You might be surprised to learn that energy drinks are not always a great choice for people who have diabetes. There are many reasons why energy drinks may not be suitable for you, but the main one is sugar content and the amount of caffeine. On the other hand, you should choose energy drinks without sugar if you like energy drinks.
In this Diabetic & Me article, you will learn about:
- Is caffeine safe for a diabetic?
- Can a diabetic drink Red Bull or Monster?
- Do energy drinks spike blood sugar levels?
- What are other drinks a diabetic can consume?
I received questions about this topic from my blog readers and therefore decided to write an article. I never drink energy drinks as I'm too sensitive to caffeine, and to be honest, I don't like them at all.
To cover this blog post, I asked a few of my friends with diabetes to test sugar-free energy drinks.
I will list some of their favorite energy drinks for diabetics and review what makes them a better option for you when you drink energy drinks. Always drink energy drinks with care and keep an eye on your blood glucose when you are not used to them or drinking them for the first time.
How Much Caffeine Is Safe for Diabetes?
It's only natural that life is hard, and we need all the help we can get. Our bodies are always running on fuel, which sometimes gets depleted faster than it should. And when that happens, hormones like norepinephrine have a negative effect on the brain by depleting energy levels. We need to feel superhuman from time to time to achieve our goals. That requires enough energy to think outside of one's comfort zone and use multiple cognitive processing centers simultaneously.
Consuming caffeine is not a problem for people with diabetes as long as it is consumed in moderation. The FDA created a guideline that an average adult should not exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Since I am very sensitive to caffeine, I always test first how much my body can take. Start with lower intakes of a caffeinated drink like coffee, Cola Zero, green tea, or others. I recommend you also test where your limit is and make sure you don't feel any negative sides from your caffeine consumption.
Test your blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter every day when consuming energy drinks with caffeine. 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 levers or high blood pressure, stop drinking energy drinks altogether.
Consuming energy drinks with sugar will lead to blood sugar spikes, but energy drinks without added sugars are a better option.
Are Sugar-free Energy Drinks Safe for Diabetics?
Canadian researchers have found that sugar-free, energy drink shots can lead to an increase in glucose and insulin levels amongst teens.
Therefore, this question is difficult to answer because energy drinks provide energy, and a sugar-free energy drink might contain other ingredients that could be harmful to those with diabetes. When you drink energy drinks in moderation, they have been found safe enough by the FDA approval process to not list them as unsafe for consumption on the market.
Most sugar-free drinks still contain artificial sweeteners that are not always the best option for people with diabetes. They don't cause direct blood sugar spikes but might be harmful to your body. The issue is that most sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners, which are not always that healthy.
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 will cause blood sugar spikes, leading to many health problems related to diabetes. The best option is a sugar-free energy drink if you want to drink one.
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. Therefore sugar-free energy drinks are a great option for diabetics.
The energy drink that got favored by my friends is the one from Red Bull that contains 0% sugar. Down the line, they found Monster Energy drink and C4 Smart Energy very enjoyable.
It also helped them immensely because they needed an energy boost to get through the day when their energy levels were low. The downside of these energy drinks is that you should only consume them in moderation. 400mg of caffeine per day is the maximum, according to the FDA guideline.
Red Bull Energy Drink Sugar-Free 24 Pack
The best thing to happen to energy drinks since Red Bull. With no sugar, Red Bull Sugar-Free is a nutrition all-star. Active ingredients like caffeine and taurine stimulate the central nervous system for an explosive high or low dose of blissful buzz. At the same time, only 5 tasty calories per can keep 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. Red Bull is sugar-free, without the crashes and sweats of regular Red Bull. Drink responsibly...enjoy life!
Monster Energy Zero Ultra Sugar-Free Energy Drink
Your miracle drink has arrived! 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!
C4 Smart Energy Drink - Sugar-Free with No Artificial Colors
Armed for whatever you're called to do with the help of C4, an energy drink made for people looking to level up wherever they are and achieve their personal best. With 150mg of Innova tea-derived caffeine that provides stamina and alertness anytime.
It's a perfect beverage for coffee lovers as well. And don't let the Sugar-Free thing fool you! It tastes SO GOOD. Zero sugar or calories in every serving thanks to stevia leaf extract (which has been clinically studied).
Add no artificial colors or dye (hence popular new flavors like Icy Blue Razz, Black Cherry & Cotton Candy) for an unrivaled taste refreshment experience!
Bang Miami Cola Energy Drink with 0 Calories and Sugar-Free with Super Creatine
Tired of boring 8-hour energy drinks with 20 teaspoons of sugar per can? Bang Miami Cola Energy Drink is one of the better zero carbohydrates, a non-sugary soft drink that delivers a safe, great-tasting sustained energy. It's hard to believe this innovative product has everything you are looking for in an ultimate pre, during, or post-workout supplement, but it does!
Jocko GO Sugar-Free Energy Drink
Breakthrough your cognitive limits with discipline GO. Your exercise session, workday, and daily life may seem impossible to accomplish without the necessary energy and focus on getting it done. This keto-friendly drink has zero sugar and 95mg of caffeine, so you can push yourself for hours knowing that the Discipline GO keeps your mental fire stoked.
Beyond its caffeine content, this product also includes specific nootropics. Substances that support better brain function by increasing alertness or mental function, like Huperzine A (a natural extract from moss), block receptors in the brainstem involved in mediating nicotine cravings to keep you focused on your goal.
Rockstar Energy Drink with No Sugar
Rockstar Energy Drink with no sugar 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.
The liquid intensity helps you power up and get your mind and body going, so you don't let anything bring you down.
G Fuel Pewdiepie Lingonberry Elite Energy Powder with Zero Sugar
Inspired by YouTuber PewDiePie; The G Fuel Lingonberry is one of the best 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. Even though it's a pomegranate flavor, the brand didn't want any spillage, so this packet opens like a zipper, so there isn't any mess!
If you're looking for an energetic boost, then try this delicious G Fuel Energy Powder today!
Is Taurine Bad for Diabetics?
The substances taurine and glucuronolactone (precursor of taurine) are common ingredients of energy drinks. Taurine plays a role in metabolism, but how it works is not yet fully understood. It is clear that it stimulates the absorption of fats from food.
Taurine is also obtained with the daily diet, about 58 mg. It can vary from 17 mg to 1000 mg. 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 version 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 these energy drinks could impact your blood sugar levels. To avoid an energy drink-induced blood sugar spike, be sure to read your labels carefully and consume them in moderation, as you would treat 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 level 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.
Can a Diabetic Drink Regular Red Bull or Monster Energy?
The answer is no, energy drinks with sugar content 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 are fine. Nonetheless, any energy drink without artificial sweeteners are the better choice.
Always test your blood sugar levels once after you consume a sugar-free energy drink to make sure it doesn't affect your blood sugar level negatively. It's important you reduce your sugar intake to avoid high blood sugar levels.
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 and stick to flat 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 to regulate your blood sugar or glucose packets.
We hope this article has helped you learn about energy drinks for diabetics. It is 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!
Last update on 2023-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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.
- Goldberg Finnegan Canadian research on sugar-free energy drinks and diabetes
- Pubmed.gov  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.
- Pubmed.gov  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.
- FDA How Much Caffeine is Too Much?