Skip to Content

Is Irn-Bru Bad For You? (Revealed)

Irn-Bru is an established beverage company known mainly for producing Scotland’s National Drink, the Irn-Bru Sparkling flavour soft drinks. In 2019, they started to ride the energy drink wave and created their own line.

However, will this new line-up live up to Irn-Bru’s reputation and provide no health complications?

Irn-Bru energy drinks are not at all bad for you when consumed reasonably. Each can contains 120mg of caffeine, 36 grams of sugar, and 153 calories. Its caffeine content is just the right amount to give you that quick boost enabling you to push through the day!

Join me as I dive deep into the aspects of why or why not Irn-Bru energy drinks are detrimental to your health.

Irn-Bru Energy Drink Ingredients

Ingredients are the basic building blocks of any product – they serve as the foundation to tell whether it is safe for consumption.

In the case of Irn-Bru energy drinks, they have presented two variants to cater to a wider part of the population:

  • Irn-Bru energy drink with sugar
  • Irn-Bru energy drink without sugar (with added sweeteners) 

Here’s a quick look at the ingredients of both variants in the table below. 

Irn-Bru Energy Drink (Regular)Irn-Bru Energy Drink (Sugar-Free)
Carbonated WaterCarbonated Water
SugarSweeteners (Acesulfame K, Aspartame)
Citric AcidCitric Acid
Taurine (0.4%)Quinine
Acidity Regulator (Trisodium Citrate)Acidity Regulator (Trisodium Citrate)
Flavourings (including Ammonium Ferric Citrate)Flavourings (including Ammonium Ferric Citrate)
Caffeine (0.032%)Caffeine (0.032%)
Vitamins B6Vitamins B6
Vitamin B12Vitamin B12
Niacin Niacin
Preservative (Sodium Benzoate)Preservative (E211)
Colours (Sunset Yellow FCF, Ponceau 4R)Colours (Sunset Yellow FCF, Ponceau 4R)
Ingredients in Irn-Bru energy drink

If you’re looking for other sugar-free energy drink alternatives, you may want to check this article right here.

Irn-Bru Energy Drink Nutrition Facts

Being aware of nutrition facts helps you in maintaining better eating habits and attaining a balanced diet plan. Since Irn-Bru Energy offers two variants, let me show you the table comparing the two of them:

NutrientIrn-Bru energy drink Sugar Version (100 ml)Irn-Bru energy drink without Sugar Version(100ml)
Of which saturates0g0g
Of which sugars11g0g
Irn-Bru Energy Drink Regular vs. Sugar-Free Nutritional Facts

Is Irn-Bru Bad For You?

Energy drinks are formulated with a variety of chemicals and other substances to ensure that they deliver results to consumers. However, there are times that the formula can become a health risk, especially when not taken in moderation.

Irn-Bru Energy drinks are not entirely bad. However, it is worth mentioning that they are not the healthiest option available.

Irn-Bru Nutrition Facts
Nutritional Label of Irn-Bru Energy

Irn-Bru can only be healthy and not cause any major harm to you as long as it is inculcated in moderation. With their rich collection of vitamins and minerals, these beverages can definitely contribute more than the caffeinated kick they offer.

If you’re someone with a healthy lifestyle and good diet who only drinks Irn-Bru Energy drink from time to time, then you don’t need to worry about its side effects.

Still, excess of everything is bad. It is especially true when it comes to packaged foods and beverages including energy drinks. There are some ingredients in Irn-Bru Energy that you’ll undeniably need to keep a check on.

Caffeine content

Irn-Bru energy drinks contain 120mg of caffeine in a 330ml can. In my own opinion, I think this level belongs on the lower middle tier when it comes to others in the market.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), only 200mg of caffeine is recommended to consume at a time.  However, the daily limit of caffeine consumption per day is 400mg per day.

Being a daily consumer of energy drinks, I try to keep caffeine content in my diet limited between 50mg to 100mg. I find it quite acceptable when I don’t consume too much as I am afraid of the backlash after the high!

For people with high caffeine tolerance levels, Irn-Bru’s level might be a good amount. However, if you are caffeine sensitive then you definitely need to rethink before consuming Irn-Bru energy drinks. I’d recommend drinking those on the lower tier varieties.

If you ever notice any of the following symptoms after drinking Irn-Bru, it might indicate that you have overdosed on caffeine. Here are the more severe effects of caffeine toxicity:

It is worth mentioning that everyone has different levels of caffeine resistance, so what is safe for me might not be good for you.

Sugar Content

In the regular variant of Irn-Bru, each 100 ml contains 11g of sugar. A 330 ml can contains approximately 36g. For me, this is definitely a red flag because I think Irn-Bru contains too much of this substance. How do I say so?

