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If you count good ol’ black coffee, energy drinks are a tale as old as time. Most of today’s popular energy drinks are packed with sugar, so chugging them could lead to sugar addiction, heart problems, and unintended weight gain.
We set out to find the best pick-me-ups with *no* added sugar. Scroll down to see our roundup of the 13 best sugar-free energy drinks of 2020.
There are hundreds of energy-boosting drinks on the market, and most of them contain a veritable cocktail of sugar, artificial colors, and high voltage caffeine.
If you’re looking for a healthy, naturally derived energy drink, you’ll find some on this list. But our main goal was to hunt down the most popular, highly rated energy drinks with 0 grams of added sugar.
So, what do they cost?
A single serving of these bevvies will set you back anywhere from a quarter to two bucks, though prices vary depending on where you shop.
Here’s a handy pricing guide:
- $ = under $2 per serving
- $$ = $2–$4 per serving
- $$$ = over $4 per serving
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate, Unsweetened Mate
Let’s kick this off with an energy drink that is *not* like the ones you smashed at 3 a.m. in college. This organic, kosher, non-GMO pick-me-up is decidedly more healthy, but it still packs a punch.
Reviewers love that this is a 100 percent unsweetened energy drink. But if you need a little more flavor, feel free to shake in some stevia or a few drops of honey.
2. Laird Superfood Instafuel
Is coffee considered an energy drink? You bet.
What makes Laird Superfood Instafuel exceptional is its convenience. It’s an all-in-one non-refrigerated coffee and creamer.
Scoop 4 tablespoons of this into 12 ounces of hot water, shake or stir, and you’ve got a powerful cup of fatty, caffeinated fuel. (Keto folks, you’re gonna love it.)
A single serving has:
- 158 milligrams of calcium
- as much caffeine as a standard cup of coffee
- 0 grams of added sugar
3. Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shots
Let’s start with what these energy shots *don’t* have: animal products, stevia, soy, gluten, or added sugar.
So what’s in these babies? Well, 180 milligrams of caffeine to boost your energy and 180 grams of L-theanine to relieve stress so you can focus on tackling your to-do list.
Fans rave about the taste of these energy shots — sweet without that syrupy flavor of artificial sweeteners. Try it in blackberry, ginger, or peach-mango.
4. MatchaBar Hustle Sparkling Matcha Energy Drink (Sparkling Mint)
This sparkling matcha energy drink contains ceremonial-grade matcha, which means you’ll get top-notch quality and flavor. The sweet taste comes from monk fruit, not sugar, so a full can clocks in at just 5 calories!
Just be mindful of which flavor you choose — peach and berry have 40 calories and a teensy bit of added sugar.
A 12-ounce (355-milliliter) can has:
- 5 calories
- 120 milligrams of caffeine
5. SOUND Sparkling Organic Yerba Mate with Citrus and Hibiscus
If you’re looking for a gentle, natural boost of energy, try SOUND Sparkling Organic Yerba Mate with Citrus and Hibiscus. The refreshing flavors are far from overwhelming, and the light carbonation gives this drink a little afternoon oomph.
Just like our other yerba mate pick, this one offers a steady infusion of caffeine and antioxidants. It’s ideal for fans of tea and those hipster cans of sparkling water.
6. VPX Bang Energy Drink
Here’s proof that sugar-free energy drinks don’t have to look like tea or caffeinated water.
VPX Bang Energy Drink is packed with all your jolt juice faves — creatine, B vitamins, magnesium, caffeine, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. It also has CoQ10, which science says could boost exercise performance.
Though we’re biased toward VPX Bang Black Cherry Vanilla, you can also get your fix in the flavors Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, and Star Blast.
7. Monster Energy Zero Ultra, Sugar-Free
We can’t talk energy drinks without mentioning the ever-popular Monster Energy. Zero Ultra includes all the flavor you’re used to… but squeezed into just 10 calories.
Here are the deets per 16-ounce can:
- 0 grams of sugar
- 6 grams of carbs
- vitamins B6 and B12
8. Rockstar Energy Drink, Sugar-Free
Rockstar Energy has kept us kicking for years, thanks to the drink’s blend of caffeine, B vitamins, guarana, and ginseng. But did you know it comes in a sugar-free version too?
