Are Energy Drinks Allowed on a Carnivore Diet?
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Hardcore carnivore diet purists will say energy drinks are off-limits; deep down, I agree. However, like most things, it’s not all black and white.
Almost all energy drinks contain plant-based ingredients and sweeteners. Therefore, they are not carnivore diet-approved, but you must keep reading to understand the caveats.
Fresh Blood & Raw Milk
For example, the Maasai consider Milk and fresh Blood an energy drink. However, I presume you are from a Western country like me, and you class energy drinks as things like Red Bull and Monster.
If you are totally new to the carnivore diet, I suggest picking up this fantastic book by Dr. Shawn Baker called “The Carnivore Diet.” Also, read this popular article to get the low down.
Which energy drinks are totally banned?
In my opinion, any full-sugar energy drinks are a total no-go. The carnivore diet revolves around eating animal products and avoiding plant products.
Sugar is plant-based.
One of the significant benefits of the carnivore diet is that it does have benefits like the ketogenic diet. It appears to promote insulin sensitivity and fat burning for fuel.
These benefits would be blown out of the water if you decided to drink loads of sugary energy drinks. We drop a list of drinks that need to be avoided.
And, of course, a list of acceptable drinks.
Which energy drinks could be acceptable to drink
Sugary energy drinks are 100% off the table, but as we know, that does not exclude all energy drinks from the conversation.
There are plenty of zero-sugar and even zero-calorie energy drinks on the market. Therefore, there is a debate on if these are ok to have.
It is basically the same debate as when people go on to a carnivore Facebook page and say, “Oh, I couldn’t live without Diet Coke, but it’s ok as it has no sugar and calories… right?”
Well, I’m going to say Diet Coke is not a so-called health drink, and therefore, it’s probably a great idea to eliminate it from your diet. That goes for the artificially sweetened zero-sugar versions, as they are not healthy in my book.
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Why do you want to drink energy drinks?
Everything in life, and especially diet, needs a bit of context applied to the debate. Sometimes a one-fit approach does not work for everyone.
I do not believe we are all unique snowflakes that need tailored individual diets; I do believe the carnivore diet would work for nearly everyone… but it is a fact that there are outliers who can handle more or less than the majority.
So, whether you can have energy drinks probably depends on your own body and health. A better question to ponder is… why would you want to drink energy drinks?
If you want to drink energy drinks because you are always tired and lacking energy, the only way to get through the day is to have a load of coffee and energy drinks.
Then I would suggest that you have more serious problems going on that you need to resolve. You are using energy as a plaster to try to close a wound.
Instead of thinking you need energy drinks to get through the day, you can better identify why you are always tired. Solve this problem; then you might never want an energy drink again.
Speaking of fatigue, a lot of people have problems with quitting coffee, and this is discussed here:
You like the taste
Some people will say that they really love the taste of energy drinks, that it is a nice treat for them, and that by allowing themselves this treat, they are more likely to adhere to the carnivore diet long-term.
If this is true, I have no problem with them having the occasional energy drink if it means they stick to the carnivore diet.
The benefits of sticking to the carnivore diet will far outweigh the negatives of having an occasional energy drink.
However, I am talking about one or two a month. Some people will mean they have at least one a day as a treat.
If this is the case, I would suggest you are addicted to them mentally or physically, and you should work on reducing your consumption and eventually eradicate them.
You want a performance boost
Suppose you tell me you only have a sugar-free energy drink before or during a heavy deadlifting session. Again, I might be tempted to say you know what… the benefits may outweigh the negatives.
However, what boost are you getting from the energy drink? Most of it is probably a placebo.
I recommend you start doing the deadlift sessions without any boost, and you will probably find no difference in performance.
Plus, when people tell me they only use it for deadlifting, you know they will or will start using it every time they go for a gym session or run.
Better options than energy drinks
I will not dictate whether you can or cannot have sugar-free energy drinks, but I will offer some alternatives.
If you are low on energy and think you need an energy drink, this could indicate that you are not eating enough.
If you consistently up the number of animal products you eat, you should find that you have way more energy and do not need or want energy drinks.
Eat more fat
It has been drilled into us for decades that fat is bad, which now appears to be very untrue. However, many people who start eating carnivore will bring some hang-ups with them and will still be a bit afraid of fat.
If you always crave energy drinks, try eating a fattier version of carnivore, and you may find your cravings disappear.
Feel free to geek out on this article which explains the macros.
Up your electrolytes
Lack of energy can also be linked with an electrolyte imbalance. If you pay more attention to salting your food with high-quality salts like Redmond Real Salt, then you may find your cravings reduced.
You could also try electrolyte powders like Re-Lyte from Redmond Real Salt. They have a sweetener-free version called “RAW.” Plus, our readers get a 15% discount on Redmond products using this link or typing “Wild” at checkout.
Usually, the most significant energy drain is a lack of sleep. A poor night’s sleep has been proven to increase cravings for sugary junk food. Sleeping well will make eating much easier, and over time those of us on the carnivore diet have experienced improved sleep.
Over the past few years, I have been experimenting with reducing blue light, and it has been of great benefit as my sleep has improved. These quick articles will get you up to speed.
- 7 Reasons Blue Light Blocking Glasses May Help Sleep
- Pros & Cons of Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Do They Work?
- Does Blue Light Age & Damage Skin?
If you are always on edge and stressed, you will more likely succumb to so-called treats and comfort eating. Find ways to reduce your stress, and you will probably have a more balanced approach to eating and drinking.
Flavored Sparkling Water
This suggestion is more of a last resort. I would never want to say flavored sparkling water is acceptable, but if you need some taste in your water, having one of these occasionally may not hurt. This might be a solution to ween yourself off energy drinks.
I’ve tried these two brands:
I went way deeper into the flavored sparkling water world with this article which may help you make a better decision.
This is a big maybe! Most people have reported impressive benefits when they take out coffee from their drinking routine. However, I know this cannot be easy, and coffee is a great socializer.
That being said, if you drink coffee, you might as well drink the best. In my option, the highest quality and best-tasting coffee out there is KION. Our readers get a first-time 10% discount by using this link or typing in WILDLUMENS at checkout.
The link and coupon code should work for all products on the KION website,
For most people on a carnivore diet, I would say you could have an occasional energy drink, and there wouldn’t be any issues. That’s just my opinion, and Carnivore Purists will say, “hell no.”
However, if you constantly want to have energy drinks all the time, then I would suggest other things are going on that you need to resolve.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need or have the cravings, and the carnivore diet would be pretty simple to execute, which brings me to the point that some of us need a little coaching to help us along.
Our YouTube channel also offers some fun recipes and carnivore content to help you on your journey.