Are Monster Energy Drinks Suitable For Vegans?

is monster energy drink vegan

According to the Monster Energy website, the product line varies from country to country. While in the UK, there are 6 product lines. On the U.S website, there are 10 product lines.

Not surprising, since Monster Energy originated in the US.

For the sake of keeping this blog more informative, I’ll refer to the Monster products selling in the U.S. The Monster product lines include:

  • Classic Monster Energy
  • Rehab
  • Ultra
  • Juice Monster
  • Punch Monster
  • Java Monster
  • Dragon Tea
  • Muscle Monster
  • Monster Maxx
  • Hydro

To keep this post short and sweet, the info is narrowed to Monsters selling in the U.S.

The ingredients may vary from country to country, so I recommend you always read the entire product label to confirm that fact. It might be different for some products but not always.

Before delving into each product line, let’s first go over some of the more questionable and common ingredients present in energy drinks.

The Most Common Ingredients In Energy Drinks.

Across the different Monster varieties, as well as energy drinks in general, you’re bound to find a few common ingredients. Some of which, may or not be vegan.

Are Natural Flavors Considered Vegan?

natural flavors

Are all natural flavors vegan? Not quite.

Some natural flavors may come from animals, and others may come from plants.

In fact, according to the US FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations, natural flavors are created from substances extracted from the following animal and plant sources:

  • Fruit or fruit juice
  • Vegetables or vegetable juice
  • Spices
  • Edible yeast, herbs, bark, buds, root leaves or plant material
  • Meat, poultry or seafood
  • Dairy products, including fermented products
  • And even Eggs.

All of which can be obtained by heating the animal or plant-based material.

If you are unsure whether or not the product has natural flavors derived from animals, you can either choose to:

  • Question the company or manufacturers
  • Use common sense to figure out the origin.

Added flavors can appear as just “Natural Flavor”, or they can have a specific name. For example, a common natural flavor is “Castoreum”. That name represents a slightly sweet substance found in the anal secretions of beavers. 

I’ve mentioned “Castoreum” as an example, but the majority of natural flavors are made from plant-based sources.

Does Taurine Come From Bulls?

bull

Taurine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in our bodies.

However, it’s not an essential amino acid. Our body makes taurine, unlike cats that need to consume taurine to keep their retinas healthy. 

Contrary to popular belief, this amino acid is not extracted from bull urine or bull semen. The name derives from the Latin word Taurus, which means ox or bull. Hence the reason for confusion.

Additionally, the Taurine present in supplements and energy drinks is usually created in laboratories and doesn’t derive from animals. In other words, it’s vegan.

Other sources of taurine include animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy, as well as a restricted range of plant-based foods.

What About L-Carnitine?

carnitine

L-carnitine (also known as carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine) is a non-essential amino acid made in the liver and kidneys. It’s also found in animal products, and it exists in small amounts within plant-based sources.

Carnitine is needed to burn fat, so carnitine supplements are promoted by supplement companies for weight loss. However, according to evidence that doesn’t happen.

Akin to Taurine this ingredient can also be formulated in laboratories.

Artificial Colors Were Tested On Animals.

animal tests

Artificial colors are made from isolated chemicals or a byproduct of petroleum.

These colors are also a result of painful sessions of animal testing, where researchers use animals to prove the safety or danger of these ingredients.

Needless to mention, many vegans are against artificial colors.

Now, these colors are not all extracted from animal ingredients. Nevertheless, there is one color (Red #4 or Carmine), that is produced from scale insects such as the cochineal.

If a product has Red #4 that immediately rules the product out.

However, many vegans are okay with artificial colors given how the tests are conducted periodically and not for a singular product.

Are the Original Monster Energy Drinks Vegan?

original monster energy drinks

Everything started with the original Monster energy drink.

