Energy Drinks: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by Ireland Walker

We all need an extra kick some days to start off an early morning, and we tend to find ourselves reaching for a coffee. However, coffee is currently overpriced, can be treated as a dessert and is the root of many sugar highs. Fortunately, energy drinks can leave these problems behind and are another way to go. Energy drinks have the same effects as coffee and are all the more refreshing without the calories, extra sugar and the headache. 

There is definitely a stigma around energy drinks, but we are here to help you navigate the good, the bad and the ugly of energy drinks.

The main reason people drink energy drinks is for a boost of energy from caffeine. Per 16 fluid ounces (1 can), these drinks have varying amounts of caffeine. A healthy/safe amount of caffeine intake per day is around 400 milligrams. 

  • Celsius: 200 mg 
  • Red Bull: 151 mg 
  • Monster: 160 mg 
  • Rockstar: 160 mg 

The Good 


Celsius is advertised to provide essential energy and is clinically proven to accelerate metabolism and burn body fat when exercising.

  • Celsius is packed with Vitamin B and Vitamin C.
  • Celsius also contains chromium. Known to help control hunger, chromium is an essential trace mineral that normalizes blood sugar levels and helps enhance the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
  • Celsius includes green tea extract (contains a specific ratio of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) — the compound that scientists have found boosts your metabolism and helps your body burn more calories.
  • Celsius has traces of guarana seed extract (contains over twice the amount of caffeine than the average coffee bean). 
  • Celsius contains ginger root (helps support the process of thermogenesis as well as create a positive effect on the digestive system). 

Ingredients: Carbonated Filtered Water, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color

All Celsius drinks are vegan, non GMO, kosher and gluten free. Celsius has zero sugar and zero calories per 16 fluid ounces.

Most popular flavors:

  • Sparkling Orange
  • Sparkling Tropical Vibe
  • Sparkling Wild Berry
  • Sparkling Fuji Apple Pear
  • Sparkling Strawberry Guava

The Bad 

Redbull (original)

Redbull has been around longer than Celsuis, Monster and Rockstar energy drinks, but it does not have the best track record. Redbull claims to vitalize the mind and body, but oftentimes people have received an all too high intake of caffeine from drinking Redbull. If consumed in moderation, Redbull can give effects of temporary energy.

  • Redbull is packed with B-vitamins.
  • Redbull contains taurine (an amino acid, naturally occurring in the human body and present in the daily diet. It is involved in a wide range of biological processes).
  • Redbull  includes real sugar.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine HCI, Vitamin B12, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors

A classic Red Bull has 110 calories and 27 grams of sugar per 16 fluid ounces. Redbull does not contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, GMOs or other artificial ingredients and is vegan, kosher and gluten free. Red Bull also has added sugars and chemicals that other energy drinks do not have, which is listed as artificial flavors.

The Ugly

Monster Energy (original)

Monster Energy is known to be one of the most unhealthy energy drinks. It has 230 calories per 16 fluid ounces and 54 grams of sugar. That is well over the daily suggested sugar intake, and it has an overabundance of vitamins for a daily intake. 

  • Monster contains taurine (an amino acid, naturally occurring in the human body and present in the daily diet, that is involved in a wide range of biological processes).
  • Monster includes guarana extract (contains over twice the amount of caffeine than the average coffee bean).

Ingredients: Glucose, Taurine, Panax Ginseng Extract, l-Carnitine, Caffeine, Glucuronolactone, Inositol, Guarana Extract, Maltodextrin

The first ingredient in Monster is glucose, which is a sugar. Monster energy drinks are vegan and gluten free. Even though it has similar minerals and vitamins to that of Celsius, it also has artificial colors, flavors and chemicals. Drink in moderation and be cautious of the level of sugar and caffeine in Monster.


Rockstar notably has the lowest rating and worst benefits for your health. It has 278 calories and 59 grams of sugar per 16 fluid ounces. It is advertised to keep you focused, but with the added calories and sugar, you are better off having fruit to give you more energy and less calories. The high levels of sugar and caffeine mixed are not a healthy choice for wanting extra energy. 

  • Rockstar contains taurine (an amino acid, naturally occurring in the human body and present in the daily diet, involved in a wide range of biological processes).
  • Rockstar includes guarana extract (contains over twice the amount of caffeine than the average coffee bean).

Ingredients : Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine, Caramel Color, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Glucuronolactone, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Inositol, L-Carnitine, Guarana Seed Extractive, Milk Thistle Extractives, Niacinamide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Panax Ginseng Root Extractives, Yellow 5, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Cyanocobalamin.

Rockstar is not kosher, non GMO and vegan. It contains several additives and artificial dyes and colors (yellow 5). The second and third ingredients are sugar, meaning that this drink is filled with more sugar than energy. It has preservatives and syrups that are not beneficial in a healthy diet.

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