Red Bull is the most iconic top-selling energy drink that sells around 7.5 billion cans every year. It never fails to cross our minds whenever we think of energy drinks.
But one thing that may be keeping you away from getting a can for yourself is that whether Red Bull is appropriate for your vegan diet or not.
The simple answer is, yes. Red Bull energy drink is indeed vegan.
The main ingredients present in a can of Red Bull Energy Drink are caffeine, sugar and, B-Vitamins. All of them are plant-based.
But is this piece of information enough to prove Red Bull a vegan-friendly energy drink? Let’s find out.
Before diving into the details, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients list.
Ingredients in Red Bull
Generally, a standard can of Red Bull contains the following ingredients :
- 110 calories
- 80 mg of caffeine
- 28g carbohydrates
- 27g sugar
- Niacin/vitamin B3
- Pantothenic acid / vitamin B5
- Pyridoxine/vitamin B6
- Cobalamin / vitamin B12
Is Red Bull really Vegan?
It’s normal for you to expect your favorite energy drink brand to have vegan-friendly ingredients if you’re vegan and love to drink Red Bull.
If you check on the brand’s official website, you will find that the drink doesn’t contain any animal products.
In fact, most ingredients are plant-based.
However, if you’re still doubtful about the ingredients, here’s a data table that I hope will help you get a better and clear idea.
|Ingredients||Source||Is it vegan?|
|Glucose||Vegetables, Grains, Fruits, Sugar, Honey.||Yes|
|Citric acid||Vegetable, Bacterial, Fungal, or Mould.||Yes|
|Calcium pantothenate||Usually synthetic.||Yes|
You might also want to check this video out for more details
What are the Vegan-Friendly Ingredients in Red Bull?
Although Red Bull states that all the ingredients in it are derived from plants, it’s still not completely clear.
We’ll now have a detailed analysis of the ingredients and flavors that make Red Bull a vegan-friendly energy drink.
Caffeine is a stimulant that instantly provides us with an energy boost. Red Bull has a total of 80mg caffeine per 8.4 fl oz can.
Although it helps a lot with tiredness and drowsiness, it tends to be very addictive.
If you have a high caffeine tolerance, you may drink more than one can of Red Bull at once. But remember not to exceed FDA’s recommended limit which is 400mg per day.
Also, be mindful of the potential side effects that come with it.
It’s always better to drink in moderate amount than to overdose on caffeine.
The sugars Red Bull use in their energy drinks is called glucose and sucrose, which are sourced from vegetables and fruits.
They use aspartame in the Sugar-free Red Bull, which is an artificial sweetener.
Now, some sugar is made from charred animal bones, which, if used in production would make the drink non-vegan.
However, Red Bull states that all of their energy drinks including the original one are vegan, so we will conclude that they use vegan-safe products.
The B-Vitamins that you get in Red Bull includes Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. These give your brain a boost and even reduce cholesterol if consumed regularly.
Vitamin B5, which is also known as Pantothenic acid promotes the health of your liver, nervous system, skin, eyes as well as the digestive tract.
Vitamin B6 boosts brain health whereas Vitamin B12 improves your nerve cell as well as encourages the production of DNA. There was a time when you could only get B12 in animal products, but in modern days, it comes from nutritional yeast and soymilk.
You can get all these B-Vitamins from a can of 8.4 fl. oz Red Bull. And I think it’s totally a win-win!
But, who knows? Is it really enough to get the full benefits of B-Vitamins?
Have you ever wondered why Red Bull has this unique sweet-salty taste?
Well, part of this sweet-salty flavor comes from the magnesium carbonate it contains.
Magnesium Carbonate is an inorganic salt that is absolutely vegan-safe.
Carbonated Water in a Buffer
Buffered carbonated water usually undergoes a buffer solution alongside a conjugate base and an acid (typically a weak one).
During this buffering process, the pH of the water changes.
Regardless of the process or the fact that it’s carbonated, it’s still water. So that makes it calorie-free which has no animal products or byproducts.
Out of all ingredients, Taurine is most discussed as to whether or not it’s vegan-safe.
