
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Crystalline fructose 
  • Cane crystals
  • Fruit juice concentrates

Which Energy Drink Is Best for Diabetics?

There are many reasons why regular energy drinks may not be right for you, but the main one is the high sugar content. As such, sugar-free energy drinks are a great option for diabetics.

The energy drink that got favored by my friends is one from Red Bull that contains 0% sugar. They also found Monster Energy drink and C4 Smart Energy very enjoyable.

These drinks helped them immensely because they needed an energy boost to get through the day when their energy levels were low. 

The downside is that you should only consume them in moderation. 400mg of caffeine per day is the maximum, according to the FDA guideline.

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Red Bull Energy Drink Sugar-Free 24 Pack

The best thing to happen to energy drinks is Red Bull. With no sugar, Red Bull Sugar-Free is a nutrition all-star. 

It has active ingredients like caffeine and taurine that stimulate the central nervous system for an explosive high or low dose of blissful buzz. Plus, it only contains 5 calories per can, which keeps things needlessly complicated.

Red Bull sugar-free has taken wings to new heights with an ultra-low calorie energy drink now hooked uptight and ready for you.  

Monster Energy Zero Ultra Sugar-Free Energy Drink

With Zero Ultra, you can enjoy the full-flavor Monster taste minus all the calories and sugar and a refreshing, citrusy flavor. 

Get through your work day with ease without worrying about feeling sluggish or bloated from consuming sugary drinks. You'll be energized for any task and refreshed after a long work day. 

It's not just great for surviving in the office world. It's perfect for any occasion, whether you're at home watching TV or exploring the outdoors.

Monster Energy Zero Ultra contains zero sugar and only 5 calories per 10.5-ounce can. It has 100 mg of caffeine, which is just enough to give you the cognitive boost you need without causing jitteriness.

C4 Smart Energy Drink - Sugar-Free with No Artificial Colors

Armed with whatever you're called to do with the help of C4, the C4 Smart Energy Drink is made for people looking to level up wherever they are and achieve their personal best. It contains 150 mg of Innova tea-derived caffeine, giving you a sustained boost in energy and alertness.

It's a perfect beverage for coffee lovers as well, thanks to its rich and invigorating taste profile. And don't let the Sugar-Free thing fool you; according to my friends, it tastes surprisingly good even without the added sweetness. 

In place of sugar, this energy drink contains stevia leaf extract, which is clinically proven safe for people with diabetes. It not only has antioxidant and antidiabetic properties but is also linked to increased insulin sensitivity, which can help manage type 2 diabetes.

To add to that, it doesn’t have artificial colors or dye.

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Bang Miami Cola Energy Drink with 0 Calories and Sugar-Free with Super Creatine

Bang Miami Cola Energy Drink is one of the better zero carbohydrates, a non-sugary soft drink that delivers safe, great-tasting sustained energy. 

It's hard to believe this innovative product has everything you’re looking for in an ultimate pre-, during, or post-workout supplement, but it does!

Packed with key ingredients such as essential amino acids (EAAs) for muscle support and repair and a combination of electrolytes and vitamins for post-workout recovery, this beverage is a comprehensive solution to fuel your fitness journey. 

A 16 oz can contain 300 mg of caffeine, which is well within the 400 mg limit per day. Just make sure you don’t drink more than one can, as excessive caffeine intake may lead to adverse effects such as elevated blood sugar levels and heightened sensitivity to insulin.

Jocko GO Sugar-Free Energy Drink

This keto-friendly drink has zero sugar and 95 mg of caffeine, so you can push yourself for hours knowing that the Discipline GO keeps your mental fire stoked.

In addition to its caffeine content, this product also includes specific nootropics—substances that support better brain function by increasing alertness or mental function. 

One such ingredient is Huperzine A, a natural extract from moss. It blocks receptors in the brainstem involved in mediating nicotine cravings to keep you focused on your goal.

Rockstar Energy Drink with No Sugar

The Rockstar Energy Drink gives you high-octane, sugar-free energy to help keep your game strong. It's perfect for the busy bee on the go and at a better price than other drinks without sugar. It has a decent amount of caffeine, at 160 mg per 16-ounce can. 

This energy drink is formulated with guarana and taurine, which are known for their stimulating properties and benefits for mental alertness and physical performance. 

Guarana, a natural source of caffeine, offers a gradual and sustained release of energy, while taurine, an amino acid, enhances cognitive function.

It also contains several B vitamins, including B6 and B12. B2 aids in cognitive function, while B12 supports red blood cell formation and energy levels. 

G Fuel Pewdiepie Lingonberry Elite Energy Powder with Zero Sugar

Inspired by YouTuber PewDiePie; The G Fuel Lingonberry is one of the better-tasting zero-sugar energy powders on the market. This powder gives you hours of clean focus without crashing and only has 15 calories per serving.

The B vitamins will give you steady, consistent energy to better handle any day that life decides to throw at you. The PewDiePie variant has a pomegranate flavor, but if that doesn’t suit your taste, the powder also comes in blueberry, raspberry, and peach.  

Is Taurine Bad for Diabetics?

Taurine and glucuronolactone (precursor of taurine) are common ingredients of energy drinks. 

