The benefits of energy drinks sound really good but this also raises the question:
Will drinking energy drinks make you fat?
Quick answer: Energy drinks that have sugar certainly do cause weight gain if you drink too many of them. The amount of sugar present in energy drinks is the main culprit of extra belly fat. This is why it’s vital to consume energy drinks in moderation to stay healthy.
For a more detailed discussion, read on to learn more about energy drinks and weight gain, from the ingredients in energy drinks that can lead to weight gain to a list of healthier recommendations to help with weight control.
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
Ingredients In An Energy Drink
There are many ingredients that contribute to the making of an energy drink.
The main ingredient that’s consistent in all energy drinks is caffeine. Some energy drinks use artificial sweeteners instead of sugars, while other brands include herbal extracts and electrolytes.
Here are some ingredients you’ll commonly find in almost all energy drinks:
Energy drinks contain between as low as 50mg to 300mg or more of caffeine depending on the brand. Although small doses of caffeine are beneficial, you should be careful not to consume caffeine in excess.
- Muscle breakdown
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
Can Caffeine Cause You To Gain Weight?
Caffeine won’t cause you to gain weight as long as you consume it in moderation.
According to a 2017 study, caffeine stimulates the breakdown of fat in your body, which makes it easier for you to burn off calories and lose weight.
However, having too much caffeine will have the opposite effect instead. Depending on your caffeine metabolism, the intake of large quantities of caffeine can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which activates the release of insulin in your body.
If you continue to consume excessive doses of caffeine, your body will become insulin resistant over time, which creates a state of high blood sugar.
The frequent changes in blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in a short amount of time will lead to an increase in abdominal fat.
Therefore I must stress that it’s really important to always drink caffeinated beverages including energy drinks in moderation.
Caffeine is most effective when you’re not overwhelmed by its side effects, so it’s important that you consume caffeine in accordance with your tolerance.
Another common ingredient in many energy drinks is sugar.
Sugar can provide you with a brief energy boost while increasing your dopamine levels, which sounds great. However, this burst of energy is not long-lasting and often results in a sugar crash, not to mention that sugary energy drinks usually contain a large number of calories.
While it’s perfectly okay to indulge in some sugary goodness once in a while, it’ll backfire if you consume it in excess. For reference, here’s a guide of the recommended maximum daily sugar intake guideline from the AHA:
If you regularly consume a lot of sugar, you may end up with health problems like:
- Tooth decay
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Some energy drink brands incorporate artificial sweeteners like Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium to give their drinks a sweet and satisfying taste without the extra calories and carbs.
Although artificial sweeteners appear to be healthier than regular sugar, there’s still a lot we don’t know about these sweeteners and their long-term effects on our bodies.
Thus, you should consume food and drink products with artificial sweeteners in moderation.
Does Sugar Make You Gain Belly Fat?
A high intake of sugar does make you gain belly fat. There are many studies confirming that sugar is the main cause of fat buildup.
The worst part is that sugar is found in many of our regular food products like baked goods, canned food and, beverages. Sugar (or glucose) also forms when carbohydrates are ingested and broken down by the body.
The same is true of alcohol.
Many energy drinks contain a high sugar content, which isn’t beneficial for you in the long term. They contribute a lot of calories and carbs which will eventually lead to weight gain and other health issues if consumed regularly.
You can change your diet and lifestyle by switching to sugar-free energy drinks, but the best way to reduce belly fat is to have a balanced diet and workout regularly.
For more info on how sugar can make you fat, check out this video:
Amino acids like taurine and BCAAs are also often found in some energy drinks, especially energy drinks that are designed to be pre-workouts. These amino acids are believed to enhance exercise performance.
A 2013 study found that the physical performance of middle-distance runners improved after the ingestion of taurine.
B complex vitamins are also included in almost all energy drinks to increase the nutritional value of the energy drink and contribute to your wellbeing and performance. You’ll generally find vitamins B3, B6 and, B12 in most energy drinks.
If you want to know more about B vitamins, the Harvard website has an entire page dedicated to the functions and benefits of each B complex vitamin that you can check out.
Do Zero-Calorie Energy Drinks Make You Fat?