Rockstar Energy Drink, Sugar-Free is flavored without any added sugar or carbs. That means, of course, that you’re getting a mix of artificial sweeteners. But most reviewers think the sugar-free edition tastes the same — or just as delicious — as the original.
9. VPX Bang Radical Skadattle Energy Drink
Bang touts these cans as “a safe, sugar-free, carb-free, crash-free, great-tasting, sustained energy beverage experience.” While they’re *not* as natural as, say, a cup of coffee or yerba mate, these energy drinks are vegan and gluten-free.
A 16-ounce can includes:
- 300 milligrams of caffeine (take note!)
- 27 milligrams of vitamin C
10. Solimo Silver Energy Drink
Invariably, reviewers described this as a simpler alternative to mainstays like Monster, Rockstar, and Red Bull. It’s a little bit sweet, a little bit bubbly, and empty of any added sugar.
These cans still pack in all the energy-boosting ingredients you’d expect: 152 milligrams of caffeine plus taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, and L-carnitine.
11. Reign Total Body Fuel
With 300 milligrams of caffeine from green coffee beans and tea leaves, there’s no doubt that Reign Total Body Fuel will dial up your daily energy.
It’s also billed as a workout performance booster because it contains 1,000 milligrams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs might boost muscle growth and weight loss, but studies suggest they’re most effective when taken along with other essential amino acids.
Reign Total Body Fuel also contains a hefty serving of electrolytes and CoQ10.
12. CELSIUS Sparkling Orange Fitness Drink
The label for CELSIUS Sparkling Orange Fitness Drink has a whole lot of zeros — there’s no sugar, no preservatives, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors.
So what’s in it? Sparkling water, 200 milligrams of caffeine, and a blend of butt-kicking taurine, guarana extract, and ginger. In other words, it’s a lightly flavored sparkling water that will wake you up at any time of day.
13. UPTIME – Blueberry Pomegranate, Sugar-Free
With its sleek, minimalist packaging, it would be easy to mistake a bottle of UPTIME for fancy water. But these 12-ounce bottles pack a caffeinated punch.
Here are the deets per bottle:
- 142 milligrams of caffeine
- 5 calories
- no sodium (no bloat!)
- no sugar
If blueberries aren’t your jam, try UPTIME in sugar-free Mango Pineapple or White Peach Lemonade.
Some folks don’t mind a little sugar if it means ditching the artificial sweeteners. If that’s you, try one of these energy drinks with just 1 gram of sugar.
V8+ Energy Drink, Diet
Gulp down your daily fruits and veggies along with 80 milligrams of caffeine! V8+Energy is a slow, gentle wakeup for relaxed weekend mornings.
An 8-ounce can includes:
- no added sugar
- 1 gram of sugar from fruit
- 10 calories
Nuun Sport + Caffeine
Dehydration is such a drag. Fight fatigue by replenishing your electrolytes *and* sipping 40 milligrams of caffeine. Nuun Sport + Caffeine tablets do have 1 gram of sugar, but they’re 100 percent free of artificial sweeteners.
When you’re tired, it’s natural to think that more caffeine and stimulants are better. But that’s not always true.
Too much caffeine can cause a whole mess of side effects, including:
- addiction to caffeine
- electrolyte imbalance
- heightened risk of heart problems
A 2017 research review also suggested that the caffeine and nonessential stimulants in your favorite can of jolt juice (guarana, ginseng, yerba mate, taurine, L-carnitine, etc.) could trigger a bunch of negative effects:
- rapid heartbeat
- trouble sleeping
If your energy drink makes you feel jittery or anxious, stop drinking it. Every body has a different caffeine and stimulant tolerance, so monitor your intake and mood to find the best energy drink for you.
Your afternoon pick-me-up doesn’t have to spike your blood sugar! If you’re looking for a sugar-free energy boost, try one of our favorite caffeinated beverages above.
Are you struggling to get out of bed on the reg? Reaching for stimulants just to get through the day? Then set up a time to talk with your doc. There are better ways to boost your overall energy and health.