Irn-Bru Energy is the energy drink introduced by AG Barr, the manufacturer of the Irn-Bru soft drink.
For those who don’t know, Irn-Bru is the most popular beverage in Scotland after whiskey and the energy drink Irn-Bru seeks to make the same impact as its predecessor.
Since its launch in 2019, Irn-Bru Energy has been the target of some questions and one of them is, “Is Irn-Bru Energy vegan?” Well, to answer it shortly, Irn-Bru Energy is 100% vegan-friendly as the company claims it.
But is there any truth to these claims? How about you accompany me as I look at Irn-Bru Energy’s ingredients in detail to determine whether it’s vegan or not.
Let us begin…
Irn-Bru Energy: A Brief Overview
For starters, Irn-Bru Energy has two versions: Irn-Bru Energy (which contains sugar) and Irn-Bru Energy Sugarfree.
Each of these versions comes in a 330ml (11 fl.oz) can and contains 120mg of caffeine.
Irn-Bru Energy also contains 37g of sugar and 153 calories, while Irn-Bru Energy Sugarfree contains artificial sweeteners instead of sugar and also has significantly fewer calories.
Ingredients in Irn-Bru Energy
Irn-Bru Energy contains the following ingredients:
- Artificial sweeteners Acesulfame K and Aspartame (in the sugar-free version)
- Carbonated water
- Quinine (Used instead of Taurine in the sugar-free version)
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Citric acid and trisodium citrate (as acidity regulators)
- Preservative (Sodium Benzoate, also called E211)
- Colours (Ponceau 4r and Sunset Yellow FCF)
A quick look at this list shows that there isn’t any obvious non-vegan ingredient in the blend of Irn-Bru Energy. We’ll dig a bit deeper later on in the article, just to be sure.
Irn-Bru Energy’s Nutritional Values
Here are the nutritional values for Irn-Bru Energy and Irn-Bru Energy Sugar-free.
|Nutrient||Irn-Bru Energy||Irn-Bru Energy Sugar-free|
|Energy||153 calories||Around 25.5 calories|
|Of which saturates||0g||0g|
|Of which sugars||37g||0g|
As you can see, Irn-Bru Energy contains a large amount of sugar, as well as a significant number of calories. Therefore, you may have to make some changes in your diet if you’re to consume it daily.
Caffeine Contents of Irn-Bru Energy
Both versions of Irn-Bru Energy contain 120 milligrams of caffeine in every 330ml (11 fl.oz) can.
Caffeine is either extracted from natural sources or prepared in the lab so it is vegan-friendly.
This amount is a bit higher than the usual 80 milligrams, but it should also be noted that Irn-Bru has a larger can as compared to the standard 250ml (8.4 fl.oz).
Even though it’s slightly higher than average, it still isn’t as ridiculously high as 300mg, which some other brands have. That said, caffeine-intolerant people should be mindful of their tolerance when consuming Irn-Bru Energy, if it makes you jittery or overstimulated, then it’s probably not for you.
As for the boost, Irn-Bru Energy should provide a nice and strong boost, since it has high amounts of both caffeine and sugar. Though you may experience a sugar crash with the normal version.
One thing you should always keep in mind is that there is a limit to how much caffeine you should have in one serving, and in a day. And it is no more than 200mg per serving, and 400 per day, as recommended by the EFSA
Ingesting more caffeine than you should has some drawbacks, which are:
- Heart palpitations and more
So it is best if you don’t consume too many caffeinated beverages in a day, especially if they are energy drinks like Irn-Bru Energy which have a lot of sugar and calories in them.
How many calories does Irn-Bru Energy have?
Irn-Bru Energy provides you with a good 153 calories with each can. However, Irn-Bru Sugar-free has a lot fewer calories, around 25 per 300ml (10 fl.oz).
As you guys know, calories are the fuel on which the human body operates. So the more calories you ingest, the more energy you should have, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The NHS recommends up to 2000 and 2500 calories for women and men, respectively, to consume in a day. This is of course a rough estimate and your actual values can differ based on height, weight, gender, etc.
Now, whether the 153-calorie Irn-Bru Energy or the low-calorie Irn-Bru Energy Sugar-free is the best for you depends on how many calories you consume and your level of activity.
If someone isn’t a generally active person, then they might already be living in a caloric surplus due to not moving around too much, which means that an extra 153 calories might make them gain weight.
On the contrary, a person who eats reasonably and moves around a lot, be it walking around the square, working out, swimming, or any sport, then they will have no trouble in burning off 153 calories.
So I would recommend that you decide based on your diet, level of activity and personal goals, and not just preference, because overconsumption of calories over long periods of time can cause obesity, which can be a cause of a plethora of problems.
These problems include significantly higher risks of:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Some types of cancer, including but not limited to breast or bowel cancer
Other issues are:
- Decreased quality of life
- Low self-esteem.
