Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may sound comedic but it’s a serious matter that many are suffering from on a daily basis.
If you’re suffering from IBS you might have to pay attention to your food intake in order to ensure that you’re not eating anything that can trigger it further.
Unfortunately, that means that you might have to give up some of your favorite food items, including energy drinks.
Now I know for a fact that many are dependent on energy drinks to get by day to day, so does having IBS means you really have to cut off energy drinks?
Read on to find out more as I’ll be recommending some energy drinks that might be of interest to you, that can keep your energy levels up but not costing you trips to the toilet.
Disclaimer: don’t consume more than what your body can tolerate and consult your doctor if your IBS condition becomes worse.
Let’s get started…
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that makes certain people sensitive to certain kinds of food.
Symptoms include cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and other bowel irregularities that often result in a lot of frustration and inconvenience.
While rarely life-threatening, there is no known cure for IBS, which makes it something that you need to live with.
Common symptoms of IBS include:
- abdominal pain
- bloating and gas
People with IBS typically need to avoid FODMAP foods, which include;
- fried foods
- indigestible sugars
- some vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, onions, and garlic)
- some fruits (apples, cherries, pears and peaches)
This may be hard for a lot of people who may have grown accustomed to having these kinds of foods in their lives, but with the right changes in lifestyle, the symptoms are usually manageable.
If you want to know more about IBS, I suggest you watch the following video.
Energy Drinks and IBS
Sadly, energy drinks can somehow trigger IBS, which obviously means that I shouldn’t consume too much of it.
However, energy drinks can be consumed even if you have IBS if you’re able to find one that is suitable for your condition.
A general rule you should abide by when choosing is to choose one with a moderate amount of caffeine and sugar because both can potentially worsen IBS.
No one knows yourself better than you do, so trust your gut feeling for better gut health (pun intended).
Is Caffeine OK For IBS?
Moderate amounts of caffeine can be okay for IBS.
Generally, caffeine is known to be incompatible for those with IBS because caffeine triggers your stomach to produce acid, which stimulates your colon or gut leading to an irritated bowel.
Therefore, high doses of caffeine, especially for those who’re more sensitive to caffeine, can cause a worse IBS situation.
According to this study, consuming caffeine is associated with an increased incidence of IBS, especially among overweight women.
Some common caffeinated items include coffee, tea, energy drinks, soft drinks, and chocolates.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should cut out caffeine entirely. It will still depend on your caffeine tolerance.
If you feel caffeine doesn’t affect your IBS badly, you can still consume small doses of caffeine.
Caffeine is our source of energy and there are times that we really just want a caffeinated beverage to get through the day.
If you’re a coffee or tea fan with an insatiable urge for a caffeine kick, but don’t want to trigger your gut, you could choose a decaffeinated option or weak caffeinated ones, like green tea.
Is Sugar OK For IBS?
As with caffeine, sugar too in moderate amounts is okay for IBS. Consumption of excess sugar is what can lead to IBS as the sugar won’t be well absorbed by your intestines.
If you suffer from IBS, you’re most likely to be fructose-intolerant, and fructose is another term for sugar. Sugar-free items with artificial sweeteners (ending with “-ol”) too can aggravate your bowels.
Sucralose, an artificial sweetener actually alters the good bacteria and pH levels in your gut which can lead to digestive issues.
Therefore, pay close attention to the amount and ingredients list and be aware of all the pseudonyms that sugar goes by.
Are Energy Drinks Bad For IBS?
Energy drinks can be bad for IBS.
This is because some energy drinks contain a high amount of caffeine and sugar, both of which are not favorable to IBS patients.
Energy drinks are also diuretic, which won’t be good for you if you have diarrhea— the combination of diuretics on top of diarrhea could further cause your body to be dehydrated.
Energy drinks too can trigger side effects, like jitters, anxiousness, and tummy upsets, all of which can potentially worsen your gastrointestinal conditions.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to abstain from energy drinks. You can still enjoy your energy drinks if you ones with a moderate amount of caffeine and sugar, suitable to your tolerance.
