Is Red Bull Vegan? (Ingredients And Controversies)

Red Bull Energy Drink

Red Bull was the first energy drink to be introduced to the US. It’s such a classic brand and one that always comes to mind whenever the topic of energy drinks comes up.

However, one thing might be holding you back from picking up a can for yourself and that’s the question of whether Red Bull is suitable for your vegan lifestyle.

Well, if that’s something that’s been bothering you, then keep reading as I’ll be taking a good look at whether Red Bull is vegan friendly in this post.

Red Bull Ingredients

A 8.4 fl.oz Red Bull contains quite a short list of ingredients:

  • 110 calories
  • 28g carbohydrates 
  • 27g sugar
  • 80mg of caffeine
  • Niacin / vitamin B3 (100% of recommended daily intake, RDI)
  • Pyridoxine / vitamin B6 (250% of RDI)
  • Cobalamin / vitamin B12 (80% of RDI)
  • Pantothenic acid / vitamin B5 (50% of RDI)

In smaller amounts, you will also find:

  • Carbonated water
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Citric acid
  • Taurine
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Magnesium carbonate
  • Niacinamide
  • Calcium pantothenate
  • Pyridoxine HCl
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Colors

Now, on the surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything in that list that originates from animals.

In fact, the main ingredients of caffeine, sugar and B vitamins are usually sourced from plants or synthesized in a manufacturing environment. 

However, let’s keep going because that’s not all there is to it.

Is Red Bull Vegan?

The quick answer here is yes, Red Bull energy drink is vegan

On the brand’s website, you’ll find that it states that the drink “does not contain any animal products or substances derived from animals.”

However, you might want to get a better idea about the other ingredients found in Red Bull and how it might affect you as a vegan. 

So check out the details I’ve collected below: 

IngredientsPurposeWhere does it come from commercially?Is it vegan?
SucroseSweetenerVegetableYes
GlucoseCarbohydrate nutrient source.Vegetables, grains, fruits, honey or sugar.Yes
Citric acidFlavouring /  preservative.Vegetable, bacterial, fungal or mould. Yes
TaurineEnhances physical performance when used in combination with caffeine.Usually synthetic. Yes
Sodium bicarbonateAdditive to adjust acidity.MineralYes
Magnesium carbonateColor retention. Nutrition supplement. PlantsYes
NiacinamideAnother form of vitamin B3. Support functions of nervous system. SyntheticYes
Calcium pantothenateSalt version of vitamin B5. Usually synthetic.Yes
Pyridoxine HClSalt version of vitamin B6. SyntheticYes
Detailed breakdown of vegan status for Red Bull ingredients.

From what you can see here, it seems that Red Bull energy drink is vegan friendly.

In spite of its name, Red Bull doesn’t actually contain any beef or other animal related ingredients in it.

So, in general, it’s safe for vegans to consume Red Bull on those grounds. 

However, there have been several controversies surrounding the brand that have raised questions about whether the drink is truly vegan.

One of the major issues was related the ethics of animal testing as the artificial colors used inside the Red Bull drink had been tested on animals. 

There was also the controversy over the use of the charred bones of animals (also known as bone char or natural carbon) in the sugar refining process. Although this is a common industry practice, it is a concern for vegans for obvious reasons. 

So the conclusion here is, although there really aren’t any animal products inside Red Bull, you may still want to avoid the drink for these reasons. It’s really up to you and your personal convictions. 

By the way, it might also interest you to know that Red Bull had once been banned in several countries, including in France.

You can find out more about that here.

How Much Caffeine Does Red Bull Have?

Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine in every 8.4 fl.oz. can. This is a good amount for you to drink in one serving.

I say this because I personally like to drink about 50mg to 100mg of caffeine per serving and this amount falls nicely within that range. My reasons for going by this rule is because I feel it ensures that you don’t get too overwhelmed by the effects of the caffeine.

However, if you decide to go beyond drinking just one can to get your caffeine fix, just remember not to exceed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s recommended limit of 400mg per day.

Cut back on your caffeine intake if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep) 
  • Muscle tremors
  • Frequent need for urination or inability to control urination
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nervousness

How Much Sugar Does Red Bull Have?

