We’re all guilty of needing a little caffeine to pick you up throughout a busy day.
Despite the high levels of sugar, caffeine and artificial additives found in many varieties, when it comes to working long hours, an energy drink can be a quick fix to lethargy or tiredness.
Since its release in 1987, Red Bull remains one of the most iconic and popular energy drinks available to buy on the market today. But those who are curious or are simply new to the vegan lifestyle might be wondering: is Red Bull vegan?
In this article, we explore the different types of Red Bull, whether it is vegan, and cover the information that you need in order to make an informed decision in your vegan lifestyle.
Is Red Bull vegan?
In short, it depends on the variations!
At first glance, there are a few ingredients in Red Bull that you might assume are not vegan.
For instance, taurine is the infamous ingredient that earns Red Bull its name and iconic logo.
The ingredient is added to energy drinks because there is evidence to suggest that it helps muscle function, may also aid athletic performance and endurance, as well as many other benefits.
Although there is taurine in bull semen, this is not the source of the ingredient in Red Bull energy drinks.
The taurine in Red Bull, other energy drinks, and many other products is synthesized in a laboratory and is suitable for vegans and anyone wishing to avoid animal products in their diet.
That being said, although it is clear that Red Bull gets its name from the ingredient, it doesn't get the ingredient from bulls!
There are 5 main variations of Red Bull that are technically vegan, these variations include:
- Red Bull Energy Drink (original).
- Red Bull Sugarfree.
- Red Bull Editions.
- Red Bull Total Zero.
- Organics by Red Bull.
Although Red Bull is technically a vegan product, according to Peta, Red Bull continues to support ‘tests on animals’, making the drink somewhat contrived within the vegan community.
So why are these animal tests carried out? As we go into detail below, these tests are to do with the artificial colours that Red Bull uses in their popular energy drinks. Continue reading to find out more.
Are artificial colours vegan?
It won’t surprise you that the colour of Red Bull isn’t natural, and therefore, Red Bull contains artificial colouring. So, are artificial colours vegan?
This is where the line can become blurred for you as a vegan. Generally speaking, the most common type of food colouring that you’ll find in food is artificial colours, this includes names such as Red 40, Blue 1, and many more.
However, artificial colours are controversial in the vegan community for a number of reasons. These ‘artificial’ colours are either made in commercial labs from isolated chemicals or are derived from a by-product of petroleum.
However, the ethical issue lies in the fact that these dyes are all routinely tested on animals, such as mice and rats.
It is important to note that the testing isn’t carried out by the food manufacturers that use these colours as ingredients. Instead, animal testing is conducted by researchers to try to prove whether they are safe or dangerous to consume in different foods.
The majority of vegans eat artificial colours but stricter vegans are against them for the fact that they are often tested on animals. However, this choice will depend on your own personal preferences and morals as a vegan.
There’s no denying that the majority of energy drinks have high sugar content. It is worth mentioning that strict vegans do not consider refined sugar to be vegan.
This is because refined white sugar is manufactured with the use of animal bone char to remove impurities and to whiten the sugar. Therefore, although it’s not directly an animal product, white sugar technically isn’t vegan either, leaving a bit of a grey area depending on the vegan’s preferences.
The majority of variations of Red Bull contain refined sugar as well as the artificial colouring previously mentioned, contributing to the controversy of it as a product in the vegan community.
However, additionally, Red Bull has sugar-free options, including Red Bull Zero and Red Bull Sugarfree, which are made with artificial sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame K instead of sugar.
You could therefore argue that these are more vegan-friendly options than the original Red Bull energy drink, for instance.
However, unless you’re a raw vegan that doesn’t eat or drink anything processed, it is next to impossible to adhere to a strictly vegan diet, as refined sugar is so commonly used that it is almost impossible to avoid in your diet.
A large proportion of your sugar intake will be taken up by processed foods, so this is something to consider as a vegan if you are trying to avoid refined sugar as a vegan.
Alternatives to Red Bull
Believe it or not, when it comes to choosing an energy drink, vegans have an array of choices that are suitable for their lifestyle - this means natural alternatives that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free (and healthier, most of the time).
We've listed 3 of our favourite ones in our article on Monster Energy Drinks. Have a look! 🙂
In conclusion, yes, red bull is technically vegan by most standards, with the caveat that white sugar and artificial colouring are not technically considered to be vegan.
Although there are no animal products in Red Bull, as even the taurine is synthetic, it is important to note that there is refined sugar in the majority and there are artificial colours in all variations of Red Bull, which some stricter vegans don’t consider vegan due to the nature of how they are tested on animals.
This creates a bit of a grey area and means that you, the individual, will determine whether or not Red Bull is a suitable beverage for you.
To conclude, then, whether you drink Red Bull as a vegan is entirely down to your personal preferences and ethics. If you’re a vegan that is okay with eating artificial colours and refined sugar, then Red Bull is vegan-friendly! If you’re not, you might be better off sticking to coffee in the future!