Well, the NHS recommends the daily intake of sugar for adults to be no more than 37g. The 100ml can of Irn-Bru is definitely something that falls under this requirement but what of the larger can?

In my point of view, consuming the daily recommended value of sugar through a single beverage can is too much. 36g is almost equal to 9 teaspoons of sugar – if you’re not scared of this amount then you’re in for a great surprise!

Exceeding 37g of sugar a day which is the recommended value daily can lead to health complications as:

Calorie Count

A 330 ml can of Irn-Bru contains 153 calories. This is almost equal to the calorie content of most carbonated soft drinks.

In this aspect, Irn-Bru energy drinks definitely passed the criteria! Although not entirely calorie-free, these energy drinks are a good diet beverage especially if you’re undergoing extreme workouts.

The daily recommended intake of calories depends on the metabolism, age, and levels of physical activity. The general criteria set by the NHS stated that the recommended daily calorie intake is 2500 for men and 2000 for women.

Consuming 153 calories in return for a boost of energy is not a bad deal. As long as you try to stay within your calorie intake limit, I think you’re good to go!

Still, if you’re keen on finding calorie-free energy drinks, then I might just have the right one for you.

Artificial Sweeteners

For the sugar-free version of the Irn-Bru energy drink, there are substitutes of sugar called artificial sweeteners. These are:

Acesulfame K

Acesulfame K is a synthetic substitute for sugar that is calorie-free. Although marked safe by the FDA, some researchers think that it has negative effects on health.

Acesulfame K contains methylene chloride which is a carcinogen compound. It might affect your health if consumed uncontrollably and may cause:


Aspartame is a more widely used non-saccharide sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than ordinary sucrose.

While it takes such a big amount to overdose on this substance, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Too much aspartame can cause:

Artificial Colouring

Ponceau R is a synthetic colouring used in Irn-Bru energy drinks. Studies have shown that it causes hyperactivity in children and has been banned in many countries across the globe.

However, Irn-Bru energy drinks contain this particular synthetic colouring which gives their product that exciting red hue. It was evaluated by EFSA as a potentially low toxic substance that is poorly absorbed by the digestive tract.

Still, it’s not entirely poisonous. Moderate consumption is entirely acceptable and won’t give you any adverse health effects! You can rest assured that if you’re not underaged, you won’t suffer from severe consequences.

However, if you’re not a minor, I would recommend not drinking energy drinks in general. Check this video out why energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages are not suitable for non-adults:

Is it safe for teenagers to drink energy drinks?

How Many Cans of Irn-Bru Can You Drink In A Day?

Drinking one can of Irn-Bru Energy a day is no big risk to your health. However, also consider your health status and whether you have any complications.

I would not suggest drinking more than one can of Irn-Bru energy in a day due to high caffeine and sugar content. Although there is a sugar-free version, too many energy drinks in the body can definitely cause you more harm!

Irn-Bru and other energy drinks on the shelves in a mart
Irn-Bru and other energy drinks in a mart

Consuming two cans of In-Bru in a day means you’re consuming 240 mg of caffeine, 74g of sugar, and 306 calories which is way too much even for the general criteria.

The amount of sugar is more than the recommended daily intake. Caffeine content still falls in the range recommended by EFSA but how are you so sure that your other food intake won’t contain extra caffeine?

That’s right! There are a lot of commercial products in your kitchen that contains hidden caffeine such as cereals, ice cream, and granola bars.

Can You Drink Irn-Bru Daily?

Considering the caffeine content, you can definitely incorporate 100mg of Irn-Bru energy drinks in your everyday diet without any issues. However, the problem lies in the serving you choose and the amount of sugar in each of them.

The amount of caffeine in the Irn-Bru energy drink is 120 mg which falls in the recommended caffeine intake. If you can tolerate this amount of caffeine, then go for it by all means!

Personally, 120mg caffeine is enough for me to function until the next day. This may not be the case for you, especially if you are used to consuming more than this set amount.

The sugar content in Irn-bru Energy is 36g, which is equal to the daily limit you can consume in a day. Take note that every meal you intake in a day has its own sugar content be it a savoury rice dish or some dessert.

If you’re into Irn-Bru for the taste, caffeine, and variety of minerals it offers, why not try the sugar-free version instead?

Alternatives to Irn-Bru Energy Drinks

Here are some alternatives to Irn-Bru energy drinks:

Other Notable Mentions


The key to consuming this brand and other energy drinks, in general, is moderation. But I wouldn’t say that Irn Bru is necessarily bad for you.

Its caffeine and other ingredients aren’t really harmful, and in my opinion, is just enough to energize you for the day.

For this particular beverage, what I would recommend is to try to limit your portions if you’re really keen on drinking Irn-Bru.

But of course, don’t let this keep you from enjoying Irn-Bru! As long as you watch your intake, you’ll be fine!

Related Articles

Skip to content