Therefore you must keep track of your calories, while also making time for some physical activity daily.
Sugar in Irn-Bru Energy
The regular version of Irn-Bru Energy contains 37grams of sugar. Which is completely vegan.
So consuming more sugar than the recommended limit in a single energy drink is just not an option if you ask me. This is especially true because many of the foods we eat during the day have a lot of added sugars in them.
Sugar is delicious, and sugary energy drinks are even more delicious, but the cons are simply much more prominent than the pros in this case.
For instance, when you drink a sugary energy drink you may get a huge increase in your energy levels, but when the sugar in your system runs out, you will be left experiencing the dreaded sugar crash.
Look out for these symptoms if you want to know whether you’re going through a crash:
- Increased hunger
- Difficulty in focusing or concentrating
But these aren’t the only side-effects of sugar overdose. Overdosing on sugar for the span of years can cause these long-term health problems:
- Type II Diabetes
- Brain fog, or decreased energy levels
- Weight gain due to cravings
- Heart diseases
- Skin problems
- Mood disorders
- Teeth decay
Long story short, just drink the sugar-free Irn-Bru Energy to decrease your chances of sugar overdose by a large portion.
Are the Ingredients in Irn-Bru Energy vegan?
Now let’s look at the ingredients in Irn-Bru Energy to see if they are truly vegan.
We’ve already covered sugar and caffeine, so now let’s look at the other ingredients to see if they are truly vegan.
Taurine exists naturally in the human body and is essential for many bodily functions.
There is a popular misconception that Taurine in energy drinks comes from animals. While it is true that many animals have Taurine in their bodies, it is simply too inefficient to extract it from them.
Acesulfame K and Aspartame are the artificial sweeteners used in Irn-Bru Energy Sugar-free.
Acesulfame K is simply a mineral salt and so it is vegan. Aspartame is also a vegan-friendly sweetener.
Irn-Bru Energy is a great vitamin B supplement, and I would recommend it to vegans for this reason. Since most Vitamin B12 is found in animal-based foods, it is therefore important for vegans to use a Vitamin B12 supplement.
And yes, the vitamins in Irn-Bru Energy are artificially prepared and are vegan-friendly
Citric acid and trisodium citrate are the acidity regulators used in Irn-Bru Energy. Both are considered to be vegan.
Irn-Bru Energy also uses certain additives in its formula.
Sodium Benzoate or E211 is the preservative used in Irn-Bru Energy and it is prepared by reacting Benzene with Sodium Hydroxide, so it is completely vegan.
Both colours are free of any traces of animal-based matter and can be considered vegan.
Is Irn-Bru Energy Vegan?
Irn-Bru Energy is completely vegan.
As we’ve established by examining the ingredients in it, there’s no room for doubt now. Irn-Bru Energy doesn’t contain any animal protein and is therefore alright for vegans and vegetarians to drink it.
Have a hard time convincing a certain someone to go vegan? Here is a really good Ted Talk by Ed Winters where he debunks most arguments made against veganism. So the next time you’re debating about your views you’ll have an easier time.
Is Irn-Bru Energy bad for you?
I wouldn’t necessarily call Irn-Bru Energy an unhealthy energy drink. Its caffeine contents, which in many energy drinks are very high, are actually pretty decent for its size. The only concerning factor is the high amount of sugar in it.
But even that ceases to become an issue when you see that there is a sugar-free version of Irn-Bru Energy available. So anyone who is concerned about the sugar contents can just go for the sugar-free Irn-Bru Energy.
The sugar-free version even has significantly fewer calories, so it’s good even for those who are trying to lose weight or remain in a caloric deficit.
Even the standard version is pretty safe as long as you’re smart with it. You just can’t drink it every single day, and you may have to cut down on sugar significantly for a couple of days to counteract the extra sugar.
Where to buy Irn-Bru Energy?
Irn-Bru Energy, being from the same manufacturer that made the Irn-Bru soft drink, is readily available throughout Scotland and the UK. But if you’re interested in buying online, you can get it from online stores like Amazon or eBay.
As for the price, a 12 pack of Irn-Bru Energy off of Amazon costs 13.99 euros, which roughly translates to a bit over 1 Euro for a single can.
The sugar-free version is more expensive, but not with much of a margin. It comes in at 16.87 euros for a 12-pack. I would personally recommend that you buy this version, as it’s much safer than its counterpart.
Irn-Bru Energy is a good energy drink that is safe for most people to drink. Be it vegan people, gluten-sensitive people, or people who are just looking for a strong boost with the classic taste of Irn-Bru.
Overall, it’s pretty well-rounded with a slightly high caffeine content, some calories, and B-Vitamins, but with a somewhat worrying amount of sugar.
But thankfully it also comes in a sugar-free variant, so that even diabetic people can enjoy the goodness of Irn-Bru Energy.