Is sugar Free Red Bull OK on keto?

Quick Answer

Sugar free Red Bull can fit into a keto diet, but should be consumed in moderation. The main concern is that it contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame K. These may raise insulin levels, which can temporarily knock you out of ketosis. Aside from that, Red Bull is very low in carbs and will not significantly impact ketosis. Enjoy the occasional can, but don’t overdo it. Stick to no more than 1-2 cans per day.

What is Red Bull?

Red Bull is an energy drink manufactured and sold by the Austrian company Red Bull GmbH. It contains caffeine, taurine, B vitamins and sucrose/glucose.

The original Red Bull comes in 8.4 ounce cans and contains 27 grams of sugar per can. But many people prefer the sugar free version, which uses artificial sweeteners instead.

Here are the nutrition facts for an 8.4oz can of Sugar Free Red Bull:

Nutrition Facts Per Can
Calories 10
Protein 0g
Carbs 3g
Sugar 0g
Sodium 200mg
Caffeine 80mg

As you can see, a single can is very low in calories, carbs and sugar.

But is it suitable for a low carb, ketogenic diet? Let’s take a closer look.

Is Sugar Free Red Bull Keto?

The main concern with sugar free energy drinks is the artificial sweeteners.

Red Bull uses two different sweeteners:

– Aspartame
– Acesulfame K

Both are considered safe by the FDA, but there are some potential issues:

**Artificial Sweeteners May Raise Insulin**

Some studies suggest artificial sweeteners can spike insulin levels by promoting the release of gut hormones like GLP-1 and GIP (1, 2).

This effect seems most pronounced with sucralose (Splenda) and saccharin (Sweet N’ Low). The impact of aspartame on insulin is less clear.

But it’s possible the sweet taste tricks your body into anticipating carbohydrates and glucose. This triggers insulin release, even without actual carbohydrates present.

For people following a ketogenic diet, this insulin effect could temporarily halt ketosis by bringing blood sugar and insulin up.

However, some studies found no effects on insulin from drinking aspartame-sweetened beverages (3, 4). The jury is still out on this potential issue.

**May Promote Cravings and Overeating**

Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, gram for gram.

Consuming hyper-sweet foods may promote sugar cravings and excess calorie intake later on. The brain registers the sweet taste, but gets confused when the expected calories don’t arrive.

This effect seems most pronounced in frequent consumers of artificial sweeteners (5). Occasional intake does not appear harmful.

**Gut Microbiome Changes**

Early animal studies suggest artificial sweeteners like aspartame may negatively alter the gut microbiota (6, 7).

This could potentially impact blood sugar control and metabolism. However, human data are limited and conflicting. Some studies find no significant effect (8).

Overall, more research is needed on how low-calorie sweeteners impact insulin, appetite and gut health in humans. The evidence is mixed.

The Verdict

Based on the current evidence, sugar free Red Bull is unlikely to prevent ketosis or significantly stall weight loss.

It’s very low in carbohydrates and will not drastically raise insulin levels, even if artificial sweeteners have a subtle effect.

Enjoying the occasional can is fine for most people on keto. Just be mindful of your reason for drinking it, and avoid having more than 1-2 cans per day.

Tips for Drinking Red Bull on Keto

Here are some tips on how to healthily incorporate sugar free Red Bull into a ketogenic lifestyle:

– **Treat it as an occasional treat** – Don’t drink it every single day. Enjoy a can 2-3 times per week at most.

– **Limit to 1-2 cans per day** – More than this could potentially stall ketosis through insulin effects. Stay moderate.

– **Drink with food** – Consuming alongside a keto meal may minimize insulin and appetite effects.

– **Stay hydrated** – Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

– **Brush teeth after** – The acidity of energy drinks may degrade tooth enamel over time.

– **Avoid other sweeteners** – Don’t use other artificial sweeteners during the day. The combined effect could be counterproductive.

– **Check for additive effects** – Caffeine sources like coffee can enhance the stimulant effect. Moderate your total caffeine.

– **Don’t compensate with carbs** – The zero-carb marketing can lead some to “spend” carb grams elsewhere. Avoid this trap.

As long as you’re mindful about overdoing it, sugar free Red Bull can definitely fit into a healthy keto lifestyle for most people.

Supplements to Enhance Keto-Friendliness

You can make sugar free Red Bull even more keto friendly by stacking it with supplements:

– **Exogenous Ketones** – Provides direct ketone sources to maintain ketosis, even if Red Bull slightly raises insulin. Some choices are ketone salts or MCT oil powders.

– **L-Carnitine** – Can enhance fat burning from caffeine and offset any blood sugar/insulin effects. Take 500-2000mg.

– **Green Tea Extract** – Provides the antioxidant EGCG to blunt insulin response. Take 500mg before drinking.

– **Apple Cider Vinegar** – Also minimizes glucose and insulin spikes. Add 1-2 tablespoons to your can.

– **Ceylon Cinnamon** – Further assists with stabilizing blood sugar. Sprinkle on 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.

Stacking one or more of these with your Red Bull can counteract any potential downsides. This allows you to enjoy it guilt-free while remaining in ketosis.

Healthier Alternatives

If you’re concerned about artificial sweeteners, here are some healthier beverage alternatives while on keto:

– **Unsweetened Iced Tea** – Provides antioxidant benefits without carbs or sugar. Can be caffeinated or herbal.

– **Bone Broth** – Provides hydration, electrolytes and amino acids to support ketosis. Choose a low-sodium variety.

– **Sparkling Water** – Hydrates without carbs or calories. Look for mineral varieties to obtain electrolytes.

– **Water with Apple Cider Vinegar** – Provides electrolytes. Start with 1 tablespoon ACV per 16oz water.

– **Bulletproof Coffee** – Gives energy from healthy fats. Use coffee, MCT oil and grass-fed butter or ghee.

– **Yerba Mate Tea** – Has caffeine for energy plus polyphenols. Watch the carb content of flavored varieties.

With a little creativity, you can make keto-friendly beverages that provide energy, nutrients and satisfaction. No artificial sweeteners required.

The Bottom Line

Sugar free Red Bull can fit into a keto diet in moderation. It’s very low carb and should not significantly disrupt ketosis.

Potential concerns like insulin response are minimized if intake is limited to 1-2 cans per day and consumed alongside food.

Supplements like exogenous ketones or apple cider vinegar can further offset any blood sugar effects. But this is likely unnecessary for most people.

Overall, an occasional sugar free Red Bull is fine for keto. Just be mindful of your reasons for drinking it and avoid overdoing the caffeine or artificial sweeteners.

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