Is sugar Free Monster OK to drink?

Quick Answer

Sugar free Monster energy drinks can be OK to drink in moderation for most healthy adults. They provide energy from caffeine without sugar or calories. However, they are high in potentially harmful ingredients like artificial sweeteners and should be consumed in limited amounts. Those sensitive to caffeine or with health conditions should avoid or limit sugar free Monster.

What is Monster Energy Drink?

Monster energy drink is a popular high-caffeine energy drink brand. The original Monster energy drink contains sugar and calories from carbohydrates. The company also produces sugar free versions sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.

Monster contains a blend of ingredients marketed to provide energy, including:

  • Caffeine – Main energy ingredient. Provided by caffeine anhydrous, guarana extract, and coffee.
  • Amino Acids – Taurine, L-carnitine, and ginseng extract.
  • Vitamins – B vitamins including niacin, B6, B12, and pantothenic acid.
  • Sugars – 27g per 8.4oz can in regular. Sugar free has 0g.

The sugar free versions use sweeteners like sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and erythritol instead of sugar. They have 0 calories and 0g sugar per serving.

Is it Safe to Drink?

For most healthy adults, drinking sugar free Monster occasionally and in moderation is likely safe.

Caffeine is the main active ingredient of concern. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 100mg caffeine per day for adolescents and no more than 200mg per day for adults.[1] A 16oz sugar free Monster contains 160mg caffeine.

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium are considered safe by health authorities like the FDA and EFSA up to recommended daily intakes, though concerns remain over potential long-term effects of large intakes.[2]

Taurine, carnitine, B vitamins and the other ingredients have not demonstrated safety issues at the doses found in Monster.

Overall there is no good evidence that occasional sugar free Monster consumption is unsafe for healthy adults who limit caffeine intake to 400mg per day or less. However, it may not be suitable for those with caffeine sensitivity or certain medical conditions.

Who Should Avoid or Limit Intake

The following groups should limit or avoid sugar free Monster:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women – Caffeine passes to the fetus/infant. Intake should be limited to 200mg or less per day.
  • Children and adolescents – Should restrict caffeine to age-based recommendations.
  • Caffeine-sensitive individuals – Caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety, stomach upset, rapid heart rate.
  • Those with heart conditions or hypertension – Caffeine may increase heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Those taking stimulant medications – Caffeine can interact with stimulant drugs.

If you have a medical condition or take medication, check with your doctor before consuming sugar free Monster. Moderation is key.

Sugar Free vs Regular Monster

The main difference between regular and sugar free Monster drinks is the sweetener:

Sugar Free Monster Regular Monster
Sweetened with artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium Sweetened with sugar (glucose and sucrose)
0 calories, 0g sugar per serving 220 calories, 54g sugar per 16oz
May contain ace-K and sucralose, which some try to avoid High sugar spikes blood sugar and provides empty calories

Both versions provide similar energy from caffeine. Sugar free Monster won’t spike blood sugar or provide empty calories like the sugar-sweetened version. However, some try to avoid artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium.

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in Monster energy drink depends on the serving size:

Monster Serving Size Caffeine
8 fl oz (240mL) 80mg
16 fl oz (480mL) 160mg
24 fl oz (710mL) 240mg

A 16oz sugar free Monster energy drink contains 160mg caffeine per serving. This is considered a high amount compared to other beverages:

Beverage Caffeine (mg)
Brewed coffee (8oz) 95mg
Black tea (8oz) 47mg
Coca-cola (12oz) 34mg
Espresso (1oz) 63mg
Monster (16oz) 160mg

Those sensitive to caffeine or who limit intake may want to avoid the larger Monster servings.

Artificial Sweeteners in Sugar Free Monster

Sugar free Monster energy drinks are sweetened with a blend of artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, including:

  • Sucralose – Splenda. Considered safe by health authorities in moderation.
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K) – Often blended with sucralose. FDA approved, but some controversy remains over potential cancer risk in animals.
  • Erythritol – Natural low-calorie sugar alcohol. Well tolerated compared to some sugar alcohols.
  • Inositol – A carbocyclic sugar sometimes used as a sweetener. Naturally found in the body.

The two main sweeteners in sugar free Monster are sucralose and acesulfame potassium. According to the FDA, both are considered safe in amounts commonly used in foods and drinks. The FDA has set acceptable daily intake limits:

Sweetener FDA ADI
Sucralose 5mg/kg body weight
Acesulfame Potassium 15mg/kg body weight

A 16oz sugar free Monster contains about 40mg sucralose and 55mg ace-K, well below daily limits for a 150-200 pound person. However, there are a few potential concerns with consuming large amounts of these sweeteners from multiple sources.

For sucralose, potential concerns include:[3]

  • Gut microbiome effects – May negatively impact beneficial gut bacteria in large doses, but evidence is mixed.
  • Interference with medication absorption – Large amounts may potentially interfere with absorption of some drugs.

For acesulfame potassium, potential concerns include:

  • Cancer risk – Mixed evidence from animal studies, but no clear link in human studies. FDA considers safe based on current data.
  • Harmful breakdown products – Can break down into acetoacetamide, which may be toxic in large amounts.

