Is Irn-Bru Energy Drink Vegan? (Health Impact)

Vegetable spread on a table

The quick answer to this question is yes, Irn-Bru Energy is vegan.

But let’s just not stop there. Read on to find out more.

Background On Irn-Bru Energy Drink

Irn-Bru Energy was launched in 2019 by AG Barr, a Scotland-based drink manufacturer.

It is this same company that was responsible for producing the iconic Irn-Bru sparkling flavoured soft drink that was so well received that it came to be known as Scotland’s “second national drink” after whisky.

Although Irn-Bru Energy carries a different formula from the soft drink, it still retains the same classic taste.

There are two versions of the drink to choose from:

  • Irn-Bru Energy (contains sugar)
  • Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar

While it’s great that the manufacturer has got a sugar-free option covered, you may still have other concerns about the drink such as whether it is compatible with your vegan diet.

So, let’s consider that next.

A handheld can of Irn-Bru Energy drink.
Can Irn-Bru Energy fit into your vegan diet?

Is Irn-Bru Energy Vegan?

Take a quick look at the ingredients label and you’ll see that Irn-Bru Energy doesn’t contain any animal-based products.

That makes the drink suitable for vegans for sure.

However, do note that on the FAQ section of the AG Barr’s official website, they have mentioned that there are several flavours of their soft drinks that are NOT vegan friendly.

But that doesn’t affect us since we are only interested in the energy drink here.

In fact, Irn-Bru Energy drink was definitely not included in that list, so it’s safe to assume that it’s vegan, which is consistent with my assessment of its ingredients list.

Irn-Bru Energy Nutritional Facts And Ingredients

Each 330ml can of Irn-Bru Energy contains:

  • 3 calories
  • 120mg of caffeine (a little on the strong side for my liking)
  • 0g fat
  • 0g saturated fatty acids
  • 36g carbohydrates
  • 36g sugar
  • 0.5g protein
  • 0.25g salt
  • 4.8mg niacin
  • 0.42mg vitamin B6
  • 0.75mg vitamin B12

Irn-Bru Energy also contains other ingredients such as:

  • Carbonated water
  • Taurine
  • Quinine
  • Citric acid
  • Ammonium ferric citrate
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame and Acesulfame K (for No Sugar variant only)
  • Preservative E211
  • Colours: Sunset Yellow FCF, Ponceau 4R (more on this later)
Close-up of ingredients and nutrition information as shown on a can of Irn-Bru Energy.
There’s high caffeine content in a can of Irn-Bru Energy Drink.

Is Irn-Bru Energy Good For You?

As with all energy drinks, it’s really a subjective matter whether it’s good for you to take it or otherwise.

It’s really up to you to balance it up against the rest of your dietary habits.

Among the many ingredients that make up a single can of Irn-Bru Energy, I think the two most important ones that we should focus on would be its caffeine and sugar content.

This is because these two ingredients alone can trigger many health issues if left unchecked.

Caffeine

Caffeine is good when it comes to keeping us alert and helping to boost our energy levels, but consuming it excessively can lead to health problems such as:

This is why it’s important to stay within your personal caffeine tolerance limits. 

As a guide, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends that you should only consume up to 200mg within a single serving of caffeine. Besides that, you are also advised to keep to a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day.

In the case of a 330ml Irn-Bru Energy drink, both the regular as well as the No Sugar version contains 120mg of caffeine in every can.

I personally only like to drink between 50mg to 100mg of caffeine per serving, so the amount that’s in this drink is actually a little beyond what I’m used to.

Well, different people have varying tolerances to caffeine, so this may or may not be an issue for you. In fact, you would probably need to test it out for yourself in order to find out.

Remember that you’ll also need to take into account all your other daily caffeine sources when deciding whether Irn-Bru Energy is a good addition to your diet. This includes food and drinks such as carbonated beverages, chocolates, tea, coffee and more.

Sugar

Personally, I feel that the regular Irn-Bru Energy drink contains too much sugar. One 330ml can of the beverage has 36g of sugar in it. 

This isn’t advisable based on the guidelines given by the National Health Service (NHS) which states that adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars in a day

The term “free sugars” here refers to sugar that’s added to our food and includes the hidden sugar content in your chocolates, cakes, yoghurt, cereal as well as what you’ll find in honey and syrups.

With just one serving of your regular Irn-Bru Energy drink, you would have already exceeded your daily sugar limit. And this isn’t even taking into account the sugar you would be getting from any other food you consumed on the same day.

So the regular Irn-Bru Energy drink isn’t an ideal choice at all, but this would be especially so if you’re someone who’s actively persuing a low-calorie diet.

As a whole, I’d say you might still be able to enjoy a can or two of Irn-Bru Energy based on its caffeine level alone. But the sugar content is a concern. So if you do decide to pick up a can, I’d highly suggest you take the Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar option.

