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Do Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Cause You To Gain Weight? (Honest Answer)

Sugar-free drinks do not directly cause weight gain. If you don’t control your portions, sometimes they can cause you to consume more calories.

Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners change how much sugar you consume from your food and drinks, thus stimulating your appetite. Despite the fact that artificial sweeteners contain few calories, they are still sweeter than sugar, which triggers an increase in cravings and appetite.

Therefore, artificial sweeteners should be controlled. Also, you can swap energy drinks with water, coffee, or juices to keep a healthy balance.  

Sugar in Energy Drinks

Sugar cubes
Sugar is a common ingredient in an energy drink.

Sugar and caffeine are the most common components of energy drinks. They help you feel more energized.

As with all processed foods, too much sugar can have negative effects, which is why energy drinks, which often contain sugar as a major component, can sometimes be problematic.

You can harm your health by consuming sugar in the following ways:

  • Sugar consumption causes blood glucose levels to rise and fall.
  • Sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Sugar weakens the immune system.
  • People who consume high quantities of sugar often experience chromium deficiency.
  • Sugar accelerates the aging process.

How Much Sugar is Enough?

Approximately six teaspoons of added sugar are recommended for women daily, while nine teaspoons are recommended for men (36 grams or 150 calories).

Sugar is a major component of some energy drinks, up to 21 teaspoons (83.5g) per serving, which can be harmful, especially if they are consumed frequently.

Fortunately, manufacturers are using artificial sweeteners, which are acceptable to use as healthier alternatives.

Sugar substitutes in energy drinks

Splenda packets
Artificial sweeteners is a famous sugar substitute.

Artificial sweeteners are also present in energy drinks (especially sugar-free drinks).

The use of artificial sweeteners has increased in recent years, oftentimes sucralose and acesulfame potassium are utilized because they are calorie-free and sweeter than regular sugar.

Additionally, artificial sweeteners are useful to those trying to avoid weight gain, diabetes, or the health risks that sugar poses.

They are also almost calorie-free. 

For example, one teaspoon of sugar contains around 16 calories, so an extra 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of sweetened cola provides around 160 calories.

Trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain? Artificially sweetened products might be an option worth considering. However, they are not proven to be effective at reducing weight on a long-term basis.

There are several types of artificial sweeteners, including:

  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Aspartame
  • Advantame
  • Neotame

Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners: Which is Better?

Even though artificial sweeteners have no calories and are safe to consume, they are not necessarily healthier than sugar.

Despite the fact that the American Heart Association (AHA) has permitted artificial sweeteners for a short time, they still advise caution since these products can have negative side effects.

The sweetness of artificial sweeteners varies from 200 to 600 times that of sugar. So, you only need to use a little compared to sugar.

How do Artificial Sweeteners Affect Your Health?

How does an Energy Drink become Sugar-Free?

Sugar-free energy drinks contain less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving, according to the FDA.

An energy drink’s taste is enhanced by sugar, which is a vital ingredient. In some energy drinks, there is a lot of sugar, while in others, there is very little. It is defined as a drink with less than 0.5 grams of sugar in its formula.

To be marketed as sugar-free, energy drinks must have no added sugar in their formula. This is not true since energy drinks do not necessarily have to be sugar-free.

Also, sugar-free products contain sugar substitutes rather than sugar that is naturally present. If you want to lose weight or avoid sugar, these energy drinks are still a great option.

What is the Source of Energy?

The energy that sugar-free energy drinks contain may make you wonder where it comes from.

Even though sugar is a source of calories and carbohydrates that help convert food into energy, the level of caffeine in sugar-free energy drinks will determine the amount of energy they provide.

In order to compensate for the absence of sugar in sugar-free energy drinks, most increase the quantity of caffeine or energy-boosting minerals. 

Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, resultantly you feel awakened and more alert.

Occasionally caffeine can be beneficial for people who work long hours and are physically active, but it should not be taken regularly as a meal replacement because it can have dangerous side effects.

In any case, limiting coffee consumption and eating well-balanced meals are still crucial.

Weight Loss with Sugar-Free Energy Drinks?

It is true that artificial sweeteners (which are found in most zero-calorie beverages) do not contribute to weight gain in themselves.

