Is NOS Energy Vegan? Here Is What You Should Know

Once a property of the Coca-Cola Company, the NOS Energy drink is now produced by Monster Beverage and licensed by Holley Performance.

It is sold in 16 and 24 oz cans and is available in 6 variations:

  • Original
  • Sugar-Free
  • Charged Citrus
  • Cherried Out
  • GT Grape
  • Rowdy
  • and Nitro Mango.

Depending on the one you choose, different artificial colors and natural flavors are used, but the other ingredients remain roughly the same.

NOS Energy Drink: Ingredients

Here is a list of ingredients taken from a listing on Amazon:

  • Carbonated water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Citric acid
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sodium hexametaphosphate (preservative)
  • Caffeine
  • Taurine
  • Natural flavors
  • Acacia
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative)
  • Glycerol ester of rosin
  • Inositol
  • Sucralose
  • Artificial colors
  • Calcium disodium EDTA (preservative)
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Guarana
  • Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)

This is by no means a healthy product, but if you’re looking to take your workout up a notch, an energy drink like the NOS can get your brain firing on all cylinders.

Also, looking at the ingredients, the NOS energy drink is probably considered vegan-friendly by most vegans’ standards. But what if you’re a more stringent vegan?

Well, in that case, certain ingredients may require further questioning.

Natural Flavors

natural flavors

Natural flavors can originate from plant-based or animal-based ingredients.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) says:

“Natural flavors are… flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

However, it’s hard to determine the ingredients used to create the “natural flavors” in most products because the FDA does not require companies to disclose that information.

This means that certain companies may use animal ingredients under the “natural flavors” umbrella, except for major allergens.

For example, an ingredient classified as a “natural flavor” is castoreum.

Castoreum is a slightly sweet substance found in the anal secretions of beavers and is sometimes used as a substitute for vanilla, and also enhances strawberry or raspberry flavors.

Though, fortunately, that is now less common due to its high cost. 

Figuring Out Which Natural Flavors Are Being Used

Earlier, I mentioned that companies have no obligation to reveal what natural flavors they use.

While that is true, that doesn’t mean companies aren’t allowed to divulge it to customers. From what I’ve researched, companies do that to protect their business because there is a chance the competition may try to duplicate their formula.

Generally, you can obtain that information by doing the following:

  • Visit the company’s website and check their product or FAQ page;
  • Or you can try to contact them through email or phone.

From what I’ve seen, websites rarely have that kind of information, so the best step is to directly contact the company. Some companies are transparent, some aren’t.

Artificial Colors

animal testing
Image by Rabbit in Research for Animal Testing, license CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

The NOS Energy drink contains artificial colors.

The reason artificial colors have a bad reputation in the vegan community, especially among stricter vegans, is because they’re a byproduct of animal testing.

Because artificial colors have potential health risks, they require periodic testing.

Here are two tests conducted in 2017 and 2018, on animal subjects.

This is why some vegans are against consuming products with artificial colors.

Are There Better Alternatives?

Some of the alternatives I’ve found are:

These alternatives don’t contain refined sugars, “hidden” natural flavors, or artificial colors.

Compared to energy drinks like NOS, Monster, and Red Bull, these contain components that are more likely to be vegan.

Summary: NOS Energy Drinks Are Vegan

NOS Energy Drinks are vegan, but some vegans may be against consuming ingredients such as artificial colors, or natural flavors.

Keep in mind that there are always brands that you can pick over NOS that follow a formula that is less likely to be connected to animal suffering.

While we didn’t mention in this blog post, some energy drinks contain refined cane sugar.

There is a chance cane sugar may be refined with bone char, a decolorizing and deashing agent that is obtained by heating the bones of cattle at high temperatures.

If you happen to go with a different brand than the ones I’ve suggested, keep that in mind.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five 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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