Zero-calorie energy drinks won’t make you fat in the short term. However, if you constantly consume these drinks without eating healthily or exercising, you might gain weight in the long term.
Zero-calorie energy drinks are claimed to be healthier than their sugary counterparts as zero-calorie energy drinks substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners have fewer calories and won’t raise your blood sugar levels, making them safe for diabetics. However, the long-term implications of artificial sweeteners on our health still remain somewhat unknown.
Here’s an interesting discovery related to artificial sweeteners and weight gain. A 2016 study found that consuming food and drinks products with artificial sweeteners regularly might lead to a higher intake of calories. The reason for this is because the constant sweetness in your diet may increase your motivation to eat more.
Of course, this refers to a diet consisting of artificial sweeteners over a prolonged period.
The best way to enjoy zero-calorie energy drinks without worrying about gaining weight is to combine them with a healthy lifestyle. Drinking zero-calorie energy drinks occasionally won’t contribute to weight gain.
Do Energy Drinks Make You Gain Weight?
Energy drinks that contain high amounts of sugar and calories can make you gain weight, which is why you should always consume them in moderation.
A lot of energy drinks out there contain plenty of calories, which primarily comes from their sugar content. If you don’t control your consumption of these beverages, you may end up gaining a lot of weight.
Another way you can avoid weight gain temporarily while still enjoying energy drinks is to go for sugar-free energy drinks. Sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners instead of sugar which means fewer calories.
That said, sugar-free energy drinks must still be consumed in moderation.
Does Red Bull Make You Fat?
Having the occasional Red Bull as part of a healthy and balanced diet won’t make you fat. However, like all sugary drinks, drinking too much Red Bull without doing enough physical activity to burn off the calories may eventually lead to weight gain.
An 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull contains 110 calories, 80mg of caffeine and 27g of sugar. Considering that Red Bull has quite a high amount of sugar, it’s not surprising that regular excessive consumption of Red Bull might make you fat.
To prevent weight gain, you should limit your intake of Red Bull to only one can per day.
I also recommend that you space out your consumption of Red Bull, three or four cans per week. Or, you could opt for the sugar-free version of Red Bull, which has the same ingredients and taste as the original Red Bull sans the sugar.
What Are The Best Drinks For Weight Loss?
Water is the best beverage for your health and wellbeing. On top of being calorie-free, water also enables all of your bodily functions, from maintaining electrolyte balance to helping to transport waste products out of your kidneys.
Green tea contains caffeine and catechin, which is an antioxidant.
Apparently, there are a few studies that found that the combination of caffeine and catechin increases fat breakdown and improves weight maintenance. Aside from weight control, green tea has other benefits like reducing cholesterol and enhancing heart health.
Vegetables generally have high levels of nutrients that our bodies need. In juice form, it’s much easier for our bodies to absorb these nutrients. Plus, the digestive system takes quite some time to digest vegetables, so you might feel full for a longer time after drinking vegetable juice.
Energy Drink Recommendations
There are many energy drinks that contain natural and healthy ingredients while helping to promote weight loss. Others simply contain less sugar and a more sensible mix of ingredients than some of the brands that you might be familiar with. Here’s a quick list to get you started:
- Red Bull Total Zero
- Rockstar Zero Carb
- Matchabar Hustle Unsweetened Energy Drink
- REIZE (my fav)
REIZE (10 Out Of 10)
If you’re on a weight loss program, you may want to think twice before grabbing an energy drink with tons of caffeine and sugar. But how about an energy drink that’s low in caffeine and is completely sugar-free?
Meet REIZE, a great powdered energy drink that comes in light and convenient 4g sachets.
With a sensible 50mg of caffeine, REIZE is also sugar-free and has just 11 calories per serving.
REIZE is also packed with a smart blend of quality ingredients like taurine, ginseng and B-group vitamins that work together to give you the perfect energy boost without the dreaded sugar crash afterward.
The best part?
REIZE ships straight to your door for only about $1 per drink.
That’s exceptional value for money.
Give REIZE a try and I’m sure you’ll find that it’s a better weight loss partner than other energy drinks.