Here is the list of ingredients:

Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, natural flavors, taurine, sodium citrate, color added (natural colors), panax ginseng root extract, L-carnitine, caffeine, sorbic acid, benzoic acid, niacinamide, sodium chloride, Glycine max glucuronolactone (soy), inositol, guarana seed extract, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sucralose, riboflavin, maltodextrin, and cyanocobalamin.

As we’ve learned, natural flavors may come from an animal or plant-based source. On the other hand, added colors are periodically tested on animals. And taurine and l-carnitine are, for most supplements and energy drinks, produced synthetically.

Therefore, as I see it, the issue depends heavily on:

  1. What type of natural flavor is being used on a specific energy drink;
  2. Whether or not you’re okay with colors having been tested on animals.

In response to these questions, there is an email response from Monster that says the following:

Thank you for visiting the Monster Energy Website. We use no animal by-products in any of our products line. However, they are not vegan certified. Thank you, Monster Energy

In light of this response, we can assume that the natural flavors used are vegan.

However, I still feel it’s important to isolate different product lines and check the ingredients.

Are The Other Variations Vegan?

The original Monster Energy line introduced different variations such as:

  • Lo-Carb
  • Absolutely Zero
  • Assault
  • Import Super Premium
  • Mule Ginger Brew

All of which use a very similar formula to the original energy drink. Albeit, the potential non-vegan ingredients are the same.

Variation:Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients:
Lo-CarbNatural Flavors, Added Colors
Absolutely ZeroNatural Flavors, Added Colors
AssaultNatural Flavors, Added Colors
ImportNatural Flavors, Added Colors
Mule Ginger BrewNatural Flavors, Added Colors

Since these variations do not include animal-based ingredients, it seems the original Monster Energy line is suitable for vegans. This is unless you are heavily against artificial colors.

Is Monster Energy Rehab Vegan?

monster rehab

Monster launched the Rehab line to act as a triple-threat: to quench your thirst, to fire you up before a workout, and to act as a recovery drink.

According to the North American Monster’s website, there are four different Rehab flavors:

  • Lemonade
  • Peach
  • Orangeade
  • And Raspberry.

Although I must also mention that I’ve seen other flavors such as Green tea, Rojo tea, and Protean in several online stores. Perhaps the varieties change based on the country.

Akin to the original Monster line, the ingredients do not vary greatly.

Here are the ingredients of the lemonade-flavored Rehab drink:

brewed tea (Filtered Water, black tea solids), lemon juice concentrate, Glucose, Taurine, citric acid, sodium Citrate, panax Ginseng Root Extract, natural flavor, magnesium lactate dihydrate, monopotassium phosphate, calcium lactate pentahydrate, Caffeine, sucralose, concentrated coconut water, niacinamide (vitamin b3), salt, d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin b5), quercetin dihydrate, L-Carnitine, L-tartrate, Glucuronolactone, Guarana Extract, Inositol, acesulfame potassium, acai extract, goji berry puree, mangosteen concentrated puree, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin.

According to the list of ingredients, we have the usual suspect (natural flavor), but there’s no mention of added colors. This further indicates the Rehab line is suitable for vegans.

However, to make sure, let’s quickly take a look at the non-vegan ingredients potentially present in other flavors.

Rehab Flavor:Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients:
LemonadeNatural Flavor
PeachNatural Flavor
OrangeadeNatural Flavor
RaspberryNatural Flavor

Given the response given by the Monster team, we can more or less assume that the Rehab line is entirely vegan as it doesn’t have animal-based ingredients nor ingredients that have been heavily tested on animals – which is the case with artificial colors.

Is Monster Energy Ultra Vegan?

ultra

Probably the second most popular line: Monster Ultra.

Within this line there are seven flavors:

  • Zero
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Sunrise
  • Black
  • Violet
  • And Paradise.

Most of the problematic ingredients you find in the Ultra line, you can find them in the former product lines: Natural flavors and added colors.

