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Are Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Bad? + A Healthier Alternative

By: Legacy Nutrition | February 25th, 2023
Medically reviewed by: Matt Barkdull, MS, MBA, LMFT, MedFT

Sugar-free energy drinks are one of the most popular solutions for a quick wakeup. Purchased from anywhere from a vending machine to a drug store, they’re a simple blast of caffeine that, in theory, won’t upset your diet like sugary energy drinks. These beverages are popular as virtually every ingredient in them is artificial. The question must be asked: Are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you?

The Problem With Sugar-Free Energy Drinks

How bad are sugar-free energy drinks for you? Are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you? Despite their popularity, there are several reasons sugar-free energy drinks are considered hazardous to a person’s health. Here are just a few reasons that explain why are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you.


One of the problems with almost all energy drinks, sugar-free or otherwise, is that they contain artificial caffeine sources. Natural caffeine is relatively harmless to a great degree but even somewhat healthy as sources often contain vitamins and other nutrients. Natural caffeine also releases much slower than synthetic caffeine. As a result, side effects such as nervousness and trouble sleeping are less common. 

Synthetic caffeine, often labeled as just caffeine on the ingredient list, could be more toxic. It’s more potent to the point that two tablespoons are fatal. Synthetic caffeine provides a quicker spike as it is absorbed faster into the bloodstream, followed by an equally rapid crash. Furthermore, the substance is often produced in an unregulated industry. Synthetic caffeine is an inferior, dangerous product.

Artificial Sweeteners

In theory, artificial sweeteners are an excellent choice for energy drinks as they lack the hazards of sugar, which has been linked to obesity and weight loss. However, artificial sweeteners carry their own risks. If you’re asking yourself, “How bad are sugar-free energy drinks for you?” The key lies here.

The two major artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K, have long histories linking them to cancer in lab studies. As both are relatively new on the market, their long-term histories still need to be discovered. With the potential risk of these artificial sweeteners unclear, their use carries a higher potential for long-term damage than the proven safety of sugar. 

This information is supported by the National Cancer Institute in their report on artificial sweeteners and cancer risk.

Other Ingredients

One of the problems with sugar-free energy drinks is that, in addition to the other ingredients we know these products use, many use a wide variety of other chemicals. These are often advertised as part of a proprietary ingredient blend that sets the drink apart from competitors. It’s considered the reason these drinks are more robust than their peers.

But how do we know what’s in them? That very proprietary nature makes them harder to research. Do you want to risk putting chemicals into your body you don’t know? With so many risky substances, many of which are relatively unknown as to if they even stimulate, why consume something you don’t understand? Why are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you? This might be why.

A Healthier Alternative to Energy Drinks

Regardless of whether they have sugar or not, energy drinks are risky. The drinks use unnatural ingredients to stimulate rapidly and then crash, creating a cycle of dependence. We all need a boost, but there’s a healthier way.

Herbs and Supplements

Since the dawn of man, herbs have been used for various purposes, such as medicine and cooking. One of the most popular uses of herbs is as a safe, natural stimulant. Many herbs naturally wake you up and keep you moving through the day without the harsh side effects of chemical stimuli. Herbs also have extensive research to check before trying them.


We rarely think of it, but water is one of the best stimulants on the market. The human body is predominantly water. It makes sense that hydration has many benefits. One of the key benefits is an improvement in cognitive function. One of the reasons people seek energy drinks is the need to think more clearly. Water does the task with the most proven benefits of any substance on earth. The body needs replenishment, and you can’t beat water.

The Amare Happy Juice Pack

Consider the Amare Happy Juice Pack for a healthy alternative combining natural ingredients with hydration power. This innovative product combines three of Amare’s top-selling products into one beverage. The herbal ingredients are intended for different purposes but connect for a powerful full-body boost.*

What are these products? Here’s a quick look at all three:

  • Amare EDGE combines Lychee, Mango, and Palm fruit for a sugar and caffeine-free boost to your endurance and mental flow
  • MentaBiotics steps in with unique strains of phytobiotics, prebiotics, and probiotics to balance your stomach, enhancing the mind-gut connection for increased focus throughout the day
  • Energy+ is designed to provide all the benefits of a potent energy drink without the sugar and toxic chemicals of one, avoiding problems like a crash or jitters

These three products are powerful on their own, but they combine for a unique, tasty, natural beverage that will keep you going through the day. The Amare Juice Pack takes care of your daily needs so you can take care of yours.

Sugar-free energy drinks seem deeply appealing. A low-calorie but high-octane boost is desirable as a quick fix, but, like all quick fixes, taking the easy way out has a cost. Answering the question of why are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you comes down to looking at the artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and other ingredients. There’s a high cost to a quick fix. Instead, look to a natural herbal alternative for your improved health.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • Improves brain health & overall well-being
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Boosts mood and energy levels
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Helps you feel more balanced and calm
Try Happy Juice Pack 10% OFF!

Matt Barkdull


Matthew Barkdull, MS, MBA, LMFT, MedFT, is a licensed mental health professional, a certified medical family therapist, a certified health and wellness coach, and a licensed financial professional.

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