A Dietitian Answers: Is Celsius Bad for You?

Celsius is a trending energy drink marketed to young adults and exercise enthusiasts. It’s touted as a healthy beverage choice, and the packaging claims that drinking Celsius can “boost metabolism and help burn body fat.”

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in this product and see if it’s a safe and healthy option.

Is Celsius bad for you?

For most people, Celsius is likely okay if consumed in moderation. However, it contains around 200 mg of caffeine per can, so this drink is not recommended for people who are sensitive to caffeine or children. Due to the high caffeine content, it's also advisable not to exceed two servings per day as it can lead to potential issues such as insomnia, increased heart rate, or even anxiety.

Celsius beverage products

There are three products in the Celsius drink line:

  • Celsius is the original energy drink, claiming to accelerate metabolism and burn body fat. It’s currently available in 24 fruity flavors.
  • Celsius Essentials is similar to their original energy drink, but this version contains amino acids and is marketed to fitness enthusiasts.
  • Celsius On-the-Go is a powdered version of their original energy drink. It is sold in individual sachets that must be mixed with water before drinking.

Key ingredients in Celsius

The nutritional content and ingredients in Celsius products are listed on their company website. Each beverage contains zero calories, sugars, proteins (except Celsius Essential), or fats. Their products contain varying levels of vitamins, minerals, and high amounts of caffeine.

A regular 355 ml Celsius can and On-the-Go sachet has 200 mg of caffeine. The Celsius Essential can is larger (473 ml) and has 270 mg of caffeine.

Below is a chart examining the featured ingredients in Celsius’ energy drinks and their health claims.

Ingredient Celsius health claim
Green tea extractCelsius claims their green tea extract blend is scientifically proven to boost metabolic activity.
Guarana seed extractThese seeds add caffeine.
Ginger rootA flavorful ingredient that has positive effects on the digestive system and thermogenesis (when the body burns more calories to produce heat).
B vitaminsB vitamins are linked to metabolic activity.
Vitamin CA well-known antioxidant that supports immune function and tissue repair.
ChromiumA trace mineral that contributes to hunger control and blood sugar levels and helps with the breakdown of carbs, fats, and proteins.
Amino acids (only added to Celsius Essentials)Help with muscle recovery, focus, and mood.

They also contain carbonated water, citric acid, taurine, vegetable juice (for color), additional caffeine, and sucralose (artificial sweetener).

Overall, the Celsius brand uses well-researched ingredients in its products. However, you can easily get these vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, lean meats, and others. These options are more nutrient-dense and contain less caffeine than Celsius, which would make them a better option for your daily nutritional intake.

Possible side effects of Celsius

Energy drinks contain medium to high levels of caffeine, which can cause side effects. Some documented side effects linked to energy drink consumption with more than 200 mg of caffeine include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure levels
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in insulin response

Most energy drinks are documented to have 80–150 mg of caffeine per 235 ml serving, which is the equivalent caffeine content of approximately 150 ml of coffee. Celsius products have a minimum of 200 mg of caffeine, so drinking them may cause some of the side effects listed above.

No added sugars in Celsius

Celsius does not contain added sugars but uses sucralose (the brand name is Splenda) to flavor its products. This artificial sweetener tastes approximately 600 times as sweet as table sugar, so a little bit goes a long way.

The FDA states that sucralose is safe to consume; however, some consumers prefer not to buy foods or drinks that contain artificial ingredients.

Does Celsius boost your metabolism?

Celsius has funded six studies to investigate the metabolic effects of their products. Consistently, the findings indicate that drinking Celsius can improve metabolic activity in men and women when combined with other lifestyle changes.

This was demonstrated in a 2009 study, where men who drank Celsius for 70 days without doing physical activity did not achieve basal metabolic improvements compared to groups who drank Celsius and did exercise. Again, most healthcare professionals would agree that you'll have the best chances of improving your health and metabolism by taking a multi-pronged approach. Therefore, adding Celsius to your routine without completing other health-promoting behaviors (like exercising regularly and eating well) is unlikely to improve your metabolism.

Does Celsius enhance performance?

Some of their studies suggest that drinking Celsius before a workout can foster greater fatigue resistance, which may help people exercise longer. However, these scientific findings are from older studies, and more in-depth (and current) research is needed to better understand if Celsius could enhance athletic performance.

Comparing Celsius against other energy drinks

When deciding between an energy drink, review the nutrition label and pick a product that supports with your health and nutrition goals. Make sure to compare the caffeine and sugar content across products, and pick a drink that uses ingredients that best align with your health.

Celsius drinks have a minimum of 200 mg of caffeine, which outranks other popular options like Rockstar (160 mg per serving), Monster Energy (160 mg per serving), and Red Bull (80 mg per serving; however, a Red Bull can is much smaller compared to other products).

Some people prefer Celsius over other energy drinks because it uses simple ingredients and doesn’t contain sugar. In this regard, it could be a better option, but remember — it’s still very high in caffeine, and all energy drinks should be consumed in moderation.

Is Celsius worse than Red Bull?

Celsius and Red Bull are both popular energy drinks. The original Red Bull energy drink has less caffeine per serving than Celsius, but it contains added sugars that most people try to avoid. Red Bull also contains more artificial ingredients, which are all FDA-approved, which might impact a consumer's decision between the two products.

Alternatives to Celsius

An energy drink can be tempting when craving a sparkling or carbonated beverage. Try choosing plain sparkling water and adding natural flavoring agents — you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit and herbs.

If you consistently feel like you don’t have enough energy to get through the day or to exercise, you should follow up with your healthcare provider to be assessed. They can identify the root cause of low energy levels and suggest a treatment plan to help you feel more energized and well. Some possible explanations for feeling tired might be that you are undereating, you have a nutrient deficiency, you might have an undiagnosed health condition, or your sleep schedule may need improvement.

Conclusion: should you try Celsius?

All energy drinks should be consumed in moderation because they can have side effects. If you don't have caffeine restrictions, you may be in the clear to try Celsius. However, there isn't anything in this product that you couldn't get through diet or specific supplements recommended by your healthcare provider, which are probably caffeine-free. Also, you may naturally boost your metabolic rate by following evidence-based practices, like being more physically active (high-intensity interval training is great for metabolic health), eating a nutritious diet, and working with a dietitian.

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