Diet Energy Drinks

Not Many Calories, a Lot of Caffeine, Weird Flavors

A couple of my walking buddies like having a Red Bull energy drink as they get near the end of a long endurance walk. But these expensive drinks aren't designed for endurance sports. For one thing, they are carbonated, so you can't pack them with you without causing a geyser when you open them. Instead, most are meant to appeal to youth to give a burst of energy from caffeine and caffeine-like substances. But I was tempted to try the diet versions - not when walking, but when facing a mind-numbing afternoon at work. My taste test definitely produced winners and spit-out losers.


Celsius Sparkling Orange
Celsius Sparkling Orange. Courtesy of Amazon

Celsius touts itself as a negative-calorie drink. They have a MetaPlus(r) blend of metabolism-boosters that include green tea extract, ginger extract, caffeine, guarana, B-vitamins, biotin, Vitamin C, calcium, and chromium. What they don't have is sugar, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives. They have a variety of sparkling flavors and are about 10 calories per can. I didn't mind the cola flavor, but the other flavors had that off-taste you get with these energy drinks. Yes, I could feel the energy boost, which is the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.

Lo-Carb Monster Energy Drink

Lo-Carb Monster Energy Drink
Lo-Carb Monster Energy Drink. Courtesy of Amazon

This one doesn't taste bad, it just has a taste that makes you think "what the heck is that taste?" After searching online, the two best descriptions are "melon-citrus" or "banana candy." It has 20 calories per 16-ounce can. The energy elements are caffeine, L-carnitine, guarana, inositol, glucuronolactone, maltodextrin, and glucose. I might have gotten a mild jolt from this, but it didn't last long.

Red Bull Sugar Free

Red Bull Sugarfree
Red Bull Sugarfree. Courtesy of Amazon

Red Bull is the pioneer of this genre of energy drinks, but it comes in a small can of 8.3 fluid ounces. There is a theory that it packs more caffeine into a smaller volume, which makes it more of an energy shot. But the flavor is a giant stumbling block for me. It tastes like diluted, carbonated cough syrup, with a nasty medicinal aftertaste. It packs in caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone, niacin, sodium citrate, and inositol for energy. The diet version has only 10 calories per can.

Rockstar Sugar Free

Rockstar Sugar Free
Wendy Bumgardner © 2007

I took one swig of this and didn't want any more. The carbonated cough syrup flavor is simply nasty. I passed it around to two of my walking buddies and they both agreed. We dumped out the rest of the 16-ounce can. It has 20 calories per 16-ounce can. It boasts ginkgo, milk thistle extract, guarana, caffeine, taurine, l-carnitine, inositol, and B vitamins.

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