Taurine plays a role in metabolism, but we’ve yet to understand how it fully works. What we do know is that it stimulates the absorption of fats from food. It’s obtained naturally through the daily diet, averaging around 58 mg, but can vary depending on individual dietary habits.

There are some indications that taurine has a beneficial effect on diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. This has been shown particularly in studies with rats and never insufficiently large clinical studies [1-2]. 

In conclusion, there is currently no evidence that regularly drinking light versions of energy drinks containing taurine and caffeine is unfavorable for people with diabetes mellitus.

Do Sugar-free Energy Drinks Spike Blood Sugar Levels?

It depends. Sugar-free energy drinks without artificial sweeteners usually won't raise your blood sugar levels, but they could still impact your blood sugar levels in other ways, like increasing insulin sensitivity or affecting overall glucose metabolism. 

To avoid an energy drink-induced blood sugar spike, be sure to read your labels carefully and consume in moderation as you would any other food or beverage containing sugar, caffeine, or artificial sugars.

People with diabetes should know that energy drinks can affect their glucose levels due to the high levels of caffeine and sugar found in many energy drink formulations. 

And while some natural sugars present in energy drinks might not raise blood glucose levels, there are still plenty of other sugars out there, leading to spikes if you have diabetes. Alternative sugars to avoid include high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and maltose.

Can a Diabetic Drink Regular Red Bull or Monster Energy?

No, energy drinks with sugar content—like regular Red Bull and Monster Energy—will raise blood sugar levels. 

Sugar-free energy drinks without or with artificial sweeteners are safe to consume for diabetics. So if you choose the sugar-free versions of Red Bull or Monster Energy, you’re fine. 

Nonetheless, any energy drink without artificial sweeteners is the better choice.

Always test your blood sugar levels once after you consume a sugar-free energy drink to make sure it doesn't negatively affect your blood sugar level. 

How Much Caffeine Is Safe for Diabetes?

Consuming caffeine isn’t a problem for people with diabetes as long as it’s consumed in moderation. The FDA created a guideline that an average adult shouldn’t exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine daily.

Since I am very sensitive to caffeine, I always test how much my body can take first. 

I start with lower intakes of caffeinated drinks like coffee, Cola Zero, and green tea and gauge my body’s response. If I don’t experience adverse effects, I’ll gradually increase the amount at my discretion. 

I recommend you do the same. Test where your limit is and make sure you don't feel any negative side effects from your caffeine consumption.

When consuming energy drinks with caffeine, make sure you check your blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter every day. 

Energy drinks might cause a spike in blood sugar levels if the energy drink contains sugar. 

If your energy drink doesn't contain sugar but still makes you feel bad and causes high blood sugar levels or high blood pressure, stop drinking energy drinks altogether.

What Other Drinks Can Diabetics Consume?

Diabetics can drink sugar-free diet drinks, sugar-free sodas, coffee, tea, sugar-free hot cocoa, coconut milk, coconut water, and more. But above all, the best drink is plain water.

You can always add mint, lime, cucumber, or aloe vera pulp to your water during summer to give it more taste. 

Making a homemade iced tea is an excellent substitute for your regular drinking water.

Avoid drinking sparkling water, alcoholic beverages, and drinks with high sugar and caffeine content.

If you have a low blood sugar level, you can drink drinks with sugar content or glucose packets to regulate your blood sugar.

How to Make a Homemade Energy Drink for Diabetics

At its core, an energy drink is a beverage specifically designed to provide a boost of energy. It contains ingredients that stimulate alertness and combat fatigue. 

While commercial energy drinks often incorporate caffeine, sugar, and other additives, homemade energy drinks can be made with natural ingredients that offer a refreshing and invigorating experience. 

Here are some examples of instant energy drinks for diabetic patients: 

  • Ginger and Cardamom: Cut 2 thin slices of peeled ginger and juice ½ inch of fresh ginger root into a glass of water. Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp ground cardamom and stevia for taste. 
  • Coconut Water and Lemon: Mix fresh coconut water with a squeeze of lemon juice. 
  • Banana and Greens Smoothie: Blend one ripe banana, a handful of fresh greens (such as spinach or kale), a splash of coconut water, and a few ice cubes in a blender. Add water till you reach the desired thickness. 

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you learn about energy drinks for diabetics. 

It’s essential to be aware of what energy drink may work best with your body and lifestyle, as some can have dangerous side effects on a diabetic's health. 

Be sure to do your research before making any purchases or consuming energy drinks to know they are safe!

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Sources

To ensure that we give you correct, accurate, and relevant information, all articles on Diabetic & Me are backed by verified information from academic research papers, well-known organizations, research institutions, and medical associations.

  1. Pubmed.gov [1] Franconi F, Loizzo A, Ghirlanda G, Seghieri G. Taurine supplementation and diabetes mellitus. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Jan;9(1):32-6.
  2. Pubmed.gov [2] Franconi F, Di Leo MA, Bennardini F, Ghirlanda G. Is taurine beneficial in reducing risk factors for diabetes mellitus? Neurochem Res. 2004 Jan;29(1):143-50.
  3. FDA How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
  4. Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323376#:~:text=The%20researchers%20concluded%20that%20stevia,to%20lower%20blood%20sugar%20levels.

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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