Going vegan requires a lot on your part. First, you need to be careful with what you consume. And secondly, you have to deal with temptations all around you. Some people may not understand what your journey involves, and they can try tempting you with all sorts of animal products.

While you cannot deal with the second hurdle, you have control over the first. That means you should understand what food contains before putting it in your mouth. And in this case, we will focus on energy drinks.

These drinks have fast risen in popularity, and you may also want to get a taste of the same. After all, they work in improving alertness and raising energy levels. Wouldn’t you also want to be on your feet all day without feeling tired?

If this thought has crossed your mind, then you are not alone. Many vegans also want a boost in energy and are thinking of using energy drinks.

But are energy drinks vergan? Many energy drinks are vegan, some are even Certified Vegan. You have to look at the ingredients to find out if an energy drink is vegan, an important ingredient to look out for is taurine.

This article will focus on whether these drinks are vegan, and if so, which ones. We will not only explore their ingredients but also brands you can consider and why.

Ingredients to look out for as a vegan

Energy drinks are mainly water, caffeine, sugar, and taurine, among other ingredients. The first three ingredients are of no concern in this case. However, with sugar, you should note that there are two types.

Is sugar in energy drinks vegan?

The first type of sugar is natural, which is good, given that it comes from plants. The second is artificial, which can either be good or bad. Some of these sweeteners get tested on animals, which makes them non-vegan.

You should thus investigate the artificial sweeteners present in drinks before consuming them. You are safer with natural sugar as you know what it comprises.

Is taurine in energy drinks vegan?

This amino acid is present in the body and forms part of your building blocks of proteins. Humans have it in the ranges of hundreds of mg. Manufacturers use a few grams of this protein to bring out the effects of caffeine in their energy drinks.

Thus, you would not introduce something that is not already in your body. However, there is the question as to the source of this amino acid. Some people have claimed that it comes from animals, thus making some energy drinks non-vegan.

Well, most of the taurine used in energy drinks is synthetic. That means that you should not have a cause for worry in most cases.

Companies such as Monster and Red Bull have clarified that their drinks feature vegan taurine. But that does not mean that all manufacturers can state the same.

Why do energy drinks contain taurine? It all comes down to the working mechanism of these drinks. They work in boosting energy, and taurine is known to improve athletic performance this way. This amino acid also improves mental focus when used in combination with caffeine.

taurine molecule

Taurine molecule

Which energy drinks are vegan and which are not?

Not all energy drinks will fall into the same category, and you need to understand what makes a drink vegan or otherwise. You must understand what sugar is in use as well as the source of the taurine.

Looking at other ingredients also helps, and we will glaze over this at a later stage. For now, let us consider some of the leading energy drinks in the market and whether they are suitable for consumption as a vegan.

Red Bull

There have been claims in the past with people stating that Red Bull uses taurine sourced from animals. And coming across such claims could discourage you from buying this drink. But is there any truth to these rumors?

Well, if the company website is anything to go by, these are rumors. The company states that it uses non-animal ingredients, and thus Red Bull is vegan. You can confirm the same on their website under the Q&A category.

But of course, there will be some areas of concern as is the case with any other such drink. Take an example of the artificial colors, some of which undergo testing on animals. But if this is not a problem for you, consuming this drink should not be a problem.

There is a way around the artificial colors if you would rather not consume them. And this lies in using the Red Bull Organics line of these beverages, known as Organics. These drinks have no artificial colors at all.


If you have an interest in energy drinks, you will have come across this drink. It stands prominent on shelves across the globe and is widely consumed. So, is it safe for you as a vegan? The answer is yes, and no.

This company has come forward, stating that most Monster Energy drinks are suitable for vegans. However, there are some exceptions. You see, the taurine and L-carnitine used in the drinks are vegan.

And that means you should not have any concerns. However, some of its drinks contain animal products. Such is the case with the Java Monster, which includes milk in its contents.

You should also note that the components change from one country to the other. In some countries, you will find these drinks with traces of non-vegan ingredients such as carmine.

Take an example of the Monster Ultra Red, which is common in the UK. Did you know that it contains crushed beetles? While this is not only unsettling to people with queasy stomachs, it also makes it non-vegan.

And let’s not even get to the carmine which people often overlook, citing it as a trivial ingredient. People living in North America do not have to worry about this, though. The Monster Ultra Line in North America is wholly vegan.

So now you know that location also plays a part in the vegan nature or lack thereof.

Other vegan lines include Juice, Hydro, and classic drinks from Monster. That means you can pretty much enjoy a drink from any of these lines, except from Java Monster.


Another leading product in the market is NOS, which is also vegan. With this drink, it can get confusing once you come across terms such as guanine and glycerol ester of wood rosin.

These can either be plant or animal-based, and you may seek clarification on this. The good news is that they come from plants and should not be a cause for worry.

Note that while NOS energy drinks do not contain animal products, they do not have a vegan certification.


As the name suggests, this drink will have you feeling like a rockstar as you enjoy a surge in energy. But is it vegan? The answer is yes. Unlike most drinks with lengthy details as to their vegan nature, there are no tales here.

Rockstar energy drink is vegan, plain and simple. It uses synthetic taurine and does not contain animal products. So, if you want an energy drink fast, this would be an excellent choice.


