A healthy vegan diet isn’t a reason to forego energy drinks entirely, but you do have to inspect your preferred brand’s ingredients label very closely to see if it contains any animal-derived ingredients.
Some brands are upfront about whether or not their products are vegan-friendly, but for some brands, you have to read between the lines.
In the case of Bucked Up, the answer is right there in the can’s packaging. The brand’s logo is an enormous deer head embossed with the American flag. It so happens that all of Bucked Up’s ingredients are not animal-derived except for deer antler velvet, which effectively makes the drink NOT vegan-friendly.
In this article, I’ll be explaining why the inclusion of this ingredient goes against the tenets of veganism, so continue reading!
Bucked Up Energy Drink Ingredients
The following is a list of ingredients in Bucked Up Energy:
- Carbonated Water
- Natural Flavors
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Benzoate
- Caffeine Anhydrous
- Beta Alanine
- Acetyl L-Tyrosine
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Deer Antler Velvet
- Korean Red Ginseng
- Methylliberine (as Dynamine)
- Alpha GPC
- Pyridoxine HCL
- Theacrine (as teacrine)
As I previously mentioned, the only non-vegan-friendly ingredient in the drink is the deer antler velvet. Taurine, while popularly known to be sourced from meat (or even bull sperm), is also synthetically-produced and it’s this kind that is usually added to energy drinks.
Dynamine and Theacrine are manufactured compounds that work similarly to caffeine, which binds the adenosine receptors in the brain to avoid feelings of tiredness.
Meanwhile, Korean ginseng and Alpha GPC enhance your memory and focus, further decreasing fatigue and improving your overall performance.
Bucked Up Energy Drink Nutritional Facts
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What Do You Eat On a Vegan Diet?
With the rise of different health and fitness fads in the past years, veganism has cemented its place in our culture. If you’re thinking of making this lifestyle switch, veganism essentially boils down to saying no to any product that was made with animals or animal by-products.
If you are a vegan, you can eat plant-based meat and dairy alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk. But the diet also mostly consists of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
By committing to veganism, you can reap many health benefits such as losing weight, improved kidney function and lowered blood sugar levels. But in return, dietary restrictions can also result in vitamin deficiency.
Bucked Up Energy Drink Caffeine Content
Bucked Up contains a whopping 300 mg of caffeine per 16 oz can!
In case you don’t know, that’s a lot. A cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, and for most people, that’s already enough to give them a good energy boost for the day.
Most energy drinks usually have 50 to 250 mg of caffeine, which makes Bucked Up exceptionally high in caffeine. You can usually see this amount in pre-workout drinks, which are designed for those who have an intense exercise regimen such as bodybuilding.
I’d say that just for the caffeine alone, Bucked Up is definitely not for everyone. Keep in mind that we all have different caffeine tolerance, so even a tiny amount of caffeine can already be strong for you.
Furthermore, the FDA has also recommended a 400 mg daily caffeine intake limit. Bucked Up is still within this limit, yes, but you may also be unknowingly consuming caffeine from other sources throughout the day.
Going beyond this limit can cause side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, increased heartbeat, and caffeine dependence.
Bucked Up Energy Drink Sugar Content
These sweeteners are both popular and FDA-approved. Sucralose is calorie-free and is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, so a little certainly goes a long way. It’s often marketed under the brand name Splenda, so you’re probably familiar with it.
Meanwhile, acesulfame potassium, or ace-k, is a low-calorie sweetener that has a bitter taste. This is why it’s usually blended with other sweeteners with better taste!
According to the AHA, men should consume 36 grams of sugar daily, while women should consume 24 grams. Since Bucked Up is sugar-free, it’s safe for everyone even diabetics. However, it is reported that going above 200 mg of caffeine can affect blood sugar levels, so moderate your intake still.
Consuming excessive sugar can cause these side effects:
Bucked Up Energy Drink Calorie Content
Aside from being sugar-free, Bucked Up is also calorie-free, making it ideal for those on calorie-restricted diets like keto.
Contrary to popular belief, calories aren’t wholly harmful to you. In fact, we need them to function. It’s only when we consume more calories than we can burn in a day that they can cause weight gain and other negative effects.
This is why energy drinks that cater to those who regularly do intense exercises can often have calories included since they can help them last through their workouts.
The recommended daily intake for women is 2500 calories and for men is 2000 calories. If you often go to the gym, then a few calories in your energy drink shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you do wanna lose weight and don’t really do a lot of physical activities, calorie-free drinks like Bucked Up can be a great help!
Is Taking Deer Antler Velvet Safe?
Deer antler velvet is another ancient Chinese medicine staple that is famed for increasing strength, endurance, and shortening recovery time.
In fact, it is so good that it has been banned by the NFL and PGA for giving some athletes an unfair advantage, particularly because it contains the banned substance IGF-1. Some mild side effects of IGF-1 include headaches and even cancer.
But eventually, professional leagues and agencies eventually dropped deer antler velvet from their ban list.
In the case of Bucked Up, they source their deer antler velvet powder from only the finest red deer in New Zealand!
Is Bucked Up Energy Drink Vegan-friendly?
While the ingredient can be great for athletes, unfortunately, deer antler velvet makes Bucked Up not vegan-friendly.
This means that if you’re a vegan, you cannot consume Bucked Up. It’s not really from animal meat or a by-product like milk, but the powder or extract is taken from the body of deer.
But nevertheless, there are lots of great vegan energy drink options for you out there so don’t despair!
Energy Drink Alternatives to Bucked Up Energy Drinks
Other Notable Mentions
It’s clear that Bucked Up energy drink is definitely not safe for consumption for people who are on the vegan diet. This is due to the presence of deer antler velvet sourced from red deer.
Bad news for vegans out there, but if you’re not, Bucked Up contains a nice assortment of performance-boosting vitamins and nutrients.
However, it’s also good to take note that Bucked Up contains 300 mg of caffeine and I find that too high. Most people would be energized with just 100 mg. Imagine how keyed up you’d be with 300 mg!
Because of this, I’d only recommend Bucked Up to those who regularly exercise and have high caffeine tolerance.