However, many individuals compensate for the lower calorie counts of those beverages by eating higher-calorie meals. The sweetness of artificial sweeteners can trigger the reward mechanism in your brain, even though they have very few calories.

Due to the lack of calories, these sweeteners may cause an increase in appetite and desire. If you consistently adhere to a healthy diet and exercise routine, you should be able to prevent these adverse effects.

Energy Drinks
Energy Drinks

How safe are sugar-free energy drinks? 

It is true that sugar-free energy drinks are safe but to a certain extent.

They are significantly safer than sugary drinks because they contain no sugar. 

This study suggests, however, that sugar-free energy drinks are as unhealthy as sugary energy drinks if they are not consumed in moderation.

However, sugar-free energy drinks are not forbidden. Just make sure you consume them in moderation so you won’t experience any side effects.

Are Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Safe for Diabetics? 

Yes, even people with diabetes can consume sugar-free energy drinks.

It is okay for diabetics to consume sugar-free energy drinks because they contain artificial sweeteners rather than sugar.

Since artificial sweeteners have no effect on blood glucose levels, drinking sugar-free energy drinks will not harm your health.

However, you are still recommended to consume these drinks in moderation to avoid any negative effects associated with caffeine or other ingredients.

In addition, if you have diabetes and are unsure whether you can consume sugar-free energy drinks, seek medical advice. For more information on the best energy drinks for diabetics, please check out this article.

Does Sugar-Free Energy Drink Affect Cholesterol Levels?

Contrary to what you might think, the opposite is true.

CDC statistics indicate that nearly one-third of Americans over the age of 20 have high cholesterol due to sugar consumption. 

Therefore, sugar consumption contributes to high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is bad and too much can cause heart attacks or strokes, so avoiding it is best.

The cholesterol levels can’t rise when sugar isn’t present, as sugar contributes to cholesterol. If you want to avoid high cholesterol, you should drink sugar-free energy drinks.

Are Energy Drinks with Zero Calories are Safe to Drink while Fasting?

Fasting does not allow you to consume zero-calorie energy drinks. Energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners that cause insulin to be released, even if they contain no calories.

How does this make sense?

Sugar substitutes in zero-calorie energy drinks spike insulin levels. Similar to this, when your body responds to insulin, it begins using insulin for energy instead of fat.

Furthermore, energy drinks are usually rich in amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), that can improve workout performance and enhance muscle growth.

In other words, these amino acids contain calories. BCAAs contain 4 calories per gram. By taking these amino acids, you also break your fast.

If zero-energy drinks have calories, why does it indicate ‘zero-calories’?

FDA regulations prohibit the labeling of products containing macronutrients that do not include them in their entirety, such as the BCAA amino acid.

Furthermore, these micronutrients, which are needed only in trace amounts, do not contain calories but permit the production of enzymes, hormones, and other compounds essential for health, disease prevention, and development.

Energy Drinks With Zero Calories

You’ll find a few great zero-calorie energy drinks here based on my understanding of how zero-calorie products work. To explain why I chose these drinks, I have included a table.

Brand (16 fl.oz)CaloriesCaffeine
Raze Energy0g300mg
Adrenaline Shoc0g300mg
Bang Energy0g300mg
C4 Energy Drink0g200mg
Rockstar Pure Zero10g240mg
Data Table

You should choose your drink based on your tolerance to caffeine, as some of these beverages are very caffeinated.

Can Energy Drinks Be Healthy?

As far as I know, none. These drinks are generally made artificially, and some contain chemicals that are only effective for a short duration, so their long-term effects may not be evident.

If you want a boost that won’t be detrimental to your health, try the following:

  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Green tea
  • Yerba mate

Alternatives

Here are some notable mentions:

Final thoughts

To conclude, yes, sugar can contribute to weight gain when consumed in large amounts.

People who are trying to reduce their calorie or sugar intake can benefit from zero-calorie energy drinks. There is no difference in the effects of these energy drinks compared to those with sugar or calories.

The artificial sweeteners in zero-calorie energy drinks should be taken into account, despite their zero-calorie nature. If used excessively, artificial sweeteners may have negative effects regardless of their lack of calories.

Consequently, energy drink manufacturers are diversifying their product lines in order to meet the preferences of their customers. Regardless of the use of these energy drinks, maintaining or incorporating a healthy lifestyle is still the most effective way to lose weight.

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