Energy drinks give you a much-needed lift when trying to meet a deadline or set a new PR in the gym.
But what type of energy drinks can you have while still being in ketosis?
Well, this post covers everything you need to know about drinking energy drinks on keto. I’ll go over six keto energy drinks, how to know when you’re drinking too much and some healthier alternatives.
Can Energy Drinks Kick You Out of Ketosis?
Most energy drinks kick you out of ketosis because it contains sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. However, companies like Red Bull and Monster are creating several keto-friendly, sugar-free beverages.
So you can drink energy drinks, get a quick boost and still remain in ketosis.
But it’s important to know that although these drinks contain zero sugar, their caffeine content is high, leading to adverse health problems. Instead, opt for beverages with lower levels of caffeine.
Best Energy Drinks For Keto Dieters?
Here are six low-carb energy drinks to choose from.
Perfect Keto’s Perform
If you’re looking for the cleanest possible keto-friendly energy drink, Perfect Keto’s Perform is for you. Perfect Keto specializes in creating pure, organic keto products.
You get it in powder form, and one container makes 15 drinks. Here’s what you’ll find in one serving:
- 3 grams of fat
- 50 grams of natural caffeine
- 250 mg of magnesium
- 500 mg of sodium
- 4,500 mg of MCTs
The caffeine content isn’t high, so you won’t experience symptoms associated with excessive caffeine consumption.
I like drinking Perform around 2 PM because it helps defeat the afternoon slump.
But it’s also a good pre-workout drink. Unlike other pre-workouts filled with sugar and caffeine, Perform contains BCAAs, MCTs, sodium and magnesium. So you can load up on these nutrients before hitting the gym.
Monster Energy Zero Ultra
Monster Energy Zero Ultra is a popular keto energy drinks.
It’s sugar-free and tastes less sweet compared to other drinks, but it has a refreshing citrus flavor. In one can, there are only 100 calories and 140 mg of caffeine.
However, if you aren’t a big fan of this flavor, you’ll be happy to know that Monster offers several flavors like Paradise, Fiesta, Sunrise and Rosa.
Red Bull Total Zero
This is what’s in an 8.4 ounce Red Bull Total Zero can:
- 2 net carbs
- 80 mg of caffeine
- A sugar substitute called aspartame
- Vitamins like B6, B12 and niacin
The sugar-free, low-carb version tastes much less sweet than the original, but it isn’t bad.
Red Bull’s caffeine content is also much less than Monster. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine or want to cut down on it, then this drink is for you.
Rockstar Zero Carb Rockstar Pure
If you’re looking for a sweet sugar-free energy drink, consider Rockstar Zero Carb. The fruit punch is refreshing and you don’t get that bitter aftertaste like with other keto energy drinks.
Here are the ingredients in one 16 ounce can:
- Green tea
- B vitamins
- Sorbic acid
The caffeine combined with taurine and B vitamins makes it a delicious pre-workout drink.
MatchaBar Hustle Matcha Energy
Matcha Bar is marketed as a low-carb energy drink that allows you to focus for hours without experiencing a crash or jitters. It doesn’t contain excessive amounts of caffeine or any sugars.
Here are the ingredients in a 12-ounce can of MatchaBar:
- Ceremonial Matcha tea
- Lactic acid
- Monk fruit
- Green tea extract
- Lemon extract
- Lime extract
MatchaBar is also a plant-based energy drink, so it’s a good option for vegan keto-dieters.
Collagen Energy Shots
Vital Proteins offer a
- 90 mg of caffeine
- 7 grams of
- Vitamin B6, B12, niacin and riboflavin
- 40 calories
It also contains 4 grams of carbs which is more than most keto energy drinks; however, you’ll only need one shot per day.
Vital Proteins is known for creating products using natural ingredients to not trigger inflammation or kick you out of ketosis. You don’t crash after drinking this energy shot like you would with 5-Hour Energy.
