Hi Fitsugar, I really love energy drinks especially Red Bull, but I have no clue what is really in it or how many calories it has. I was wondering if you could give me the calorie breakdown of Red Bull and Sugar Free Red Bull (yummm) so I will know if I need to kick my habit to the curb! Thanks.
— Red Bull Betty
Well, Red Bull Betty, I do not think you are alone in your Red Bull "addiction."
Let's start with the caloric content: one 8.3 ounce can of
regular Red Bull contains 110 calories and 27 grams of sugar (that is almost 2 tablespoons of sugar). Red Bull Sugar Free contains only 10 calories and is sweetened with aspartame.
Here's a little info from Wired on the key energy producing ingredients of Red Bull.
Taurine was originally isolated from bull bile in 1827 (hence the name of the drink), but fortunately it is now made synthetically. Taurine's actual effects are wide-ranging - it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (in some cases acting as a mild sedative), an age-defying antioxidant, and has the potential to steady irregular heartbeats.
Glucuronolactone hardly anyone has looked into exactly what this stuff does, and most research on this ingredient was performed 50 years ago - seems a little dated, don't ya think? Rumor has it that this ingredient fights fatigue and increases well-being - but this could be the "bull" that give the drink its name.
Caffeine does increase concentration and reaction speed, as well as improve emotional state and boost metabolism. One can contains 80 mg of caffeine that is more than three times the caffeine that's in the same amount of Coke.
Niacin aka vitamin B-3, increases so-called good cholesterol (HDL) by preventing the formation of triglycerides, making it a terrific cholesterol drug. Unfortunately, there isn't enough niacin in a can of Red Bull to have this benefit. And it's not even pure enough to give you the mild head rush dubbed the "niacin flush."
Essentially, Red Bull is basically sugar water mixed with caffeine. I am not a fan of energy drinks and think we are all better off getting our caffeine from less processed sources like coffee (no more than 3 cups a day!) and tea since they contain antioxidants naturally and taste great without all that sugar!