Can Irn-Bru Energy Drink Help Me Lose Weight?

Energy drinks like Irn-Bru Energy don’t directly help with weight loss, although they may have a role to play. Let me explain.

I think people tend to confuse energy drinks with dietary supplements. The expectation here being that if taking Irn-Bru Energy could help you lose weight, then you wouldn’t have to put in any time to exercise at the gym or at home. That’s definitely not how energy drinks work.

However, some studies have shown that consuming caffeine does make it easier to burn off fat, but only when you consume it before you begin your exercise routine.

In other words, taking caffeine may help you with losing weight in two ways: 

  1. It enhances your body’s ability to release fatty acids into your bloodstream. It is only when your body fat is converted into this fatty acids that it can be burned off as energy while you do your gym workout. 
  2. It increases your metabolic rate. In other words, it helps your body burn up calories at a higher rate. 

Research has shown that individuals had better success shedding excess weight when they included more caffeine in their diet. Another study also proved that greater caffeine consumption was helpful when it comes to weight maintenance. 


Watch this video to learn how caffeine consumption will help you during your workout.

Please take note that energy drinks like Irn Bru-Energy tend to contain high levels of sugar and lots of calories. Therefore, if you just consume this drink without including exercise into your daily routine, then you will almost certainly end up gaining weight. In the long run, you could even risk becoming obese.

So, here’s my suggestion: You’ll need to do two things in order for Irn-Bru Energy to make a difference in your personal weight loss program. 

First, you’ll need to develop a more active lifestyle involving exercise or sports. Once you’ve got that going, you can go ahead and reach for an Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar drink and it may enhance your weight loss efforts.

However, Irn-Bru isn’t the only energy drink that this is true for. The same could be said for any caffeinated drink.

Nutritional information from the side of a Irn-Bru Energy can.
Just one can of Irn-Bru Energy will already bust your recommended daily sugar limit.

Is The Irn Bru Energy Drink Compatible With A Keto Diet?

I personally think Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar will complement a keto diet well.

Since it is sugar-free, it will have a lower carb content, hence it’s consistent with the objectives of a keto diet which seeks to reduce carb intake.

If you’re adding exercise into the mix, this beverage will help supply you with the necessary stamina you need for a productive gym session.

Well, how about the artificial sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame-K (Ace-K), which are both used in Irn-Bru Energy? Are those keto friendly too? 

Here’s some good news: These sugar substitutes don’t seem to impact the ketosis process that you are aiming for while on a keto diet. This refers to the process where your body burns fat and protein to obtain the energy it needs rather than relying on carbs.

In fact, a study involving the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean diet proved that aspartame didn’t increase blood sugar levels. Hence, it didn’t interrupt the participants’ state of ketosis.

Where Can I Buy Irn-Bru Energy Drink And How Much Is It?

Irn-Bru Energy drinks can be easily found in local supermarkets and shops across Scotland, Ireland and Northern England.

However, if you live elsewhere, don’t fret. It’s pretty convenient to just make your purchase online nowadays. Sites like Amazon make it easy for you to order the drinks and have them delivered directly to your doorstep.

Just for your reference, I did a quick search online and found that a 12-pack of regular Irn-Bru Energy drinks was being sold for around £11.40, meaning that it costs around 95p for you to get your hands on a 330ml can.

How Does Irn-Bru Energy Compare To Other Energy Drinks?

If you’re curious, you can read more about my thoughts on the Irn-Bru Energy drink in this review post.

Other great energy drinks that you can consider as an alternative to Irn-Bru Energy are:

Almost all of these energy drinks are vegan friendly. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, please check the ingredients list carefully before you decide to buy any of them.

And if you’re practising a keto diet, bear in mind that the sugar-free version for any of these brands would be the better choice for you.

In case you prefer having powdered energy drinks instead, you can try any of the following:

REIZE

No matter what diet you’re on, I think REIZE would be a great addition to your lifestyle.

For starters, there’s much less caffeine in REIZE than most other energy drinks. With only 50mg of caffeine per sachet, you can have better control of your caffeine consumption.

REIZE sachet and a glass with the REIZE powder dissolved into a drink inside it.
REIZE is suitable for all kinds of diet plans.

REIZE also contains many energy boosting ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and B Vitamins which are a great complement to your diet.

At the same time, REIZE is sugar-free so you won’t have to worry about it affecting your weight either. 

The best part of all is that you have the liberty of mixing REIZE into any of your favourite beverages so you can enjoy your energy drink just the way you like it. 

With the price per sachet at only around $1 inclusive of shipping, REIZE is definitely one of the most affordable energy drinks available.

Give REIZE a try to see the difference for yourself.

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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