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Are There Carbohydrates in Energy Drinks? Can They Supplement Carbs?

energy drink health

Energy drinks are notorious for their long lists of ingredients, and many of them are unpronounceable. But what can you expect from them in terms of carbohydrates? Most energy drinks contain 27 to 40 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the brand.1

This is a fairly high concentration of carbs per volume: around 20-25%. We’ll take a look at what carbohydrates in energy drinks can do for you and some low-carb options.

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What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient required by your body to stay healthy, along with fat and protein. They have always been a hot topic in the health and nutrition space and have become even more prominent in conversations in recent years, thanks to the rise of keto and low-carb diets.

Your body processes carbs by breaking them down into glucose or blood sugar, which your bloodstream then absorbs as energy to fuel your body.

Because carbs impact blood sugar, it’s important to monitor your carb intake, as there can be a risk for diabetes.

person holding a can of energy drink
Image Credit: FotoDuets, Shutterstock

What Kinds of Carbs are in Energy Drinks?

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs. The carbohydrate type is determined by the food’s chemical structure and how quickly your body digests it.

Simple carbs are in sugary products like candy, soda, syrups, and table sugar. Complex carbs are found in nutritious foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, and they are less likely to lead to blood sugar spikes.

Most energy drinks and sports drinks contain simple carbohydrates derived from sugar.

How Many Carbs Do Energy Drinks Have?

The number of carbohydrates per energy drink can vary widely depending on the brand. We’ll help you get an idea of how much you can expect from the leading brands so you can choose the ideal brand.

Brand Carbohydrates (in grams)
Red Bull 28 g/8.4 oz
Monster Energy 54 g/16 oz
Rockstar Energy 26 g/16 oz
Reign 3 g/16 oz

Source: Reize Club

As you can see, the drinks vary in their carbohydrate content. Some have only a few per serving, whereas others have a much higher concentration. It’s always important to check the product’s nutrition label before buying it.

cropped girl holding energy drink can at night studying on a desk
Image Credit: Pheelings media, Shutterstock

Can Energy Drinks Supplement Carbs?

If you’re an athlete or lead an active lifestyle, you may be wondering if you can use energy drinks to supplement carbs and power up your workouts

Some energy drink supporters claim that the carbs obtained from energy drinks require less digestion than carbs from food, which will deliver the fuel to the muscles faster, optimize athletic performance, and minimize the disruption of blood flow to active muscles.

However, the studies on the impact of carbs from energy drinks on athletic performance are limited and unlikely to be replicated in real life. Additionally, past research has little relevance to current circumstances, considering how quickly the energy drink market changes.

If you’re considering supplementing your carb intake with energy drinks, it’s important to do your research on the different brands and consult your doctor or personal trainer.

Low-Carb or Keto-Friendly Energy Drinks

If you’re trying to reduce your carb intake, you’re in luck: there are plenty of low-carb, zero-sugar, or keto-friendly energy drinks on the market.

Brand Carbohydrates (in grams)
Bang Energy 0 g
Red Bull Sugar Free 2-3 g
Monster Energy Zero Ultra 6 g
5 Hour Energy 0 g

This is only a small selection of the keto-friendly energy drinks available today. So if you’re looking for an energy boost without all the sugar or carbs, you have several options.

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The Bottom Line

Most energy drinks contain carbohydrates, but there are several with fewer or even zero carbs. Figuring out whether you can use a particular energy or sports drink to supplement your carbs may take a little research on the brand.

Whether you’re looking for an energy drink bursting with carbs or one that won’t contribute to your daily intake, there’s something for everyone on the market.

Featured Image Credit: Gabriel Matula, Unsplash


Caroline Bonin

Caroline is a former barista who loves to search for the perfect cup of coffee to sip while she writes. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her partner and their three cats. A fantasy novelist, gamer, and avid HGTV viewer, she is equally at home working in the garden or at her keyboard.

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