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Does Celsius Energy Drink Actually Work? (Truth)

If you’re a big fan of energy drinks, chances are you’ve probably heard of Celsius, which is a fitness beverage that claims to be able to provide you with the necessary energy to boost your active lifestyle.

It is also marketed as a weight loss solution that is able to help you shed those pounds through a process known as “thermogenesis“.

Celsius Energy Drink
Makes you wonder how much of Celsius is hype, and how much is actual efficacy.

But does Celsius Energy Drink actually work? Does it really help burn fat and accelerate metabolism and do all those other amazing things as it says on the can?

In order to narrow down my analysis on Celsius, I will only cover the three main claims that Celsius Energy Drink promises to deliver:

  • Does Celsius Energy Drink Provide “Healthy Energy”?
  • Does Celsius Energy Drink Accelerate Your Metabolism?
  • Does Celsius Energy Drink Burn Fat?

For the short answer, while Celsius definitely works as an energy drink, it only helps with weight loss when coupled with exercise and a healthy diet, as Celsius by itself isn’t going to miraculously help you lose weight by merely drinking it.

For the long answer, read on to learn more about how the ingredients in Celsius Energy Drink work to supposedly deliver the product’s promises, and how many (or few) of their bold claims can be backed up by hard fact, or just speculation.

Does Celsius Energy Drink Provide ‘Healthy’ Energy?

Celsius Energy Drink is marketed as a “healthy energy drink” because it has “natural” ingredients, a lot of vitamins, and no artificial flavors. But this doesn’t automatically make it ‘healthy’ by any means.

Personally, I find healthy energy drinks to be ones free of ridiculous amounts of processed sugar, caffeine, or other ingredients that might pose a long-term threat to you.

As such, we can define “healthy energy” as energy that can be supplied to your body without causing long-term damage to your health and well-being.

The Caffeine Man reviews what he considers to be a “healthier energy drink”.

Is there Sugar in Celsius Energy Drink?

Celsius Energy drink does not contain any sugar, which is a popular energy-giving ingredient.

That being said, just because an energy drink is sugar-free doesn’t necessarily make it healthier.

According to this article, processed sugar is almost always replaced by an artificial sweetener, and those have been notoriously linked to various health issues like glucose intolerance, obesity, and insulin resistance.

So be careful when a product says it’s sugar-free. More often than not, it may include ingredients that may satisfy your sweet tooth but is otherwise bad for your health.

A spoonful of sugar.
A tablespoon of sugar.

How Much Caffeine is in Celsius Energy Drink?

The world’s most popular stimulant, there’s up to 200mg of caffeine present in a 12 fl.oz can of Celsius Energy Drink.

While 400mg is the recommended daily intake for adults, adolescents aged 12 to 18 should only drink up to 100mg of caffeine a day.

Anything over that limit and they will begin to experience the typical symptoms of caffeine overdose, such as:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Cardiovascular symptoms
  • Sleep impairment,
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gastric ulcers

Therefore, I would highly discourage you from drinking Celsius Energy Drink if you happen to be under the age of 18.

While the caffeine content mainly comes in the form of caffeine anhydrous. However, there other caffeine-rich ingredients are present in Celsius Energy Drink namely Green Tea and Guarana, which I’ll tackle further down the article.

Does Celsius Energy Drink Accelerate Your Metabolism?

It’s important to note that a faster metabolism just means that your body burns more calories at rest, i.e. when you’re not doing anything. The state you’re in when you’re burning calories at rest is also known as RMR or “Resting Metabolic Rate”.

Celsius Energy Drink supposedly owes its metabolism-boosting powers to a cocktail of natural plant extracts and other compounds called MetaPlus® Proprietary Blend.

Celsius Energy Drink promotional line
Bold claims by Celsius, but are they actually true?

This blend contains ingredients that are able to “turn on thermogenesis, a process that boosts your body’s metabolic rate“.

These ingredients include: Taurine, Guarana, Caffeine, Glucuronolactone, Ginger, and Green Tea Leaf extract (15% EGCG).

Now, let’s look at them one by one to see if there’s any truth to this claim.

Taurine

Taurine is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is primarily found in the brain, eyes, heart, and muscles.

Some studies have shown that it has a wide variety of benefits including being able to increase fat burning during exercise and enhance weight loss.

However, it’s important to note that the dosage that is needed for this ingredient to be effective is around 500 to 3000mg.

That being said, we don’t know how much taurine is in a can of Celsius Energy Drink, so it’s hard to tell if the taurine present in Celsius is actually effective.

Guarana

Guarana is a relatively common energy drink ingredient, and is found in Celsius as well, although we don’t quite know how much guarana is actually present in the drink.

One study found that guarana, being a rich source of caffeine, can boost your metabolism by 3–11% over a period of 12 hours when taken as a supplement.

It may also help suppress genes that are responsible for producing fat cells in the body, resulting in better overall weight management.