Red Bull has 27g of sugar per can

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued guidelines on how much sugar should be consumed each day, according to your gender:

GenderMaximum daily intake
Men150 calories / 36g / 9 tsp
Women100 calories / 25g / 6 tsp
AHA’s daily recommended sugar intake by gender

Based on these figures, alone I would say a can of Red Bull actually contains too much sugar for women and it’s more than half of the amount of sugar that a man can consume within a day.

So if you are going to drink Red Bull, you might want to stick to just one can per day. 

That’s because you’ll be consuming sugar from many different sources throughout the day and what you get from a can of Red Bull is just one of them. 

If you’d like to find out more about whether it’s safe to drink Red Bull every day, check out this other article I wrote on the topic.

Ingredients and warning labels as seen on a Red Bull can.
Due to Red Bull’s sugar content, it’s best to drink only one can per day.

Does Red Bull Work?

In order to answer this question, I tried Red Bull for myself. 

I decided to have it in the middle of the day while I was feeling exceptionally sleepy. This was after lunch time and I was trying to focus on my work, but for some reason, I couldn’t.

I actually drank half the can in one sitting, then had the other half of it within a couple hours after that.

Within minutes, the fog in my mind was cleared up and I felt great. Fuelled by the energy boost, I was able to finish my work on time.

So the answer to the question is yes! It works like a charm.

Is Red Bull Good For Health?

There isn’t any concrete evidence to prove that Red Bull will cause you health problems or otherwise.

As long as you consume Red Bull in moderation, it shouldn’t cause you any trouble. However, this is assuming you don’t have any pre-existing health problems. If you do, then it might be wiser to consult your doctor on whether energy drinks are suitable for you.

In terms of its benefits, Red Bull can help improve your ability to focus and concentrate on whatever task you have on hand. 

While its sugar and caffeine content will work together to give you the added energy you need, while the B vitamins included in the drink may also help to improve your physical and mental performance. 

Just remember to always keep tabs on how much Red Bull you drink as you wouldn’t want to face nasty consequences from doing so. If you would like to find out more about whether Red Bull is really bad for your health, you can check out my other article here.

What Flavors Are Available For Red Bull?

Red Bull has the following flavors to offer:

  • Red Bull 
  • Red Bull Zero (contains Acesulfame K and Sucralose)
  • Red Bull Sugarfree (contains Aspartame and Acesulfame K)
  • Red Bull Pear Edition – Sugarfree (contains Aspartame and Acesulfame K)
  • Red Bull Red Edition (Cranberry) 
  • Red Bull Coconut Edition (Coconut Berry) 
  • Red Bull Green Edition (Kiwi Apple)
  • Red Bull Summer Edition (Watermelon)
  • Red Bull Peach Edition (Peach Nectarine) 
  • Red Bull Yellow Edition (Tropical)
  • Red Bull Blue Edition (Blueberry) 
  • Red Bull Orange Edition (Tangerine) 

If you’re curious what each of these flavors taste like and whether they’re worth going for, check out what these guys have to say in their review of every Red Bull flavor:

Get a good overview of every Red Bull flavor.

Where Can I Buy Red Bull And How Much Does It Cost?

You can buy Red Bull at your local Walmart or Target, or convenience stores for a reasonable price. On average, it should cost you around $1.50 per can, depending on where you find it.

And, of course, you can very easily find yourself some Red Bull online at places such as Amazon and the like. The only difference here is that you would need to take into account shipping costs as well.

Alternatives To Red Bull

In case you’re curious, here are some alternatives to Red Bull energy drink that you can also try:

Powdered energy drinks are another option you can consider too:

REIZE

A sachet of REIZE energy drink powder and a glass of the ready-made drink.
REIZE is a superb choice for vegans.

As an alternative to Red Bull energy drinks, why not give REIZE a try?

With only 50mg of caffeine and a sugar-free ingredients list, you can enjoy this powdered energy drink without the worry of busting your daily caffeine and sugar limits. 

The best part here is that you’ll have nothing to worry about as REIZE is 100% vegan friendly.

REIZE contains a great mix of vegan-friendly ingredients that work together to give you a great energy boost, without the sugar crash.

Perhaps best of all, REIZE ships right to your door for only around $1 per drink. That’s amazing value for money.

In addition, it is really convenient to enjoy REIZE no matter where you go as you’ll just need to add a sachet of REIZE to 8.4 fl.oz of your favourite beverage. If you’d like to have a fuss-free energy drink boost, you really should give REIZE a try.

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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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