Does Monster drinks have gluten?

Quick Answer

Monster energy drinks are considered gluten-free. Monster does not list wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing ingredients on their product labels. However, there is some debate around possible cross-contamination issues in Monster’s manufacturing facilities. Overall, Monster can likely be safely consumed by those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity when following a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients Analysis

An analysis of the ingredients listed on Monster energy drinks shows no overt gluten sources:

Monster Energy Original Ingredients

– Carbonated water
– Sucrose
– Glucose
– Citric acid
– Natural flavors
– Taurine
– Sodium citrate
– Color added
– Caffeine
– Sorbic acid
– Benzoic acid
– Niacinamide
– Sodium chloride
– Glucuronolactone
– Inositol
– Guarana extract
– Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12

Monster Ultra Sunrise Ingredients

– Carbonated water
– Erythritol
– Taurine
– Natural flavors
– Citric acid
– Potassium citrate
– Color added
– Sucralose
– Acesulfame potassium
– Caffeine
– Vitamins B3, B6, B12
– Zinc gluconate
– Niacinamide
– Calcium pantothenate
– Pyridoxine hydrochloride
– Cyanocobalamin

Java Monster Ingredients

– Brewed coffee
– Non-dairy creamer
– Sugar
– Glucose
– Guarana extract
– L-carnitine
– Taurine
– Ginseng extract
– Inositol
– Maltodextrin
– Ascorbic acid
– Natural flavors
– Tri calcium phosphate
– Soy lecithin
– Potassium sorbate
– Sodium chloride

As you can see, none of the primary ingredients or common allergens in Monster drinks are gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye or malt. The main ingredients are water, sugar, caffeine, amino acids like taurine, and vitamins.

So at face value, Monster does not contain gluten. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s 100% gluten-free for those with celiac disease. Let’s analyze some of the potential issues.

Cross-Contamination Risks

While the ingredients themselves may be gluten-free, cross-contamination during manufacturing can introduce small amounts of gluten into the final Monster products.

Here are some potential sources of cross-contamination:

Shared Equipment

If Monster is produced on shared equipment or lines that also process wheat or barley-containing ingredients, traces of those grains could make their way into the Monster drinks.

Monster has not stated outright whether they have dedicated gluten-free equipment and facilities or not. This leaves open the possibility of cross-contact.

“Natural Flavors”

Many Monster drinks contain “natural flavors” as an ingredient. The exact components of these proprietary natural flavor blends are unknown.

Natural flavors can sometimes contain gluten sources like wheat, barley or malt extract. Again, without transparency from Monster on the natural flavor composition, we can’t rule out the possibility of them containing some form of gluten.

Ingredient Suppliers

Third party ingredient suppliers provide Monster with things like vitamins, ginseng extract, amino acids, etc. If those suppliers do not maintain gluten-free facilities and processes, then ingredients they source could introduce traces of gluten into Monster’s products.


Monster does not claim to be a certified gluten-free beverage. Their website and packaging do not display any of the below gluten-free certifications:

– GFCO – Gluten-Free Certification Organization
– NSF – National Sanitation Foundation
– 1-2-3 Gluten Free certification

This lack of third-party gluten-free certification leaves their status unclear for those adhering to a strict gluten-free diet for medical reasons.

Testing for Gluten in Monster

There are a few sources showing small scale lab testing for gluten content in some Monster energy drinks:

Study 1

A study presented at the 2016 AACC International Annual Meeting tested 9 different Monster products purchased in Canada. Gluten content was measured using the R5 ELISA test.

8 out of 9 drinks tested below 5 parts per million (ppm) gluten. One product tested at 9 ppm.

The researchers concluded:

“Levels of gluten measured by the R5 ELISA in most Monster Energy drinks indicate these beverages can likely be safely consumed by most individuals with CD or NCGS provided a maximum daily intake equivalent to 36 mg of gluten is not exceeded.”

