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Is Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan? (Detailed)

Are you wondering whether Mountain Dew Kickstart will make a good fit into your vegan diet?

For the short answer, Mountain Dew Kickstart is a vegan drink, if you’re looking at it from a health perspective and its ingredients. But it also includes colorings that may be non-vegan friendly for ethical vegans.

If you want to know more about the details of this verdict, join me in a thorough analysis of its ingredients and how Mountain Dew Kickstart may affect your specific diets.

Let’s get right into it…

Are Energy Drinks Vegan?

Energy drinks are, from an ingredients perspective, usually suitable for vegan diets, although the specific ethics of how certain ingredients are handled in the processing phase may be concerning for some.

For starters, to know if something is vegan or not, we need to know what veganism and having a vegan diet means. Based on an article from WebMD, a vegan diet is characterized by a plant-based diet avoiding meats and animal-derived foods.

Meanwhile, according to HealthLine, veganism is defined as…

A way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it from food, clothing, or any other purpose

So whether your a diet-based vegan or an ethically-conscious one, whether or not an energy drink happens to be vegan or not depends on two factors, the core ingredients of the drink, and your own personal beliefs.

As such, there’s really no way to properly determine if an energy drink is vegan enough for you specifically, but we can do the second-best thing and present you with all the facts you need to know about Mountain Dew Kickstart, in order for you to make an informed choice.

If you’re new to the vegan diet or you need some more help in understanding the food labels of products that you might want to try, here’s a video that looks at it from a general perspective.

Mountain Dew Kickstart Nutrition Facts

Next, let’s look into the nutritional value of a 16fl. oz can of Mountain Dew Kickstart:

Typical ValueMountain Dew Kickstart
(per 16 fl.oz can)
Energy80 calories
(Of which Sugars)
Mountain Dew Kickstart nutrition facts
A picture of Mountain Dew Kickstart Nutrition Label
The nutrition facts of Mountain Dew Kickstart on the back of the can

Mountain Dew Kickstart Ingredients List

Next, the ingredients in Mountain Dew Kickstart, as shown below:

  • Carbonated Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Juice Concentrate
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Polyphosphates (Preservative)
  • Natural Flavor
  • Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)
  • Caffeine
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Gum Arabic
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Artificial Sweetener)
  • Sucralose (Artificial Sweetener)
  • Red 40 (Coloring)
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA
  • Salt
  • Sucrose
  • Acetate Isobutyrate
  • Blue 1 (Coloring)
Mountain Dew Kickstart Ingredients List
Mountain Dew Kickstart ingredient label

Are The Ingredients in Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan-Friendly?

Below is an easy-to-read table showing whether or not the ingredients in Mountain Dew Kickstart are vegan-friendly.

IngredientPropertiesSourcesIs It Vegan?
Juice ConcentrateFlavoringPlant-BasedYES
Citric AcidNatural PreservativePlant-Based/SyntheticYES
Sodium PolyphosphatesFlavor ProtectantSyntheticYES
Natural FlavorFlavoringPlant-BasedYES
Potassium SorbatePreservativeSyntheticYES
Potassium CitrateFlavoringSyntheticYES
Potassium ChlorideFlavoring and StabilizerSyntheticYES
Gum ArabicStabilizerPlant-BasedYES
Acesulfame PotassiumArtificial SweetenerSyntheticYES
Red 40Artificial ColorSyntheticMight NOT be
Calcium Disodium EDTAFlavor ProtectantSyntheticYES
Acetate IsobutyrateStabilizerSyntheticYES
Blue 1Artificial ColorSyntheticMight NOT be
Table showing whether Mountain Dew Kickstart’s ingredients are vegan or not

I’ve also cross-referenced the findings with PETA‘s animal-derived ingredients list, so there shouldn’t be much difference between the two.

As we can see, most of the ingredients in Mountain Dew Kickstart are, in fact, vegan. Except for a few notable ingredients. I expand on the details about the possibly non-vegan ingredients further in this article.

Mountain Dew Kickstart Caffeine Content

Caffeine is the staple in many energy drinks, including Mountain Dew Kickstart, due to its benefits if taken moderately. The benefits include boosting cognitive performance, reaction time, and short-term memory.

As such, it’s an important part of what makes a drink that promises to boost your energy. There’s 90mg of caffeine content present in a single can of Mountain Dew Kickstart.

Although, no matter if you’re a vegan for your health or due to the ethics behind it. It’s still important to consider the possible impacts of long-term caffeine consumption on your health.

The recommended daily intake for healthy adults is 400mg of caffeine. Of course, this number varies for every individual. A way to know if you might be past your own caffeine limit is to note if you experience these symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased thirst
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Irritability

This is why I discourage high caffeine intake if you’re:

  • An adolescent or younger
  • Pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • Sensitive to caffeine
  • Taking medications
  • Have a difficult time falling asleep

Likewise, this is only my opinion, and you should always check with your doctor if you’re still unsure whether Mountain Dew Kickstart is suitable for you.

Mountain Dew Kickstart Sugar Content

Sugar is known to give us that short-term boost, but it’s important to take note that some of it is merely empty calories. Meaning they do give us energy but no nutrients.

That said, Mountain Dew Kickstart contains 20g of sugar per 16fl. oz, which is a modest amount compared to some sugary energy drinks.

While having just one can of Mountain Dew Kickstart is fine, constantly reaching out for multiple cans in a day may lead to notable effects such as:

  • Higher Blood Pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty Liver Disease

Thus, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind AHA‘s recommended maximum daily sugar intake of 25g for women and 36g for men.