At the end of this post, I’ll be recommending a few energy drinks that might interest you.
Can Energy Drinks Help With Fatigue From IBS?
Energy drinks can help with fatigue from IBS.
Other than the tummy upset you get from IBS, it can also cause fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
Understandably, it truly sucks to be in that situation, but there are times that you need to carry on with your day despite not feeling the best.
If caffeine or sugar doesn’t trigger your IBS, then you’re set to gain energy from energy drinks.
Energy drinks could help you tide over for a few hours until you’re able to be well-rested.
However, it’s also important to not drink too many energy drinks as caffeine and sugar can irritate your bowels.
Can You Drink Red Bull If You Have IBS?
Unfortunately, there’s no right or wrong answer here as it largely depends on several factors.
An 8.4 fl. oz can of Red Bull energy drink contains:
- 80mg of caffeine
- 27g of sugar
- 110 calories.
I think the caffeine content is pretty moderate for IBS, but the sugar content is a bit too high and might further aggravate your bowel.
With that said, it actually boils down to your body’s own tolerance and reaction to caffeine and sugar. Therefore, if you find drinking Red Bull makes your condition worse, you should discontinue drinking it.
There are other energy drinks in the market with different amounts of caffeine and sugar, that should be able to provide you the energy boost you need without irritating your gut.
Check out my Red Bull Review if you want to know more about this energy drink: Red Bull Energy Drink Review (Full Details).
Best Energy Drinks For IBS
Advocare Spark Energy Drink
- Sugar – zero
- Caffeine – 120mg
- Calories – 15 per serving
Something to spark your interest, this energy drink is not only sugar-free but also contains 120mg of caffeine, which is an amount that I think could work if you’re not that sensitive to caffeine.
Advocare Spark Energy Drink too has pretty low calories and could easily be burned off with an afternoon jog.
Check out my review for more information: Advocare Spark Energy Drink Review (Everything To Know).
Mountain Dew Kickstart
- Sugar – 20g
- Caffeine – 92mg
- Calories – 80 per serving
Your stomach might just be churning at the ingredients list, Despite having a moderate caffeine content, the 20g of sugar might not sit well with you.
However, don’t get too dejected as there are 2 sugar-free options:
- Ultra Energizing Original Dew
- Diet Mountain Dew
Does Mountain Dew Kickstart really work? Find out more here: Does Mountain Dew Kickstart Actually Work? (Facts).
XS ENERGY DRINK
- Sugar – zero
- Caffeine – 80mg
- Calories – 10 per serving
XS Energy Drink seems like a good option for IBS, as it’s sugar-free and has a moderate amount of caffeine.
It not only comes in 18 different flavors for you to choose from but also with 2 caffeine-free options if you want to keep away from caffeine, so you will never be out of options.
The downside of XS Energy Drink, however, is that it does have a high price point. With shipping, a single 8.4 fl.oz can costs around $3-$4.
Find out more about XS Energy’s caffeine and ingredients here: XS Energy Drink: Caffeine And Ingredients (Investigated).
Just because you have debilitating gastrointestinal issues, doesn’t mean you should suffer through those sluggish mornings and afternoon slumps without anything to bring the light back into your eyes.
It may be discouraging for a lot of people with IBS when shopping for energy drinks considering the fact that almost 99% of brands contain caffeine.
And this doesn’t only include normal coffee bean extract but also guarana, yerba mate, guayusa, and cocoa.
IBS sufferers need to pay close attention to what they eat. Even a drop of caffeine can send you reeling in agony if you have IBS.
Hopefully, these caffeine-free alternatives can increase your energy levels without sending your entire digestive system into chaos.
However, as with all herbal preparations, ginseng-based energy drinks may work for some and it may not work for others.
The trick is to test as many brands as possible. With enough patience, I’m sure you’ll be able to hit the jackpot and find an energy drink that is best suited to your sensitive gastrointestinal system.