Red Bull has been a popular energy drink and mixer for decades, but many of my keto friends have asked me if they can still have Red Bull on a Ketogenic Diet. I visited local stores and did all the research on every variety of Red Bull and I’m sharing that research here so you will know if Red Bull is keto friendly.
Is Red Bull Keto Safe? Red Bull has lots of varieties and flavors, and most are not keto friendly, but the few sugar-free varieties of Red Bull are safe on a Keto Diet. The sugar free varieties do use artificial sweeteners which should be considered carefully when eating a ketogenic diet.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how many carbs are in Red Bull, and any other ingredients that might be good or bad for a ketogenic diet.
How Many Carbs Are In Red Bull?
The number of carbohydrates in Red Bull varies wildly by flavor. I visited a few local grocery stores and collected the nutritional data on all of the flavors of Red Bull that they carried into the table below.
|Red Bull Flavor||Carbs||Keto Friendly?|
|Red Bull (Original)||28 grams||No|
|Red Bull Sugar Free||3 grams||Yes – Sweetener? *|
|Red Bull Zero||2 grams||Yes – Sweetener? *|
|Red Bull Green||40 grams||No|
|Red Bull Winter||40 grams||No|
|Red Bull Coconut||40 grams||No|
|Red Bull Pear Sugar Free||2 grams||Yes – Sweetener? *|
|Red Bull Peach||40 grams||No|
|Red Bull Red||41 grams||No|
|Red Bull Yellow||29 grams||No|
|Red Bull Blue||41 grams||No|
|Red Bull Lime Sugar Free||2 grams||Yes – Sweetener? *|
|Red Bull Purple Sugar Free||2 grams||Yes – Sweetener? *|
|Red Bull Orange||40 grams||No|
* Learn more below about the artificial sweeteners used.
As you can see, the vast majority of Red Bull flavors are not keto friendly because they are simply too high in carbohydrates.
However, Red Bull does currently offers five sugar free varieties which certainly fit within the carb limits of a ketogenic diet. Bit those sugar free flavors are sweetened with a variety of artificial sweeteners which will give many who are eating a ketogenic diet pause.
We’ll discuss the concerns presented by those artificial sweeteners below.
Note: Companies like Red Bull add and remove flavors all of the time, and occasionally even change their formulas. If you notice a change from the data presented above, please leave a comment on this article and we’ll update the details.
Artificial Sweeteners Used In Red Bull Sugar Free Varieties
To decide if Red Bull Sugar Free & Zero are keto friendly, first, we need to understand what artificial sweeteners are used in these products.
Red Bull Sugar Free contains the following artificial sweeteners:
- Acesulfame K (Potassium)
Acesulfame K is an artificial sweetener that, according to US FDA, is 200 times sweeter than table sugar but has zero calories and zero carbohydrates.
Acesulfame K is also known as Acesulfame Potassium and Ace-K. It was approved by the FDA in 1998, and since then has been widely incorporated into America’s sugar free food supply.
While it will not kick you out of ketosis, many have concerns about this and all other laboratory-created artificial sweeteners.
For a keto diet, the biggest concern is that many people find that artificial sweeteners may actually interfere with your hunger regulation and increase your sweet-tooth cravings. To put it clearly, choosing to consume these artificial sweeteners might make it harder to effortlessly lose weight on a ketogenic diet.
And just as importantly, despite Ace-K’s extreme sweetness it also has a bitter after taste. To mask that aftertaste, it always needs to be supplemented with another sweetener, which brings us to the second artificial sweetener found in Red Bull Sugar Free, aspartame.
Aspartame is another laboratory-created artificial sweetener which is also zero calories and zero carb. It has all of the same concerns as Acesulfame K, minus the bitter aftertaste.
By combining two artificial sweeteners, the likelihood of experiencing the bad side-affects (messed up hunger regulation and increased sweet cravings) is increased.
Red Bull Zero contains the following artificial sweeteners:
- Acesulfame K (Potassium)
We’ve already discussed Acesulfame K, so we’ll let that discussion stand. In Red Bull Zero, they advertise a ‘new taste’ based upon the second artificial sweetener added to mask the bitterness of Acesulfame K.
Sucralose is yet another laboratory-created artificial sweetener that is zero calorie and zero carb so it’s not going to kick you out of ketosis.
Yet, once again, combining these two artificial sweeteners makes it more likely you’ll experience some side-affects that make sticking to your keto diet harder.
Artificial Sweeteners Vs Natural Sweeteners
Honestly, I’m uncomfortable with artificial sweeteners.
In my keto recipes, I do use low-carb sweeteners, but I choose natural sweeteners. It’s a bit old-fashioned, but I don’t think of stuff made in a laboratory as real food.
My favorite natural sweeteners include:
Still, if drinking these low carb Red Bull options is what keeps you keto, then do it! Not perfect keto is better than no keto.
Caffeine in Red Bull?
While we all think of Red Bull as a caffeine drink, you might be surprised to find out that black coffee has more caffeine than Red Bull!
Red Bull has 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8.4 ounce serving and according to the US FDA, black coffee has between 80 and 100 milligrams per 8 ounce serving (depending on how that coffee was made).
Now is that a bad thing? Probably not.
The USA FDA recommends no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine for most healthy adults. So as long as you don’t go crazy with the Red Bull, the FDA thinks you’ll be ok.
As a benefit, it’s widely believed that caffeine is an appetizer suppressant and I personally believe this to be true from my own experience.
I wouldn’t worry about the caffeine in Red Bull nearly as much as I’d think twice about the artificial sweeteners.
P.S. Keep in mind that some energy drinks have way more caffeine than Red Bull, so be an informed consumer and make sure you know how much caffeine you are consuming in similar drinks.
Conclusion About Red Bull & The Keto Diet
All flavors of Red Bull Sugar Free and Red Bull Zero are keto friendly, in that they are pretty low carb. However, they are not clean keto…really they are pretty dirty keto.
Ideally, we’d not consume these or any other artificially sweetened drink while doing keto.
But sometimes we’re not living in the ideal.
I absolutely believe that dirty keto is better than no keto.
If you need these artificially sweetened drinks to get your keto on, then do it! Later, when you’re feeling stronger and healthier, then take another look at drinks like this and decide if you really want to keep them in your life.
Until then, just keep crushing keto!