Is Red Bull Suitable For Vegans? (Here are 3 Reasons Why It May Not Be)

is red bull vegan?

Red Bull gives you wings to fly, or at least that’s what the commercial says.

As an energy drink, it’s among the most popular with 5 billion cans being sold annually throughout the world. Red Bull also has its name tied to sports such as biking, motorsports, surf, and even air sports. There’s even a Formula One team called Red Bull Racing.

Red Bull is marketed as a way to improve energy and boost mental and physical performance.

But is Red Bull vegan? Let’s have a closer look.

What is Red Bull?

red bull

Red Bull is a carbonated beverage that contains caffeine, as well as other energy-boosting compounds, including several B vitamins and taurine.

While the exact composition may vary between countries, the ingredients usually include:

  • Carbonated water
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Citric acid
  • Magnesium carbonate
  • Glucuronolactone
  • Taurine
  • Artificial colors
  • Natural flavors.

Red Bull also sells sugar-free options such as Red Bull Zero and Red Bull Sugarfree, which use artificial sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame K) to replace sugar.

Overall, the ingredients in a Red Bull are designed to give you an energy boost, which may come at a cost in the long-term.

Too Much Red Bull May Have Negative Repercussions

Just like any energy drink, Red Bull contains many crappy ingredients.

While it’s rare, excessively drinking Red Bull may lead to a heart attack or even death. In fact, this has occurred in cases where young men reportedly drank energy drinks regularly and in excess.

But of course, this is the worst-case scenario.

At the same time, we should be cautious because the side-effects can also be daunting. Regularly consuming Red Bull (or other energy drinks) can increase the risk for conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure and heart rate
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tooth damage
  • Kidney health
  • Caffeine overdose and toxicity.

It’s high in sugars and has little nutritional value. As a fellow human, I’d recommend you to find a healthier alternative to boost your energy levels, such as coffee or caffeinated tea.

If you absolutely love Red Bull, then please drink it moderately.

Why Redbull May Not Be Vegan.

From the ingredients I’ve checked, there are at most three reasons that place the Red Bull on the grayline. However, this also depends on your personal view of veganism.

Are you fine with not eating animal-based ingredients, but are cool with wearing polyester-based clothes? I mean, each time you wash clothes made from polyester, micro-plastics flow through rivers and oceans, eventually putting animals’ lives at risk.

If you’re cool with that, then probably you may regard Redbull as a vegan drink. Otherwise, these three reasons will probably interest you.

1. Artificial Colors Are Tested On Animals.

This is a big issue in the vegan community.

Artificial colors are in many foods, especially energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, Gatorade, etc. And sadly, each one has a long background of animal experiments, where it never ends well for the one being experimented on.

This is a tricky issue because it’s argued that animal testing is a necessary evil. After all, the purpose behind it is to prove the safety or danger of such substances.

Some people also suggest this is a one-off thing.

However, I’ve found this isn’t the case, at all.

Artificial colors are periodically tested, and you can see tests done in plain 2017 and 2018.

They run experiments because artificial colors are linked to controversial health effects, which is the reason why laboratories insist on periodically making tests.

In other words, I don’t think these tests will stop anytime soon.

Important fact: Red Bull GmbH company continues to support tests on animals.

2. What? Natural Flavors Ain’t Vegan!?

Natural flavors can be derived from an animal or plant-based source.

The U.S FDA’s Code Of Regulations points out that natural flavors are typically extracted from the following 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.

These animal or plant-based sources are obtained through heating or roasting.

One fairly common natural flavor is “Castoreum”, a substance extracted from the anal secretions of beavers. Though, most likely, the majority of flavors are plant-based.

If you can’t tell it apart from the label (which isn’t simple to figure out), my suggestion would be to contact the company or manufacturer for more information.

*I’m presently waiting for customer service to fill me in on this, so I’ll most likely come back to this page to update it.

3. Sugar May Also Not Be Vegan.

refined sugar

During the refining stage, sugar is sometimes processed with bone char, a substance used to filter and bleach cane sugar, giving it a white, pristine color.

This substance is obtained by heating the bones of cattle at high temperatures. The end product is carbonized bones in a bucket. It’s also crucial to mention, that some companies do not use bone char, and rely on granular activated charcoal instead.

In addition, bone char is only used on sugar derived from sugarcane. Another most common source of sugar is beet sugar which doesn’t follow the same “bleaching” process.

Red Bull, like many other companies, acquire their sugar from different suppliers, so they’re unable to track the sugar contained in each can. (That is one more reason (besides cross-contact) why Oreos don’t advertise their cookies as being vegan.)

Feel free to contact the company or manufacturer to ask any questions you can think of.

Additional information: You can also try the sugar-free options such as Red Bull Zero and Red Bull Sugarfree. They have artificial sweeteners instead of actual sugar.

Misconception: Taurine Comes From A Bull’s Balls.

Taurine is an amino acid, but not an essential one. In other words, our body doesn’t require an external source of taurine because our body naturally produces it.

Opposite to rumors, this amino acid isn’t extracted from bull urine or bull semen. It’s just that the name derived from the Latin word Taurus refers to ox or bull.

Additionally, the taurine in most supplements and energy drinks is created synthetically in labs. Though you can naturally obtain it from certain animal foods and a restricted range of plant-based ingredients.

Verdict: Red Bull Doesn’t Have Animal Ingredients.

While Red Bull doesn’t contain flagrant animal-based ingredients, most of the Red Bulls have artificial colors, an ingredient many vegans are against. What’s more, the Red Bull company actually supports animal testing.

Other than that, I don’t think Red Bull has any flagrant ingredient you should worry about.

However, if you want to abandon all of the three ingredients on this blog, you can always buy an Organic Red Bull can. Though, to be frank, I’ve seen more affordable drinks.

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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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