Energy drinks make great pick-me-ups and can supply you with a quick energy boost that’ll keep you focused and energized.
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.
The article will tackle the ingredients in energy drinks that can lead to weight gain to a list of recommendations to help you.
Let’s get started…
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:
Caffeine can be obtained naturally from tea, coffee and, some plants. The way caffeine works is by stimulating your brain and nervous system, leading to an increase in alertness and wakefulness.
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.
According to the FDA, the recommended daily maximum caffeine intake for healthy adults is no more than 400mg.
Any more than that, and you might end up with adverse effects like:
- 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.
In fact, caffeine might even help you to lose weight when consumed in the right doses.
Caffeine can create a thermogenic effect, which means it triggers fat burn and increases your metabolism.
According to a 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.
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:
Stick to this guideline to keep your waistline in check.
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 Weight?
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.
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 study found that the physical performance of middle-distance runners improved after the ingestion of taurine.
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.
A 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.
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.
You can avoid that by putting the energy you get from energy drinks to good use.
Regular exercise can burn off the fat and calories you consume, especially if you drink energy drinks daily.
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.
Check out my review of Red Bull for more information: Red Bull Energy Drink Review (Full Details).
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.
Helpful Ways to Lose Weight
If you’re looking for strategies to slim down your waistline and adopt a healthy weight, here are some pointers to get you started:
Read Nutritional Labels
Reading and understanding product nutritional labels may help you make better choices and figure out how a specific meal fits into your daily calorie allotment on your weight management plan.
Cut Down Junk and Processed Foods
Meals rich in calories, sugar, and fat are often found in junk food and processed foods. As a result, they’re considered a major contributor to the obesity epidemic and a driving force behind the onset of some chronic illnesses.
Adopting a junk-food-free diet has several advantages, including weight loss, stronger bones, improved digestion, a sharper memory, and a healthier heart.
Eat Foods That Are High in Fiber
Fiber-rich foods can help you feel fuller for longer, which is ideal for weight loss. Fiber can be found in vegetables, grains, beans oats, and lentils.
While you’re burning calories, more exercise increases the number of calories your body utilizes for energy or “burns off.”
When you burn calories via physical exercise while also reducing the number of calories you consume, you create a “calorie deficit” this results in weight loss.
In addition, getting active can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.
30 minutes of exercise a day might be beneficial, but you should speak with your doctor or a trainer for a more tailored weight reduction program.
How Often Should You Drink Energy Drinks?
If you decide to consume energy drinks, you can limit your intake to the recommended sugar limit by AHA.
Drinking energy drinks on occasion has little to no influence on your weight or general health as long as you keep track of your intake and stick to the guidelines set by experts.
However, if you’re still looking for a boost or elevating your energy and mood, you can try sugar-free or no-calorie energy drinks.
But like mentioned, these will unlikely cause you any weight gain as long as you consume the right dosage.
Energy Drinks With Zero Calories
Check these zero calorie energy drinks:
- Red Bull Total Zero
- Monster Zero Ultra
- Adrenaline Shoc
- Bang Energy
- C4 Energy
Energy drinks can make you fat if consumed in excess.
While energy drinks can be useful from time to time, the amount of caffeine and sugar in them might have negative consequences, such as weight gain.
You can always try the sugar-free and no-calorie variants if you’re seeking a boost while trying to avoid gaining any weight, but make sure you get the correct amount.
They don’t help you lose weight or prevent you from gaining weight; they’re just ordinary energy boosters that can help you get through the day.
However, they should only be taken on rare occasions or just when you need to.
Otherwise, get medical assistance from a dietitian or nutritionist to assist you with weight management and a customized diet that will boost your energy levels.