However, the dosage that is needed for this ingredient to be effective is around 50-75mg, and we don’t know how much guarana is in Celsius Energy Drink.

As for side effects, high doses of guarana may cause symptoms similar to those of excessive caffeine intake such as insomnia, headaches, and anxiety. But considering there’s already 200mg of caffeine present in Celsius, this seems like a fairly small issue.

Caffeine (Caffeine Anhydrous)

Caffeine is not only a good source of energy, but it has definitely been proven to enhance your resting metabolic rate by up to 3-11%.

However, this does come with a few caveats.

Caffeine’s metabolism-enhancing powers seem to be more effective in lean individuals than obese ones. One study also found that the fat-burning benefits of caffeine are also more pronounced in younger test subjects, so age plays a huge role as well.

While a dosage of 300mg a day is enough to be effective, adults older than 18 years old can consume a total of 400mg, as long as they are not hypersensitive or allergic to it.

In short, caffeine does increase your metabolism and since we know there is 200mg of it in Celsius Energy Drink, we can safely say there’s definitely enough of this ingredient to be beneficial.

Glucuronolactone

Glucuronolactone, while naturally-occurring in the body and finds itself in a few energy drinks, is still a bit of a mystery substance.

While it’s been found to help enhance energy, increase mental alertness, and aid in cardiovascular health, no studies have been conducted to assess its role in increasing metabolism, at least not to my knowledge.

Ginger extract (Root)

Ginger root is a well-known spice that is commonly used in cooking, and finds its way in energy drinks such as Rockstar, GURU, and, of course, Celsius.

But can ginger enhance your metabolism? One study found that ginger had an anti-obesity effect, while another study confirmed its role in inducing thermogenesis to help burn calories.

The recommended dosage for efficacy is 2g a day. However, as with some of the other ingredients in Celsius Energy Drink, the amount of ginger is not stated, so we do not know for sure if there is enough of it to make a difference.

Green Tea Leaf extract (15% EGCG)

Several studies have shown that drinking green tea can increase your metabolism by up to 4%, and it’s also been found that this metabolism boosting effect can persist in the long term.

However, other studies also found that some people are more receptive to this fat-burning effect of green tea than others, and that for most people, it does not actually help increase your metabolism at all.

You must also be wondering what “15% ECGC” means. It actually refers to the percentage of “Epigallocatechin Gallatethat is found in the green tea extract used in Celsius Energy Drink.

ECGC is a plant extract with powerful antioxidant properties and is linked to a variety of health benefits. However, this report shows that any amount equal to or more than 800mg of ECGC is potentially dangerous and may cause liver damage.

Again, we do not know how much ECGC is contained within the green tea extract used in Celsius, and simply knowing the percentage does not help in determining whether it’s useful or not.

Overall Analysis

It’s hard to say for sure if the MetaPlus® Proprietary Blend truly works like it says on the packaging.

The only ingredient with a confirmed amount is caffeine anhydrous and there have already been many studies that show that caffeine can indeed increase your metabolism.

So what’s the need for those other ingredients if caffeine is already powerful enough to help you burn calories at rest?

Moreover, adding guarana and green tea, which also contains caffeine is a bit of an overkill. They may be on to something with taurine and ginger, but the other ingredients, I’m not so sure of.

As such, the only way to determine if Celsius can help with your metabolism is through rigorous scientific testing, and since that hasn’t been done yet, we can only rely on personal experiences which aren’t always the most accurate.

Does Celsius Energy Drink Burn Fat?

While Celsius Energy Drink may help you burn more calories at rest, it may only help you to burn fat WHEN coupled with exercise and a healthy diet.

Celsius Fitness Drink Label
Take note of the box that mentions the lack of FDA’s evaluation.

Celsius alone does not produce weight loss in the absence of a healthy diet and moderate exercise.

Celsius

Drinking Celsius with no exercise will not help you lose weight, at least, not overnight or in any short period of time.

As to how Celsius helps lose weight, Celsius claims that their combo of MetaPlus® Proprietary Blend and other ingredients induces thermogenesis to burn more fat, as was explained in the previous section.

However, please note that some studies have argued that thermogenesis from Celsius is caused by caffeine, not necessarily the natural extracts that may be present in them.

In conclusion, Celsius will help you lose weight only if you exercise

Celsius 12fl.oz Caffeine Warning label
Warning label on Celsius

Celsius Energy Drink Clinical Studies

Celsius lists six studies on their site, claiming that these studies prove that Celsius is useful. We’ll look at them one by one.

Study #1

The first study compared the effect of sedentary men drinking a placebo vs Celsius to measure their metabolic rate after drinking the two drinks.

Sedentary men drinking Celsius prior to moderate exercise yielded significant improvements in body composition. Participants’ results included: decreased body fat, increased lean muscle, and cardio respiratory improvements compared to exercise alone.

