Best energy drink for diabetics (let’s not sugar coat it)

white one touch device with a 6.7 reading

“No sugar! No sweet desserts! No soft drink! No energy drinks!”

Those might be some familiar phrases if you’re diabetic. Cutting out sugar 100% seems to be the best move too.

If you’re diabetic, your first thoughts might be to stop drinking energy drinks, as sugar and caffeine are the biggest ingredients found in many energy drinks.

But wait! I’m not sugar-coating this, but you can still definitely have your favorite energy drinks in some cases. 

Disclaimer: you need to be aware of your diabetes condition and what food regulations your doctor might have for you. So, always check with a health professional for the final word before making changes to your diet.

Can diabetics consume caffeine?

Caffeine affects every individual differently, so depending on your diabetic condition, you may or may not be able to consume caffeine. 

Diabetics that consume caffeine need to keep an eye on their blood sugar levels.

Healthy adults can consume a recommended maximum daily caffeine intake of up to 400mg. That’s guidance directly from the FDA. However, if you’re diabetic, consume caffeine at lower dosages first and monitor your reaction with each successive dosage increase.

Studies have shown that consuming caffeine in coffee can also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Other research, however has shown that caffeine causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Body mass, age, medications and health condition are all factors that play a role in your blood sugar levels reacting in different ways to caffeine.

I would also like to add, whether you are diabetic or not, if you find yourself reacting negatively to caffeine, then by all means, reduce your intake or cut it out completely.

You can refer to my previous posts, where I wrote about caffeine overdose and caffeine addiction, if you need more information on those topics.

Some sugar in a jar, with two empty jars and a wooden spoon nearby
Sugar is unhealthy, regardless of whether you’re diabetic or not. 

Can diabetics consume sugar?

Yes diabetics can consume sugar, if they closely monitor their sugar intake.

The recommended maximum daily sugar intake for normal, healthy men is 50g and women is 25g. Of course, diabetics will usually have their own, stricter limitations than these.

It’s wise to not exceed your sugar intake guidelines as it can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels, which is potentially very dangerous if you’re a diabetic. 

While you’re monitoring your sugar intake from beverages, don’t forget that “normal” food items, like rice, bread and biscuits contain varying amounts of sugar too.

Do “sugar-free” products increase blood sugar levels?

If the context of sugar-free here means no sugar or artificial sweeteners present in drinks, then, sugar-free drinks do not increase blood sugar levels. 

However, “sugar-free” doesn’t necessarily mean carbohydrate-free or calorie-free, especially if artificial sweeteners are present. Therefore, sugar-free food or beverages aren’t necessarily good for diabetics.

Some artificial sweeteners have carbohydrates or calories and they will likely cause a spike your blood sugar level.

Do artificial sweeteners raise your blood sugar level?

No, artificial sweeteners actually helps to regulate your blood sugar level.

There are two types of artificial sweeteners; nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners.

The non-nutritive ones are suitable for diabetics, as they have zero calories and won’t increase your blood sugar levels.

Do artificial sweeteners increase insulin levels?

Not directly. Insulin and blood sugar levels work together. However, regular intake of artificial sweeteners can affect your insulin levels to a certain degree.

This occurs when our gut bacteria is unbalanced. Our cells will be resistant to the insulin we produce, thus leading to an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels simultaneously.

Therefore, it is advisable to always consume artificial sweeteners in moderation.

What energy drinks can a diabetic drink?

To make it short and sweet, diabetics can consume caffeine and sugar, in a controlled amount, which allows you to consume many different kinds of energy drinks.

Hurrah!

With that said, I would advise you to be on a look out for energy drinks that are strictly zero-sugar, low in calories and with a moderate amount of caffeine. 

I personally think you might want to limit your energy drinks intake to possibly only a serving every other day. It is also important to consult your doctor about whether if it is advisable for you to consume energy drinks.

I’ve previously written about drinking energy drinks every single day, but that article isn’t written specifically for diabetics. If you have diabetes you should add an extra layer of caution over what a person without diabetes would need to consider.

two pictures of Red Bull energy drink with the one on the right showing the nutritional contents of Red Bull
Diabetics should NOT consume the original Red Bull due to its high sugar content and calories. But, did you know…Red Bull was once banned

Can a diabetic drink Red Bull?

Yes, a diabetic can drink Red Bull – but they should be the sugar-free or Total Zero versions as opposed to the original version.

The original Red Bull has a whopping 27g of sugar and 110 calories.

Even if you aren’t diabetic it’s probably prudent to avoid drinking that. If you do consume it, make sure to put in extra hours at the gym to burn off those extra calories and maintain an otherwise healthy and balanced diet.