Are the Artificial Sweeteners in Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan?

If you’ve been practising a vegan diet for a while, the labels sucrose and sucralose might already ring some warning bells for you as some may question if they’re ethically processed or not.


For a quick answer, Sucralose isn’t 100% vegan.

Although, sucralose can be considered vegan-friendly since it’s an artificial sweetener that doesn’t have any animal products or byproducts. Some manufacturers also say that it’s not processed using any animal product (such as bone char).

So, why isn’t it 100% vegan?

Some vegans have shown concerns over reports stating that sucralose was tested on animals before being approved by the FDA.

A jar full of sugar cubes
Do you know your sugar?


Sucrose isn’t 100% vegan. The filtering process of some sugars (sucrose) uses bone char, which is an animal byproduct.

Sucrose, or sugar (as it’s most known for), is the usual sweetener that we think of when we say sugar. Although, when we ask ourselves if it’s vegan or not, that’s when the line gets a little bit blurry.

Sucrose is usually commercially obtained from sugar beets or sugar canes. However, the process for sugar canes isn’t considered vegan.

This is due to bone char, animal’s bone ash, being widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter. Thus, for some sugars, an animal byproduct is used in its filtering process.

However, I wouldn’t worry too much over whether or not the sugar is sourced ethically as leading a vegan lifestyle is already good enough, according to PETA themselves.

But of course, you can always contact Mountain Dew Kickstart’s manufacturer for confirmation, or you can even opt for sugar-free energy drinks.

Is The Caffeine in Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan?

Caffeine, by itself, is vegan-friendly since it’s naturally sourced from roughly 60 plant species, mainly cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans.

The processing of these sources is also vegan-friendly as they don’t include meat or any of its byproducts.

So, the caffeine present in Mountain Dew Kickstart is definitely vegan.

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan-Certified?

Mountain Dew Kickstart isn’t vegan-certified as there is no indication of any vegan certification on the can.

This might already be a warning signal for you if you do practice a vegan diet, especially for ethical reasons.

If you’re curious about how products get vegan-certified, here’s a video that shares how certifies products as vegan. The part about vegan certification starts at around 4:23.

How Do Products Get Vegan Certified

Is The High Fructose Corn Syrup in Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan?

The high fructose corn syrup used in Mountain Dew Kickstart is 100% vegan as it’s derived from corn starch.

High fructose corn syrup is produced by processing cornstarch. The manufacturers break down the molecules of corn into glucose, then restructures it into fructose (another type of sweetener usually found in fruits).

Since the process and the actual source abides by the rules of a vegan diet, you can rest assured as high fructose corn syrup is indeed vegan-friendly.

Are the Colorings in Mountain Dew Kickstart Vegan?

Ingredients-wise, the artificial colorings present in Mountain Dew Kickstart, namely Red 40 and Blue 1, are synthetically manufactured, hence, vegan. But some may argue otherwise due to possible animal testings.

Artificial colors are typically synthetic and don’t contain any animal derivatives.

Red 40 is a colour additive that’s derived from petroleum. It’s commonly used in cereals, dairy products as well as beverages.

On the other hand, Blue 1, also known as ‘Brilliant Blue’, is sourced from oil and can be found in frozen dairy and desserts.

But, if you chose a vegan diet mainly due to the ethics and the moral message, you may be voting against Mountain Dew Kickstart as these colours are tested on animals.

Overall, it ultimately depends on where you stand as a vegan and how strict you are with specific ingredients in this energy drink. Thus, drinking Mountain Dew Kickstart is relatively fine if you’re more health focused.

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart Gluten-Free?

Based on the ingredients list, Mountain Dew Kickstart seems to be free of grains that might contain gluten or any byproducts or traces of it. Thus, Mountain Dew Kickstart a gluten-free option for an energy drink.

The absence of derivatives of wheat, barley and rye products in Mountain Dew Kickstart makes it suitable for your gluten-free diet or if you have celiac disease.

But it’s still not the healthiest energy drink due to its caffeine and sugar content. If you’re conscious about your decisions for health, you may want to limit your daily intake.

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart Good for A Keto Diet?

Because of the number of carbs, calories, and sugar in Mountain Dew Kickstart, it’s not a suitable option if you’re practising a keto diet.

A Keto diet is characterized by low carb and high-fat diet to consume more of your stored fat for energy. Thus, the positive effects of the diet on weight loss and overall health.

A standard keto diet has diet proportions of having 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs.

With this in mind, the 21g of Carbohydrates, along with the sugar in Mountain Dew Kickstart is a hard pass if you’re on a keto diet.

A picture of a salad bowl
High fat and low Carb is the way for Keto

The 10% of carbs allotted in this diet can instead go to the good and low carb foods that can help more with making your keto diet sustainable.

Final Thoughts

Mountain Dew Kickstart is indeed vegan-friendly from a health perspective, although the use of colorings in this energy drink may raise some ethical concerns.

As some ingredients are debatable and not really vegan, I have to say Mountain Dew Kickstart may not be for you if you’re an ethical vegan and only support cruelty-free products.

But, this energy drink can complement your vegan diet in terms of health benefits, as long as you keep a healthy limit.

Again, the final decision depends on your veganism which is why I recommend checking the nutrition facts and ingredients list of the product so you can make an informed decision.

Although, it’s always best to consult your healthcare specialist or dietitian when you’re going to decide on a dietary change.

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