What Energy Drink Ingredients to Avoid
When shopping for energy drinks, read the label and look for:
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
- Too much caffeine
If an energy drink contains sugar or a high caffeine content, avoid it.
Check out our guide on is Ice Sparkling water keto?
Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Like soda and fruit juices, most energy drinks are filled with sugar. This makes it taste better, but it kicks you out of ketosis.
And although sugar is terrible, high-fructose corn syrup is on another level.
High-fructose corn syrup is a cheap sweetener made from corn starch.
The problem with fructose is, it only goes to your liver. It doesn’t go to your muscles to be used for energy as glucose would. And this is why several studies link high-fructose corn syrup to fatty liver disease, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.
Too Much Caffeine
Although caffeine won’t kick you out of ketosis, excessive amounts can lead to an irregular heartbeat, high cortisol levels, insomnia, headaches and digestive issues.
But the most significant effect that caffeine has on your body is the depletion of potassium. This is because caffeine increases the release of catecholamines like adrenaline, which requires a lot of potassium.
That’s why you should stick to keto energy drinks with less than 200 mg of caffeine per can. Drinking anything more in one sitting can affect you negatively, depending on your tolerance.
How Much Energy Drinks Can I Drink Per Day?
Several studies show that the maximum amount of caffeine safe to consume is around 300 to 400 mg per day. So if you’re drinking a few cups of coffee, you should stick to one energy drink daily.
If you’re pulling all-nighters studying for exams, two energy drinks are also fine. However, this shouldn’t become a long-term habit.
Healthier Alternatives to Energy Drinks
Sugar-free energy drinks give you a nice pick-me-up without knocking you out of ketosis. However, daily, long-term consumption is dangerous because they contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Instead, opt for these alternatives.
Most people love starting the day with a cup of joe. Not only does it give you a much-needed energy boost, but you can also add MCT oil, butter or heavy cream to up your fat intake.
Personally, I drink a cup of coffee every morning with some MCT oil and butter. This can easily contain over 15 grams of fat, which keeps me full throughout the day when doing intermittent fasting.
If you’re new to the keto diet, then this keto coffee is a must. MCT oil goes straight into your bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, providing your brain with ketones needed to transition to ketosis. It’s also found to decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
You can even use decaf coffee if you’re sensitive to caffeine. Decaf coffee still contains around 2 mg of caffeine, so you’ll feel a slight boost. Combined with MCT oil and butter, you’ll be energized and full.
Studies show that tea helps reduce blood glucose levels and your risk of several diseases like osteoporosis, gum disease and cancer.
With tea, you have several healthy options:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Kombucha tea
- Matcha tea
And since tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, you can drink it later in the day without it affecting your sleep.
So if you’re exercising after work and don’t want to consume large amounts of caffeine, try making iced tea. You could add xylitol for extra flavor and ice blocks to keep you refreshed during a workout.
Smoothies is another healthy energy drink replacement. You can make a cocoa smoothie with peanut butter, and this contains some caffeine that gives you an energy boost while providing your body with critical nutrients.
Another keto option is an avocado berry smoothie. It helps with energy and hunger because it contains healthy fats and nutrients like magnesium, potassium and riboflavin.
Final Thoughts on Keto Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are a powerful tool on a ketogenic diet because they give you a quick boost in energy. Unfortunately, most companies add sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and copious amounts of caffeine.
Luckily, these six energy drinks are keto-friendly, and the caffeine content isn’t high.
And if you want to cut down on keto energy drinks, try coffee, tea or smoothies as an alternative. You could even add ice blocks and drink them during your workout.
Matt is a former college basketball player turned computer engineer who discovered his passion for health and nutrition after cutting sugar from his diet in 2016. That year he founded KetoConnect with Megha in order to share their ketogenic lifestyle through recipes, videos, and educational content. Matt is always seeking to grow and try new things, a passion he shares with his wife and two amazing sons.