Are zero sugar energy drinks bad for diabetics?

No sugar-free energy drinks are not bad for diabetics. Diabetics can consume zero sugar energy drinks in moderation and with caution.

Zero sugar energy drinks are also more effective at giving you the extra energy that you need without having to worry about a nasty sugar crash afterwards.

What other drinks can diabetics consume?

Water. The best and healthiest drink of all, whether you’re diabetic or not. Water is vital for proper hydration. 

Also, there is a possibility that you may mistakenly take your thirst for hunger or sweet cravings. Don’t immediately reach out for a chocolate bar or a box of juice.

Try to drink a glass of water first and then monitor your body’s reaction of the following 15 minutes before binging on some food or other drink. You’ll often find that after 15 minutes you’re not hungry and a glass of water was all you needed.

Now, if you’re like me and don’t really like the idea of plain water, fret not! Choose to infuse your water with berries, cucumbers, mint sprigs or squeeze in pure lemon or lime juice.

Also, another study has proven that adding aloe vera pulp to water is beneficial for diabetics. 

Despite containing carbohydrates, milk is healthy and safe for diabetics. But, remember to choose the unsweetened, low-fat, or skim versions of your preferred milk.

Caffeine is safe for consumption by diabetics, and therefore, so is coffee and tea.

However, it’s probably best to have your tea or coffee without any additional sweeteners or creamers.

an assortment of energy drinks grouped together
Energy drinks are often loaded in sugar and caffeine. So, if you’re diabetic, take the time to read the ingredients to choose the best one for you – there are plenty of great sugar-free options out there too. 

Best energy drink for diabetics

Ultimately, you should choose an energy drink that has zero sugar, is low in calories that has a sensible amount of caffeine.

I’ve gathered a few top energy drinks to recommend you, but remember to exercise caution and read the ingredients list thoroughly before you choose to add any of these to your diet if you’re diabetic.

Ready-to-drink energy drinks for diabetics

XS Energy Drink

Sugar – zero, good

Caffeine – 80mg, moderate 

Calories – 10 per serving, good 

I’m on the fence with XS Energy Drink just because of its high price point, with shipping, a single 8.4 fl.oz can costs around $3-$4.

Yikes!

However, I can’t deny that it’s a suitable choice for diabetics. Also, it comes in 18 different flavors for you to choose from, with 2 caffeine-free options if you decide you prefer that.

Also, there are occasionally cheaper deals to be found, so it’s worth checking the prices from time to time anyway.

Check the current price on Amazon.

Xyience Energy Drink 

Sugar – zero, how I like it 

Caffeine – 176mg, now that’s quite high so please ensure you have a good caffeine tolerance if you decide to go for this energy drink

Calories – zero, a thumbs up from me 

Although the zero sugar and calories seems like a good deal, the price point is just too expensive, in my opinion. $4.25 for a can of 16 fl. oz?

No thank you.

Powder energy drink options for diabetics

Powdered energy drinks are a great option to check out too.

Not only are they usually more affordable than most ready-to-drink energy drinks, they are a lot more convenient to take with you anywhere you want and they are also versatile with regard to what you can mix them with.

Check the latest price on Amazon.

Advocare Spark Energy Drink

Sugar – zero, of course

Caffeine – 120mg, a bit higher than what I prefer, but not silly 

Calories – 15 per serving, you might need to think twice about this, especially if you’re diabetic 

One sachet of Advocare Spark Energy Drink should be mixed with 8 fl.oz of water. Each serving costs around $2.50 with shipping.

I guess you can try this if you need a little bit more caffeine than XS Energy Drink, but I’m not a huge fan of the price compared to the next option I’m about to mention. It also has a few extra calories.

Check the latest price on Amazon.

REIZE Energy Drink

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE offers monthly deliveries and one-time purchases to suit your preferences. 

Sugar – zero, fantastic 

Caffeine – 50mg, perfect 

Calories – 11 per serving, nice

Wow, I think we have a winner! I personally love the lower caffeine amount, 50mg of caffeine is a sensible amount that will still provide a nice energy boost without blowing your head off.

Most diabetics probably want to avoid having a really strong energy drink, so this is a good option to get a little extra energy.

The combination of caffeine, taurine, ginseng and B group vitamins all work together to provide a perfect energy boost, with no crash.

Did I mention my favorite part of REIZE Energy Drink? It’s super affordable – only around $1 per drink, including delivery directly to your door – that’s amazing value, especially compared to the other options listed above. 

Need I say more? What else is better value for money or better for diabetics than REIZE Energy Drink?

Too good to be true? Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean!

Remember to discuss this idea with your doctor before making any dietary changes if you’re a diabetic.

Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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