Ultra Flavors:Potentially Non-Vegan Ingredients:
ZeroNatural flavors.
RedNatural flavors, Red #40, Blue #1
BlueNatural flavors, Red #40, Blue #1
SunriseNatural flavors, Yellow #5, Blue #1
BlackNatural flavors, Red #40, Blue #1
VioletNatural flavors, Red #40, Blue #1
ParadiseNatural flavors, Yellow #5, Blue #1

Unless you’re against added colors, this line is technically vegan as it doesn’t contain animal-based ingredients.

Is Juice Monster Energy Juice Vegan?

juice monster

Akin to other formulas where tea and coffee are blended with carbonated water to form the Rehab and Java Monster line, the same happens with Juice Monster.

But instead of tea or coffee, a blend of fruits is added to the mix.

This line so far has 4 flavors:

  • Pacific Punch
  • Khaos
  • Mango Loco
  • And Pipeline Punch.

Again, other than the addition of fruit blends and concentrates, you have natural flavors and added colors, as well as sugar. I would like to discard the idea that these ingredients aren’t vegan, other than the fact artificial colors were tested on animals.

However, there is evidence suggesting sugar may not be vegan.

Certain sugar companies use bone char to filter and bleach the sugar derived from sugarcane.

However, not all sugar is derived from sugarcane, and not all sugar derived from sugarcane is processed using bone char. In half of the cases, sugar is derived from sugar beets, and rather than bone char, some companies use granular activated charcoal to filter cane sugar.

This information is not available on any label, so in order to figure out whether the sugar in any food is vegan or not, you must contact the company.

This being said, if the sugar can be proven to be filtered WITHOUT bone char, then the Java Monster formula is indeed vegan. (Unless you’re heavily against artificial colors)

Is Punch Monster Also Vegan?

monster punch energy

The Punch Monster is a remix of the classic Monster. It’s sweet, but with little carbonation.

According to reviews on Amazon, this one is apparently not being sold in stores. And based on the information available within the Monster website, this drink comes with two flavors/variations:

  • Baller’s Blend
  • And Mad Dog

None are flavors you can immediately distinguish from looking at the names, but that’s Monster’s (the brand) charm. They’re unique in that aspect.

Both flavors contain natural flavors, added colors, and sugar.

In my opinion, this line (and the ones we’ve mentioned) thus far are vegan, but I can’t argue that’s the same for everyone.

Is The Java Monster Vegan?

java monster

Java Monster sets itself apart by having actual coffee as a core part of the recipe.

This line has 13 different flavors:

  • Mean Bean
  • Loca Moca
  • Kona Blend
  • Irish Blend
  • Vanilla Light
  • Salted Caramel
  • Swiss Chocolate
  • Farmer’s Oats
  • Espresso Monster
  • Vanilla Espresso
  • (Vanilla) Caffé Monster
  • (Mocha) Caffé Monster
  • (Salted Caramel) Caffé Monster

Java Monster typically combines milk, coffee, and Monster’s original blend (recipe) to offer you an iced coffee energy beverage. All of the beverages except Farmer’s Oats contain milk.

In fact, the Farmer’s Oat description sets itself apart from the cousins/brothers quite nicely:

farmer's oats is vegan.

Frankly, I’m quite happy they’re not leaving vegans out of this one. Though if you’re vegetarian, you have 12 other flavors at your service.

Conclusion: Among the 13 flavors, only Farmer’s Oat is vegan.

Is Monster’s Dragon Tea Vegan?

dragon tea

Dragon tea is Monster’s way of filling tea-drinkers with energy.

While I don’t think this line of products is popular, they have three flavors:

  • Green Tea
  • Yerba Mate
  • White Tea

These contain artificial and natural flavors, but do not contain added colors. In other words, the Dragon Tea line is most likely vegan seeing how it doesn’t have animal-based ingredients.

Is The Muscle Monster Energy Shake Vegan?

muscle monster

Muscle Monster is all about boosting protein intake, in addition to the energy boost. When I looked at the bottles, I couldn’t help but think these drinks weren’t vegan, and I was right.

There are only two flavors:

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

Both of these contain ingredients such as milk protein concentrate, and calcium caseinate.