Celsius’s summary

This indeed is the gist of the study, but what is proven is that Celsius (which harbors a lot of caffeine) works better than a placebo, which presumably holds much less caffeine.

It mainly proves that caffeine works when coupled with exercise— nothing new to us.

Note that this study was funded by Celsius (as seen from the acknowledgments).

Study #2

The second study compared the effects of drinking Diet Coke and Celsius on the metabolic system. Celsius proved to be the more effective drink in increasing metabolism.

However…

These findings are not surprising considering that Celsius™ contains 4.4 times more caffeine than Diet Coke® per 12 oz.

It is tempting to speculate that daily consumption of Celsius™ might improve body composition over several weeks of continuous use… However, this assumes that the effects we observed on metabolic rate are sustained and not attenuated during chronic use.

..the long-term safety and efficacy of Celsius™ remains to be demonstrated.

Mendel & Hofheins, 2007

In other words, another win for the caffeine in Celsius.

Did it teach us anything new? No.

Study #3

The third study (the study listed as P8) is very similar to the first study, comparing Celsius against a placebo in terms of metabolic effect on sedentary men and women.

A glass of Celsius Energy Drink
Celsius: a glass of energy or a placebo in of itself?

While no significant difference resulted between the treatment groups, only the Celsius® group experienced a significant increase in FFM from pre to post (+2.0%; P < 0.01) versus PL group (+1.0%, P > 0.05).

Stout et al., 2008

Similarly, Celsius carries the caffeine, which we already know is useful when coupled with exercise. Nothing new here.

Celsius funded this study, as acknowledged in the paper.

Study #4

fourth study looked at drinking Celsius compared with another non-caffeinated placebo.

Percent body fat (p = 0.02) and fat mass (p = 0.01) decreased in the TD group compared to the PLA group after 28 days.

Celsius’s marketing

Understandably, caffeinated wins over non-caffeinated, which isn’t too surprising.

Note that this study tried to investigate the REE (resting energy expenditure) levels from both drinks, but found no significant difference.

Study #5

The fifth study (which was also funded by Celsius) looked at the REE (resting energy expenditure) as well as metabolism and lipolysis, REE shows how much energy will be burned when you are resting, not exercising.

Acute TD ingestion significantly increased REE, FFA and glycerol appearance.

If sustained, these changes may help to promote weight loss and improve body composition; however, these findings are currently unknown as are the general safety and efficacy of prolonged consumption

Dalbo et al. 2008

Note that this study is comparing the effects of drinking Celsius vs. drinking nothing (original condition). It does show that Celsius works (through caffeine or otherwise), but offers no new comparison with other drinks.

Study #6

The final study is similar to the first and third, checking the effect of Celsius on overweight women.

Coffee beans
Caffeine: the big player in Celsius

Overweight and obese women drinking Celsius prior to moderate exercise resulted in increased fat loss, increased muscle mass, increased endurance performance with significant improvements to blood lipid profiles when compared to exercise alone.

Celsius’s summary

Unsurprisingly, Celsius actually helps, given that it has 200mg of caffeine, which happens to be quite effective at improving exercise performance.

Are The Six Studies Reliable?

Celsius’s six studies are each over ten years old, and were funded by Celsius themselves.

These studies prove that Celsius works, but as Celsius has caffeine, we already knew that caffeine works through past studies like these.

The six studies mainly prove that Celsius works vs. no Celsius and Celsius plus exercise works vs. Celsius with no exercise.

Personally, I’ll take the studies each with a grain of salt, but all the same, the studies did not prove anything that we did not already know.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say if Celsius truly works or not. Each of the three claims (provides healthy energy, increases metabolism, burns fat) comes with their own caveats and uncertainties.

Again, I’m no scientist, so all of this is a result of good old research and some fair amount of speculation on my part.

The biggest selling point of Celsius is the MetaPlus® Proprietary Blend, but as I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, the amount for each ingredient is not stated, understandable since their “secret formula” is well, secret.

However, unless someone sends a can of Celsius to a lab for an accurate amount of each ingredient, we may never know for sure if these claims can be verified.

Celsius Grape Rush Energy Drink
At least Celsius works, that’s good.

One thing’s for sure though, with the amount of caffeine it contains, Celsius Energy Drink will definitely give you the energy boost you need, probably a lot more than a cup of coffee would.

My Opinion

Personally, I agree with some of Celsius’s claims. While Celsius may not work as an effective exercise supplement, it does give you a pretty good boost due to its high caffeine content.

Celsius markets their energy drinks as containing “natural ingredients”, but natural doesn’t always mean safe or healthy. At best, Celsius is definitely a ‘healthier’ brand of energy drink than the sugary stuff you often find.

All in all, I would recommend Celsius Energy Drink for the energy boost that it gives you, but in moderation only because of the high caffeine content.

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About Adrian Carter

Adrian writes about energy drinks and their ingredients to shine a light on the facts behind the brand names.

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