Feb 12 2012

Review: Low-Carb Energy Drinks

There are many low-carb energy drinks available nowadays, at least in Finland. The taste, price and amount of carbohydrates varies dramatically among the products. In this test I tested all 10 different low-carb energy drinks that are commonly sold in Finland.

Red Bull Sugarfree

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 3 kcal
Protein 0.02 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Red Bull Sugarfree is all in one product — it has zero carbs and the taste is really smooth. This is as good as it gets. Only minus is that the sugarfree version is not sold in bigger containers, the small 250 ml (8.5 fl. oz.) can is empty with a couple of gulps. Uses Aspartame and Acesulfame K as sweeteners. Price range: ~1.50 € ($2.00).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Mad-Croc Sugarfree

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 3.8 kcal
Protein 0.4 g
Carbohydrates <0.1 g
Sugars 0 g
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Mad-Croc Sugarfree is a Sucralose sweetened version of the regular energy drink by Mad-Croc. The taste is sharper and tangier than Red Bull’s smoothness, still pleasant. This one is also sold in small 250 ml (8.5 fl oz.) can only. Price range: ~1.20 € ($1.60).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Mixxed Up Sugar Free

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 4 kcal
Protein 0.4 g
Carbohydrates <0.1 g
Sugars <0.1 g
Fat <0.1 g
Fiber <0.1 g

Mixxed Up Sugar Free is manufactured by a German company Lidl. Its taste and smell are very similar to Mad-Croc and I’m not sure I could differentiate the two when blindfolded. This product is the cheapest, one can costs only 80 Euro cents ($1). Has sodium cyclamate, acesulfame K and aspartame as sweeteners, only small can available.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Monster Lo-Carb

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 9 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 2.4 g
Sugars 1.4
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

I have to admit that I like Monster Lo-Carb energy drink taste a lot. I rank it right at the top where Red Bull Sugarfree stands. It is not traditional energy drink taste at all — in my opinion it is quite fruity. It is the only product that is advertised as being low carb but it still has the largest amount of them (if we omit ED Grl which is not “light”, “diet” or “sugarfree”), so consume it rarely. The taste is really unique, you have to test it yourself to see if you like it or not. It is sweetened by glucose syrup, sucralose and acesulfame K. Price range: ~2.00 € ($2.65).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Battery Stripped

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 5 kcal
Protein 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 0.4 g
Sugars 0.1
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Battery Stripped represents mediocre in this test, it’s not great but it’s not bad either. A stereotype of an energy drink, you know what you’ll get. Sweeteners: Acesulfame K & Aspartame. Price range: ~2.20 € ($2.90).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

ED Lemon Light

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 8 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Sugars 2 g
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

ED Lemon Light has a really refreshing lemony taste. This one does not have a traditional energy drink flavor either — just like all the other products in the ED Light family. If you have a really bad hangover this will liven you up. Sweeteners: fructose and Aspartame. Price range: ~2.30 € ($3.00).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

ED Green Light

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 8 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Sugars 2 g
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

I tried to distinguish different ingredients and flavors in ED Green Light smell and taste. I could not find anything familiar, yet the taste is refreshingly different. The product description says it has the flavors of apple and Goji berry, among others. If you can disregard the impression that you are drinking purely artificial detergent, I recommend to give it a try. Has fructose and Aspartame as sweeteners. Price range: ~2.20 € ($2.90).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

ED Grl

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 32 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 8 g
Sugars 8 g
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

ED Grl is advertised as an energy drink for girls — the taste is very modest and it is hardly carbonated, it lacks the nuances that we expect the energy drinks to have. It is manufactured by a Finnish company Hartwall. The smell and taste reminds me of raspberry, very sweet. However, they claim it has the flavor of pomegranate and pepper. Additionally it contains only natural color and flavor ingredients, no taurine — only caffeine. Caution: It contains lots of fructose so it is not very low in carbs, yet less than in regular (sugar) energy drinks. Price range: ~2.30 € ($3.00).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Rodeo Light

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 4.8 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 0.7 g
Sugars N/A
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

In Finland Rodeo Light is manufactured by VIP-Juicemaker Inc. but I could not find any international umbrella organization nor web site for it. VIP-Juicemaker says “it is popular in Europe”, for what it’s worth. This product is one of the cheaper ones and also the worst. It tastes like berry juice and it is normally carbonated. The smell and taste have strong artificial flavors in them. The beverage is sold in a large 0.5 liter (17 fl. oz.) bottle. Sweeteners: Aspartame and Acesulfame K. Price range: ~1.30 € ($1.70).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

ED Scizzo Light

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 ml
Energy 12 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Sugars 2
Fat 0 g
Fiber 0 g

ED Scizzo Light is the newest member of the ED light family. The label says it has lemon, grape, orange juice concentrates and fructose syrup + Aspartame as sweeteners. The taste has a distinct artificial flavor and reminds of fruit juice. I can clearly distinguish lemon and grape, it is bitter even. And don’t expect the normal energy drink taste, this one isn’t anywhere close to it. The product is moderately carbonated. Price range: ~1.90 € ($2.50).

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

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