This organic molecule can be produced from both animals and plants. But it’s generally sourced from fish and mammals, which makes it more uncertain because you don’t know exactly where it’s coming from.
Although Red Bull has confirmed that they produce their taurine in a lab without using any animal products, many vegans still choose to avoid this energy drink.
What about Other Flavors of Red Bull? Are They Vegan-Safe Too?
Red Bull has many flavors to choose from. The Red Bull tagline says, they have flavors for every wings! But are they all vegan-safe?
Let’s take a look at the main variants of the Red Bull energy drink:
- Red Bull Energy Drink (original)
- Red Bull Sugar-Free
- Red Bull Total Zero
- Red Bull Editions
- Organics by Red Bull
The ingredients of all variants are identical apart from The Organics Edition.
I personally think the Organics Edition by Red Bull is a great option for all the vegan people out there. This drink is made from organic ingredients with no dairy, no wheat, or GMO.
Even though it’s more of a Soda than an energy drink, it has the same effects as the Original Red Bull. And the most interesting part is, they also come in recyclable cans! and I feel like that just makes it more appropriate for vegans.
The only concern is the artificial colors Red Bull adds to their drink. There are controversies regarding the safety of their consumption, which is why they test it on animals. (Check out this study to go in-depth about the safety issues of artificial sweeteners.)
That is why many vegans decide to not consume them.
Although most vegans are okay with artificial colors, some are not. As a vegan, you’ll just have to make your own choice depending on how you view things.
Is the Sugar used in Red Bull Vegan?
Although Red Bull clearly stated on their website that the sugar they use in their drink is extracted from beets, some vegan people still choose to exclude Red Bull from their diet. And I totally get their concern.
There are in fact some sugar that is whitened with charred animal bones.
Now we don’t really know whether or not the sugars they use have been manufactured in a vegan-friendly manner. And this is one of the reasons why this issue of sugar being vegan or not gets even more complex.
Most of the energy drinks including Red Bull is not fully considered Vegan by the vegan society. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those aren’t vegan, they just simply don’t carry the Vegan Trademark.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, it’s all up to you. Everything depends on your personal choice and preference.
Why is Red Bull Controversial?
Even though Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, with the highest market share, they fail to provide enough information regarding the use of animal products in their drink.
Although Red Bull has clearly stated on their official website that their drinks don’t contain any animal-based ingredients, most of their flavors have artificial colors. And it’s one of those ingredients which are not supported by vegans.
Moreover, the company actually tests on animals which is another downside.
So if you’re starting as vegan, I’d say it’s totally up to you whether or not you want to include Red Bull in your diet.
As a vegan, is it okay for you to drink Red Bull?
Many vegan people consider Red Bull vegan-safe, moreover, the company itself announced that they use plant-based products in their drinks, I personally don’t see any reason for you to exclude Red Bull from your vegan diet.
If you are worried about the artificial colors for being non-vegan, I’d recommend you to try their Organics edition which has no artificial tones or colors.
Some vegans consume all variants of Red Bull Energy Drink while some of them are very skeptical and choose to not have Red Bull Energy Drink at all.
It’s all up to you and your personal preference. If you’re happy with all the ingredients of your favorite Red Bull Energy Drink, you should totally have it.
Alternatives To Red Bull
If you’re curious about energy drinks that are similar to Red Bull, you may check the following energy drinks:
- Rip It
- Monster Import
- XS energy drink
- Coca-Cola Energy
You may also want to try powdered energy drinks like:
- Advocare Spark
Red Bull is consumed by all kinds of people worldwide. Some of them are vegan, some aren’t.
Some vegans consume all varieties of Red Bull. On the other side, some are dubious and refuse to consume Red Bull by all means, which I think is not wrong either. Everyone should go by their preference.
As I’ve said before, the choice is entirely yours. If you’re a strict vegan and you’re totally not convinced with the brand being vegan-friendly, then you can just avoid it.
And if you’re someone who is fully content with every element that is present in Red Bull, then I don’t think you should stop yourself. Go and grab that can!
On a side note, if you’re serious about being a vegan, here are some food suggestion for you. Give this video a watch!