Link to study:

Study 2

A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition tested 4 flavors of Monster energy drinks using the more sensitive gluten ELISA R5 Mendez method.

2 tested below the limit of quantitation (<3 ppm) - Monster Zero Ultra and Monster MAXX Super Dry 2 tested at the very low levels of 4.25 and 4.74 ppm - Monster Lo-Carb and Monster Energy Cuba-Lima Researchers again concluded these very low levels indicate Monster drinks are likely safe for those with celiac disease or NCGS following a gluten-free diet. But they can't be guaranteed 100% gluten-free due to manufacturing processes. Link to study:

Monster Flavor Gluten Content (ppm)
Monster Zero Ultra < 3 ppm
Monster MAXX Super Dry < 3 ppm
Monster Lo-Carb 4.25 ppm
Monster Energy Cuba-Lima 4.74 ppm

So while not absent of gluten entirely, these tests confirm Monster beverages contain very low trace levels that should fall within the daily tolerable intake levels for most gluten-sensitive individuals.

Anecdotal Reports

There are also many anecdotal reports online of people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity drinking Monster without any adverse reactions:

– “I’ve been drinking monster energy drinks (the sugar free kind) for YEARS with no problems whatsoever! I have celiac disease & high gluten sensitivity.”

– “My son has celiac and has no issues when he has a Monster energy drink. He drinks the sugar free kind.”

– “I have an aunt with severe celiac disease and she drinks Monster Energy Zero Ultra with no issues.”

– “No gluten ingredients in Monster Energy Drinks and I have drank them for 10 years with no problems. I have celiac disease.”

While not scientific evidence, these first-hand experiences support that many people with celiac or gluten intolerance are able consume Monster without it causing symptoms or health issues.

Of course, individuals can react differently, so these reports don’t guarantee Monster’s safety for every gluten-sensitive person. But overall, it points towards a low risk of reaction.

Monster’s Official Stance

Monster Beverage Corporation does not make any official gluten-free claims about their energy drinks. Their customer service department has provided the following responses to consumer inquiries:

“At this time none of our products are tested for Gluten. Since we don not test for Gluten we are unable to provide a list of Gluten Free products. Our products receive a shared production process; therefore, cross contamination may occur.”

“Monster Energy Drinks manufactures products using equipment that processes wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and milk products. While Monster Energy Drinks do not contain wheat as an ingredient, the brand cannot guarantee that minute particles will not come in contact with products during the normal production process.”

So Monster does acknowledge the risk of cross-contamination with wheat and other allergens through shared equipment. But they stop short of declaring their beverages as gluten-free or safe for celiacs.

Is Monster Energy Gluten-Free? The Verdict

Based on a thorough review of the ingredients, manufacturing processes, third-party testing, certifications and consumer experiences, the verdict on Monster Energy and gluten-free status is:

**Likely Safe in Moderation for Most Gluten-Sensitive Individuals**

While unable to be declared 100% gluten-free, independent lab testing confirms Monster drinks contain very low to non-detectable levels of gluten. These trace amounts should fall within safe limits for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity adhering to a gluten-free diet.

However, individuals with more severe gluten intolerances should exercise caution and speak with a doctor before consuming Monster regularly, due to potential manufacturing cross-contamination risks.

As with any food product that is not certified gluten-free, it comes with an element of risk and personal judgment. Overall, Monster Energy drinks present a low but not zero risk of gluten exposure. Moderating consumption and not exceeding suggested maximum daily gluten limits is advised.

The Bottom Line

Monster does not contain overt gluten ingredients, but the risk of trace amounts through manufacturing is present. Most testing and consumer reports show Monster can likely be enjoyed in moderation as part of a gluten-free diet, but may not be suitable for all. Checking with a doctor is advised, especially for those highly sensitive. While not certified gluten-free, Monster Energy drinks present a relatively low gluten risk that should fall within daily intake limits for many. Consume in moderation and adhere to suggested maximums.

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