A huge part of going vegan entails that you have to make extra considerations in order to incorporate plant-based substances in your diet only – while going the extra mile and researching about brands to figure out whether they conduct their manufacturing processes ethically or not.
It’s easy to forego considerations such as these when it comes to energy drinks, however, since they’re so widely consumed. Keeping this in mind, however, are energy drinks vegan?
However, in the case of one such energy drink brand – namely, Red Bull – it is difficult to ascertain whether or not it is truly vegan. Here, you can read up about the ingredients used in Red Bull to ascertain “Is Red Bull Vegan” – and whether you, as a vegan, should consider it okay to consume Red Bull daily.
What is Red Bull?
If you’ve ever had to pull all-nighters at work or for a due-at-midnight assignment, then you must have turned to Red Bull for your quick caffeine fix. Red Bull is preferred and by far the most popular energy drink for those who don’t like to consume caffeine from their tea or coffee.
Some prefer the slightly acidic and sweet taste of Red Bull to get their hit of energy, which makes this energy drink so popular – especially considering their many flavors and sugar-free alternatives.
Red Bull does not utilize any animal-derived ingredients in its production, making it 100% vegan – however, there are a few intricacies to this statement as far as ethical manufacturing processes are concerned.
Is Red Bull Cruelty Free?
While Red Bull may be completely vegan, the same cannot be said of the ethical value of their manufacturing processes. According to PETA, Red Bull tests their products and subsequent ingredients on animals, such as the artificial coloring in Red Bull.
This is clearly unethically and completely unnecessary, making it a difficult choice for vegans to opt for it when they want an energy drink for their caffeine intake.
What are the Ingredients in Red Bull
Some vegans consider sugar to be vegan because it does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. However, some sugar production methods involve the use of bone char, which is made from animal bones this process raises ethical concerns in products like Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Mike and Ikes, Tootsie Rolls, etc for some vegans
Sucrose is used for the purpose of sweetening Red Bull to make its flavor more appealing, and it is also derived from vegetables.
3. Magnesium Carbonate
This substance is used in Red Bull for the purposes of retaining the artificial color used in Red Bull as well as making it more nutritious – and it is also derived from plants.
4. Citric Acid
Citric Acid helps in Red Bull to be stored for a long time while also giving it a slightly acidic flavor that adds to its appeal – and it is mostly derived from bacteria and vegetables.
5. Pyridoxine HCI, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate
All of these substances are variations of vitamins used in Red Bull and are made with synthetic materials and processes, making them completely vegan.
Lastly, taurine is by far the most controversial ingredient in the Red Bull ingredient list. Many even consider Red Bull to not be vegan since it contains taurine – because one of the most popular sources for taurine is bull semen. However, the taurine in Red Bull is synthetically produced and used as a physical stimulant in caffeine.
Flavors of Redbull
The original flavor of Red Bull is what everyone who consumes this caffeinated beverage is familiar with. The original Red Bull energy drink has around as much caffeine as is present in a cup of filter coffee, with the sugar levels being around those of a glass of orange juice.
Additionally, as said before, one can of the Red Bull energy drink supplies important B vitamins as well as the amino acid taurine, all of which are derived from plant-based substances – thereby making this flavor of Red Bull completely vegan.
The sugar-free variety of Red Bull does not compromise on the richness of the taste of this caffeinated drink in any way.
Instead of the sugars derived from beets in non-sugar free varieties of Red Bull, one can of the Red Bull Sugar free contains sweeteners such as Acesulfame K and Aspartame – both of which contain minimal to no calories in order to sweeten the contents of the Red Bull Sugarfree. Both of these sweeteners are synthetically produced, making this drink vegan as well.
The Yellow Edition of Red Bull differs from its other varieties by claiming a more tropical taste, with most of its ingredient composition remaining the same. Except for the artificial coloring, there are no ingredients in Red Bull Yellow that make it a gray area in terms of being suitable for vegans.
This variety of Red Bull offers a fruitier taste than usual, with the caloric and sugar content being identical to the original version – making it completely vegan as well.
The Red Bull Summer Edition is perfect for those who like their caffeine cold and refreshing. The peachy flavor makes it a great option for those who do not prefer the slightly acerbic taste of the original Red Bull.
Once again, the Summer Edition for Red Bull is completely vegan and does not use animal-derived ingredients – other than, of course, the artificial color.
5. Red Bull Purple Edition
Once again, Red Bull introduces a special, fruity taste to their caffeinated drink in the form of the Red Bull Purple Edition drink. This drink is especially flavored with acai berry, making this yet another refreshing drink to derive your daily intake of caffeine from.
Like the other varieties of Red Bull, this can of Purple Red Bull is also fully vegan except for the artificial coloring, which Red Bull performs animal tests with.
Potential Side Effects of Drinking Red Bull
1. Risks of Caffeine Overdose
The consumption of caffeine, while it may seem incredibly useful if you need to stay awake for an important task, may be quite detrimental if it is in excess. The risks of consuming too much caffeine may be higher for those under the age of 19, as it is recommended that they consume caffeine below 100 mg per day.
As for adults over the age of 19, caffeine consumption should be limited to under 400 mg per day – meaning that several cans of Red Bull may result in caffeine overdose, and the individual may begin to display symptoms such as increased heart rate, hallucinations, nausea, and anxiety.
2. Detrimental for Kidney Health
While there aren’t many studies that display a direct correlation between the consumption of Red Bull and the effect on kidney function, it may be inferred that frequent and over consumption of Red Bull may result in poor kidney health.
Given the high rates of sugar present in Red Bull, the over consumption of sugar may lead to your kidneys being affected drastically. Coupled with this, a study performed on rates has provided evidence that consuming Red Bull can indeed affect your kidneys negatively.
3. Increased Risks of Type 2 Diabetes
Once again, the high amount of sugar present in Red Bull may affect your health negatively. While this is just a possibility, consuming large amounts of this sweetened caffeine drink can indeed contribute to Type 2 diabetes.
According to studies, consuming around 2 servings of sweetened beverages every day increases your predisposition to diabetes by around 26%. Hence, Red Bull should be consumed in moderation so as to prevent the possibility of the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes.
4. Incurs Damage to Teeth
The acidic content present in Red Bull might be quite detrimental to your teeth – and more specifically, the enamel present on your teeth – which is the hard outer covering of the teeth. As said, the exposure of the enamel of your teeth to acidic substances such as Red Bull expedites the corrosion of the layer of enamel faster.
Once this layer is stripped away, your teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay and similar conditions. While the consumption of soft drinks can result in bad dental health as well, Red Bull is especially detrimental owing to the high amount of acidic substances present in it.
5. Increases Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
As expected, the caffeine present in Red Bull is high owing to it being an energy drink – and this is especially risky for those who are previously predisposed to heart disease or high blood pressure.
The consumption of Red Bull has resulted in a high heart rate for up to 24 hours after – increasing several risks for high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, and the like. While these are rare possibilities if Red Bull is consumed in moderation, there are increased risks for younger people in the form of irregular heartbeat and heart attacks.
While there are many questions that arise as to whether a vegan should consume Red Bull as their daily caffeine fix or not, it is something that largely depends on personal preference. While all the ingredients used in Red Bull are either synthetic or derived from plants, they do conduct testing on animals – making Red Bull lie in the gray area of being a vegan-safe drink.
However, there are multiple replacements for the same for caffeinated vegan energy drinks that you can consume instead of Red Bull such as Gatorade, Dr Pepper, Sodas, Mountain Dew, Monster Energy, etc. Additionally, if you’re going to be consuming Red Bull every day, it is a good idea to keep the aforementioned health considerations in mind.