When you are in doubt of an energy drink, it is always best to contact the manufacturer. With Bang, there are no animal products, and you can confirm as much by contacting the company.

There are some claims that the creatine contained in their drinks could be non-vegan. Other people also claimed that BCAAs from animals were present in the drinks. But this is not the case.


The name itself should have you feeling amped and ready to go. But are there any concerns? Well, this drink is generally vegan, given that it does not contain animal products. But there are some areas of concern.

One is the use of natural flavors. If you look these up, you will see that they can come from either plants or animals. And that may make you wonder what the source is in this case.

And then there is the issue of sucralose. In the development of sucralose, there was a lot of animal testing which can make you turn down this product.

If these issues are not a problem for you, then consuming this drink should not be hard. Note that sucralose can have some health risks in the long term, as is the case with other artificial sweeteners.


There are many vegans out there sharing information as to what you can eat or drink. And when it comes to energy drinks, they promote the consumption of Reign, which is vegan. No animal products are present in this drink.

Again, you can always check with the company to ascertain the components. While this company does not use animal products, it does not have vegan certification. And that is something you will find in most energy drinks in the market.


One of the few energy drinks in the market with vegan certification is Guru energy. Their drinks are gluten-free, organic, and vegan. If you look at the company’s ads, you will see as much in their campaigns. And you can find more information on their website under the Q&A section.

5-Hour Energy

Another common drink is this shot that works like an energy drink. The company states that it does not use any animal products in its production. Ingredients include but are not limited to water, vitamins, taurine, and caffeine.

The taurine in place is synthetic and thus suitable for use by vegans. You will find some people stating that this drink does not fall into the vegan category. Before taking their word for it, consult the company on the same.

As you can see, there are many vegan energy drinks on the market that you can consume. Some companies have vegan certification, while others do not. It helps to be careful, given that a company can have both vegan and non-vegan products.

A list of vegan energy drinks

To give you a good overview, these energy drinks are vegan:

  • 5-Hour Energy
  • Boost
  • Bang
  • Emerge
  • Monster (Java Monster is not vegan)
  • NOS
  • Red Bull
  • Reign
  • Relentless
  • Rockstar
  • Venom
  • Guru (certified vegan)

Your definition of vegan matters with energy drinks

If you pay attention to how people approach energy drink ingredients, you will notice a variation, even among vegans. Thus, it is up to you to decide how you feel about the presence of animal by-products in energy drinks.

Some people are very precise as to what they want. If they get even the slightest hint of animal products, they are out. They even avoid products that have no evidence of animal testing. If you fall into this category, you will likely want to stick to vegan certified energy drinks.

Then other vegans focus on animal-based foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. Those who fall into this category barely pay attention to substances such as artificial colors and the likes. But they will avoid drinks with milk and whatnot.

And then some have cheat days. You have probably heard of these days where you indulge in foods that are not included in your diet. Many people find it hard to stick to a diet for long, and they need some breaks in-between.

For vegans, that can mean two things. You can break the rules and indulge in animal-based products. That would mean veering off the diet in a big way. The other meaning is to indulge in junk vegan foods. In the second method, you would not eat non-vegan foods, but you would indulge in some junk food. An example would be soy ice cream with toppings.

Also, there are many debates ongoing as to some substances. For example, should you eat honey? What happens if an energy drink contains honey?

Refined sugar is also a source of confusion given that the refining may involve animal bone char. Now, how you approach these and other ingredients will again depend on how vegan you want to be.

How to choose a vegan energy drink?

At this point, you can see how easy it would be to pick an energy drink off the shelf only to find that it is not vegan. And that can be frustrating. Most of the work falls on your shoulders, and you cannot rely on others to do this for you.

You can always reach out to companies or choose vegan-certified drinks.

Scanning ingredients is a great method. Note that in doing this, you will come across some chemicals which you may not understand.

And that will require that you spend a lot of time researching them. There is a downside to using this approach. You see, while this groundwork will ensure you don’t use animal products, it can become obsessive.

Some people go down this road and end up obsessing over everything. They want to know what is in each sauce, salad dressing, stew, and whatnot. You see, quitting something or avoiding it should not be a source of dismay.

If anything, it should work towards empowering you. Now, if you end up being that person who looks for animal by-products in everything, you will feel frustrated. You cannot keep studying energy drinks and all products you use.

So, when it comes to energy drinks, work on using those with mostly non-vegan ingredients. Or use the vegan-certified options.

Going vegan has its benefits. But they should not be such that they keep you from living a full and productive life.

Also, not buying an energy drink because of a hint of animal products will not make a dent in the company’s sales. There are other ways to make an impact, but these should not be a source of frustration.

When it comes down to it, you can use your efforts for other things, such as donating to animal rights organizations—or getting more people to go vegan. The point here is that you do not have to obsess over the ingredients.

Get vegan-certified energy drinks if you have a problem with minor ingredients. Or work with those with a few animal by-products if you are comfortable with it. But do not make your vegan lifestyle rob you of convenience.


Going vegan may or may not be easy. And when it comes to choosing energy drinks that fall in line with this lifestyle, you can have a hard time.

Make a choice based on how vegan you wish to be. And when doing so, ensure that you are not taking away from your life by obsessing over ingredients. All the best!