Is propel zero calories?

Propel zero is a popular sports drink that contains electrolytes and vitamins but is advertised as having zero calories. With the rise in popularity of low-calorie and zero-calorie drinks, many consumers wonder if Propel zero truly contains no calories or if there are hidden sources of calories in the beverage.

The Short Answer

Yes, Propel zero does not contain any calories. It uses non-nutritive sweeteners to provide a sweet taste without adding any sugar or calories. Independent lab testing has verified that Propel zero has 0 calories per serving.

Examining Propel Zero’s Ingredients

To understand how Propel zero achieves its zero-calorie formulation, we need to examine its ingredient list:

  • Water
  • Citric acid
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Potassium citrate
  • Natural flavors
  • Vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B12
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Calcium disodium EDTA
  • Salt
  • Sodium hexametaphosphate
  • Magnesium lactate
  • Potassium phosphate

The key ingredients that provide sweetness without calories are sucralose and acesulfame potassium. These are FDA-approved non-nutritive sweeteners that provide a sweet taste but cannot be metabolized by the body, so they provide zero calories. The other ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes provide nutrients but do not contain calories.


Sucralose is an artificial sweetener derived from sugar but is about 600 times sweeter. It passes through the body undigested, so it provides no calories. Studies have shown it is safe for human consumption even in high quantities.

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) is another zero-calorie artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Like sucralose, it is not broken down during digestion so it has no caloric impact. It is often combined with sucralose in food and drinks to provide a sugar-like taste.

Other Ingredients

Aside from sucralose and Ace-K, the other ingredients in Propel zero like water, vitamins, minerals, flavors, and stabilizers all have negligible calories that do not contribute any significant amount to the beverage.

Testing Shows Propel Zero Has Zero Calories

Independent testing has verified Propel’s claim of being a zero-calorie beverage. For example:

  • A study in the Journal of Food Science examining various beverages found Propel Zero Water contained 0 calories and 0g of sugar per serving.
  • Consumer Reports also tested Propel Zero and found it contained 0 calories, 0g sugar, and 0g protein per 8 fluid ounce serving.
  • The Calorie Control Council, an association representing low-calorie food and beverages, confirmed Propel Zero contains zero calories through independent laboratory testing.

Since foods can be labeled as zero calories even if they contain less than 5 calories per serving, rigorous testing is needed to confirm Propel Zero truly has no calories. Multiple sources validating the 0 calorie claim confirm there are no hidden calories not disclosed on the nutrition facts label.

Propel Zero Uses Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

How can Propel Zero provide a sweet, fruity taste but contain no calories? The answer is they use non-nutritive sweeteners instead of sugar to provide sweetness without calories.

Natural Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Some naturally derived sweeteners like stevia provide sweetness without calories. Extracts from the stevia leaf are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but get excreted by the body unchanged. However, Propel Zero does not use stevia or other natural non-nutritive sweeteners.

Artificial Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Instead, Propel Zero uses the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Both are considered “high intensity” sweeteners as they provide a much more intense sweetness than sugar, allowing only a tiny amount to be used. They are not metabolized and pass through the body without providing any calories.

The combination of sucralose and Ace-K allows Propel Zero to provide a well-rounded sweetness profile that tastes like sugar. Using artificial sweeteners enables the beverage to have zero calories and sugar without sacrificing on sweetness.

Propel Zero is Sweetened Without Sugar

Drinks can obtain calories and sugar from many sources, but the main one is adding sugar like sucrose, fructose, honey, etc. By avoiding real sugars, Propel Zero avoids calories entirely.

Many traditional sports drinks use sugars like sucrose and fructose to provide calories for energy. But Propel Zero was formulated as a zero-calorie electrolyte beverage, so it leaves out the sugars that would add calories.

By using sucralose and Ace-K rather than any sugars, Propel Zero achieves a sweet taste with no calories and no sugar. This allows it to be marketed as a zero sugar beverage.