However, research has not conclusively linked consumption of acesulfame potassium or sucralose to serious health issues in humans. The FDA considers moderate consumption safe. But potential long-term effects with chronic heavy use requires more research.

Sugar Alcohols in Sugar Free Monster

In addition to artificial sweeteners, sugar free Monster also contains erythritol, a sugar alcohol used as a low-calorie sweetener:

  • Erythritol – Naturally occurring sugar alcohol derived from corn. Provides sweetness with few calories. Better tolerated than some sugar alcohols.

Compared to other sugar alcohols like xylitol and maltitol, erythritol seems to be one of the better tolerated options. Some potential advantages of erythritol include:

  • Zero calories per gram – Not metabolized so passes through the body.
  • Doesn’t significantly impact blood sugar or insulin
  • Low risk of digestive side effects like bloating and gas
  • Anti-microbial effects – may improve dental health compared to sugar
  • Naturally found in some fruits and fermented foods

Moderate amounts of erythritol are generally well tolerated. Higher doses can sometimes cause stomach upset in sensitive people. Overall it appears to be a good sugar alcohol choice when used in moderation.

Vitamins in Monster Energy Drink

Sugar free Monster contains a range of B vitamins, including:

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

A 16oz can of sugar free Monster provides:

Vitamin Amount % Daily Value
Niacin (B3) 40mg 250%
Vitamin B6 40mg 2000%
Vitamin B12 200mcg 8,333%
Pantothenic Acid (B5) 10mg 200%

These are very high relative doses compared to the recommended daily intakes. While B vitamins are water soluble and excess is generally excreted, very high doses may potentially lead to side effects.

For example, niacin at high doses can cause “niacin flush”, a tingling, red skin reaction. High vitamin B6 can potentially lead to temporary nerve damage.[4]

These large vitamin doses are likely added more for marketing purposes rather than clear health benefits. Most people already get sufficient B vitamins from a balanced diet.

Other Monster Ingredients

Sugar free Monster also contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and other ingredients like taurine:

  • Taurine – Conditionally essential amino acid. Often added to energy drinks, but no proven benefits in these amounts.
  • L-Carnitine – Amino acid produced in the body. May improve exercise capacity in athletes at doses of 2-6g, but no benefit shown for energy drinks.
  • Ginseng Extract – Herbal extract often added to energy drinks for benefits like improved cognition. But no evidence it works in the small amounts found in Monster.

At the doses added to Monster energy drinks, ingredients like taurine, L-carnitine, and ginseng are unlikely to provide significant benefits or risks.

These ingredients may look good on the label but lack evidence. More research on their effects in energy drink doses may be warranted.

Should You Drink Sugar Free Monster?

Here is a summary of the key points on whether sugar free Monster energy drinks are OK to consume:

  • Sugar free Monster contains caffeine, vitamins, amino acids, and artificial sweeteners but no sugar or calories.
  • It can be safe for most healthy adults in moderation and limited amounts. The caffeine provides energy.
  • Too much may cause caffeine overdose symptoms like jitteriness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat. Caffeine content should be limited.
  • Frequent use and large amounts may be associated with potential health risks in the long-term. Effects of chronic excess intake requires more research.
  • Avoid drinking if pregnant or breastfeeding, are caffeine sensitive, or have a medical condition that warrants caution with stimulants.
  • Children and adolescents should not consume energy drinks according to pediatric experts.

Occasionally drinking a sugar free Monster should be safe for most healthy adults who limit caffeine intake to 400mg daily at most. But regular use of multiple servings may be unwise until more research is done on potential long-term health impacts.

Healthier Alternatives

For those looking for an energy boost, here are some healthier alternatives:

  • Coffee or tea – Provides caffeine without additives. Can be sweetened with milk/cream and real sugar in moderation.
  • Sparkling water – Provides bubbles and refreshment without sugar or caffeine.
  • Fruit juice – For natural energy from fruit sugar. Look for 100% juices without added sugars.
  • Bananas – Provide carbohydrate fuel and are packed with nutrition.
  • Nuts and seeds – Great portable snacks that provide energy, protein and healthy fats.
  • Whole fruits – Apples, berries and citrus fruits provide natural energy.

The bottom line is sugar free Monster energy drinks are probably OK in moderation, but shouldn’t be heavily relied on as an energy boost. Caffeine from natural sources like tea and coffee may be a healthier choice overall.


Sugar free Monster can be safe for most healthy adults to consume occasionally in limited amounts. It provides energy from caffeine without sugar or calories. However, the high caffeine content should be limited and it contains potentially concerning artificial sweeteners.

Frequent consumption or excessive intake may be associated with health risks. Children, pregnant women and those with medical conditions should avoid or strictly limit intake.

While sugar free Monster won’t spike blood sugar like the regular version, natural sources of energy like fruits, vegetables, nuts and caffeine from coffee/tea are likely healthier choices overall. Moderation is key if you choose to drink sugar free Monster energy drinks.

Leave a Comment