That fact alone immediately rules out these products.

Is Monster Maxx Vegan?

monster maxx

The Monster Maxx line is essentially the original Monster injected with nitrous oxide for a smoother and unique texture. Other than that, the ingredients remain the same.

It also comes in three different varieties/flavors:

  • Eclipse
  • Solaris
  • And Super Dry.

Since it’s impossible to figure out the flavors by the name, I can tell you that Super Dry has a citrus-like taste. Eclipse is a mixture of grape and gooseberry notes with a champagne-like texture. And Solaris tastes like pink grapefruit, also with a champagne-like texture.

The Monster Maxx line also has natural and artificial flavors, in addition to the added colors.

Hence, this line can be considered vegan. (Unless you’re heavily against artificial flavors)

Lastly, Is Monster Hydro Vegan?

monster hydro\

Monster Hydro is yet another line of products that Monster produces. Yet unlike the original Monster drink, it is a non-carbonated and lightly sweetened beverage.

According to the Monster website (North America), Hydro has 6 flavors:

  • Tropical Thunder
  • Purple Passion
  • Blue Ice
  • Zero Sugar
  • Mean Green
  • And Manic Melon

Aside from the natural flavors and the added colorings, Hydro also has sugar among the ingredients. This doesn’t immediately count the product out, but if the sugar is processed using bone char, then some vegans might be heavily against it.

Nevertheless, if Monster has a diverse sugar supply chain, you might have mixed sugars. In other words, some sugar may be filtered with bone char, while another portion may not.

A good example of this is Oreos:

oreos bone char

I’m assuming the same happens with a ton of different brands, not just Oreos. This also why I’m less strict when it comes to my standards.

However, this all comes down to your own convictions.

In my own opinion, Monster can still be deemed a vegan drink. 

Monster Is Not The Standard For Health.

While Monster gives you a tremendous boost in energy, the mixture of chemicals in a can of Monster is certainly not good for the body.

According to different health organizations (such as the NHS in the UK), consuming energy drinks has some potential risks, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes – because high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity.
  • Caffeine overdose – which can sometimes lead to palpitations, nausea, high blood pressure, vomits, convulsions and in some dire cases, even death.
  • Poor dental health.
  • Obesity
  • And even late miscarriages.

Simply put, these drinks are caffeine and sugar. Nothing good can come from that. With a simple Google Search, you can quickly find that out for yourself.

Therefore, if you intend to consume Monster, do it moderately.

Verdict: Most Monster Drinks Are Vegan.

Sorry for having you read a lot of stuff, but evidently, there are some drinks within the Monster catalog that we can’t drink.

Allow me to better summarize everything:

Product line:Potential Non-Vegan Ingredient(s):Conclusion:
Classic Monster Energy
Natural Flavors, Added Colors.No animal-based ingredients.
RehabNatural Flavors.No animal-based ingredients.
UltraNatural Flavors, Added Colors.No animal-based ingredients.
Juice MonsterNatural Flavors, Added Colors, And Sugar.No animal-based ingredients.
Punch MonsterNatural Flavors, Added Colors, And Sugar.No animal-based ingredients.
Java MonsterNatural Flavors, Milk.Not Vegan (Except Farmer's Oats)
Dragon TeaNatural Flavors.No animal-based ingredients.
Muscle MonsterNatural Flavors, Milk. Not Vegan.
Monster MaxxNatural Flavors, Added Colors.No animal-based ingredients.
HydroNatural Flavors, Added Colors, And Sugar.No animal-based ingredients.

Almost every product contains added colors and sugar. Both ingredients have gained a bad reputation within the vegan community, for obvious reasons.

However, the majority of the products sold by Monster don’t have animal-based ingredients, which is generally a conclusive factor on a usual trip to the supermarket.

This being said, I also think this will come down to you as a vegan to decide.

I hope this blog post has served you well, and I apologize for anything I may have written wrongly.

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About the Author: Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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