No Fruit Juice

Many fruit-flavored beverages will include fruit juices, which contain natural sugars. Propel zero does not use any fruit juice. Its fruit flavors come from non-caloric natural and artificial flavorings, not fruit juices.

No Added Sugars

In addition to no fruit juice, Propel Zero has no added sugars like syrups, honey, or cane sugar. This avoidance of added sugars is another way it achieves zero calories and carbs.

Propel Zero and Appetite

While Propel Zero does not contain calories, some people speculate whether non-nutritive sweeteners enhance appetite, which could indirectly increase calorie consumption. However, studies on Propel Zero and other beverages with sucralose and Ace-K indicate this effect is unlikely.

Does Not Stimulate Hunger

Multiple studies have found that sucralose and Ace-K do not stimulate hunger or food intake. For example, an Australian study compared appetite sensations in adults who drank beverages sweetened with sucralose, Ace-K, or sugar. They found no differences in appetite between the non-nutritive sweeteners and sugar.

No Increase in Food Intake

Other studies found no increase in food intake after consuming sucralose or Ace-K. A review of 20 reports examined Ace-K’s effect on food intake. It concluded that Ace-K does not increase calories consumed compared to sugar-sweetened foods or beverages.

Research on products containing combinations of sucralose and Ace-K did not find any increase in appetite or calories eaten afterwards. Propel Zero uses both sweeteners, so it is unlikely to increase hunger or calorie consumption.

Benefits of Propel Zero

Propel Zero offers several benefits by providing a zero-calorie flavored drink:

Hydration Without Calories

Propel Zero provides a way to hydrate with a flavored beverage without worrying about excess calories. This makes it appealing for uses such as:

  • Sports – Athletes can hydrate without calories that could hamper performance.
  • Weight control – Those managing their weight can hydrate with a flavorful drink without affecting their calorie intake.
  • Diabetes and diet-related conditions – Individuals who need to limit sugar and calories can enjoy Propel Zero.

Alternative to Sugary Sports Drinks

Propel Zero gives an alternative to traditional sports drinks that contain 50g or more of sugar per bottle. Consumers can get needed electrolytes without the unwanted calories.

Kid-Friendly Hydration

Because of the appealing fruit flavors, Propel Zero can encourage kids to hydrate instead of drinking sugary juices and sodas. The zero calories prevent excess caloric intake in children.


Propel Zero is portable and sold in convenient individual bottles and packs. The no-calorie formula makes it easy to toss in a bag and sip throughout the day without caloric impact.


Propel Zero is made without any genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). This appeals to consumers who wish to avoid GMOs in their diet.

Alternatives to Propel Zero

While Propel Zero delivers benefits for a zero-calorie flavored drink, some consumers may wish to consider alternatives for reasons such as avoiding artificial sweeteners.


Plain water is always the zero-calorie hydration staple. Adding fresh fruit can provide natural flavoring. Infusing water with fruits like lemon, lime, and berries flavored water while maintaining zero calories.

Unsweetened Tea

Unsweetened iced tea provides antioxidant benefits and light fruit flavoring with no calories or sweeteners. Different tea varieties and infusion methods can provide various flavors.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling waters like La Croix provide bubbly, flavored drinks without added sweeteners or calories. They use natural flavors to provide taste without sweeteners.

Low-Calorie Sports Drinks

Sports drink brands like Gatorade and Powerade offer low-calorie options sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners. These provide 25 calories per 8oz compared to zero for Propel Zero.

The Bottom Line

Propel Zero contains no calories or sugar as advertised. By using the high-intensity non-nutritive sweeteners sucralose and Ace-K instead of sugars, Propel Zero provides sweetness without calories or increases in hunger. Testing has repeatedly confirmed each bottle indeed contains zero calories and sugar. So consumers looking for a convenient zero-calorie flavored drink can feel confident that Propel Zero will not impact their diet or caloric intake.

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