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Red Bull Sugar Free 8.4oz Review

Updated Review Date: 06/08/2017
Original Review Date: 07/15/2011

         With taurine, caffeine, and B-group vitamins, Sugar Free Red Bull claims that it "Vitalizes the body and mind". Is this true? Let's find out, but first let's look at the basic product attributes. Pre-mixed Sugar Free Red Bull can be found on the cheap at Amazon in 16, 12 and 8.4oz. cans - all sizes contain the same ingredients but the nutritional values scale up with size. I chose to use the 8.4oz can for this review. This particular size is a low-sodium, low-calorie product with a decent supplement of B-vitamins and 80mg of caffeine. It's packaged in an aluminum can and does carry an expiration date printed on the bottom. The original Sugar Free Red Bull is only available in the original Red Bull flavor and this product shouldn't be confused with Red Bull Zero, which is an entirely different sugar Free Red Bull product and will be covered in an upcoming review.
         And with that covered, let's move on to the product review...

Red Bull Sugar Free (8.4oz) Nutrition Information

Each entire 8.4oz can, which is 1 serving, has the following nutrition values:

Calories: 5
Sodium : 105 mg
Carbohydrates: 3g
Vitamin B12: 80%
Pantothenic Acid: 50%
Vitamin B6: 250%
Caffeine: 80mg
Protein: less than 1 gram Taurine: 1g

Red Bull Sugar Free (8.4oz) Ingredients

Carbonated Water, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Caffeine, Acesulfame K, Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine)Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate (Pantothenic Acid), Pyridoxine HCL (vitamin B6), Vitamin B12, Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors.

The Scorecard for Red Bull Sugar Free in 8.4oz Cans

Based on the five point rating system specifically for energy drinks, here's how Sugar Free Red Bull scores:

Does it Work? Simply put, yes it does. Though like the 5 Hour Energy review I recently posted, I can't attribute the increased energy from anything else besides the caffeine. That said if you're really into caffeine you might find the 80mg of caffeine in Red Bull to be a little inadequate in the energy boosting department. But, if you're a moderate or light caffeine consumer then 80mg will most likely be just the right amount. I used this product in the late afternoon for 3 days since it didn't seem like an appealing candidate to replace the morning coffee (I can't stand carbonation in the AM). Aside from some indigestion, which occurred every time I drank it due to a sensitive stomach, I didn't experience any bizarre side effects from Red Bull; it was as if I just had a small cup of coffee. Unfortunately for this review I had no additional taste testers to broaden the scope of this category. Although it works for me, some folks might require more than the 80mg caffeine kick from an energy drink than the 8.4oz can of Red Bull delivers. The larger sizes do have more caffeine than this size. Considering that the caffeine and other ingredients scale with product size, we have some flexibility with the 3 different sizes to choose from. Since this product fills the slot for those that need a smaller energy kick, it gets a top score here. (+.1)

Taste: The taste needs some serious work in my opinion. I remember as a child I'd have to occasionally take a grape flavored cold medicine. To me, sugar free Red Bull tastes like a carbonated version of that cold medicine mixed with a little stale beer and wheatgrass juice. There's a long-lasting medicinal aftertaste as well. Obviously Red Bull is an acquired taste for some people. Because of the strong medicinal taste and aftertaste there's a half point deduction. Keep in mind though that taste is always subjective; I'm sure some folks out there love the flavor. (+.5)

Packaging Waste: The 8.4 oz cans are made of 100%, fully recyclable aluminum, so there's no problem with packaging waste here. (+1)

Value: On average the Red Bull 8.4 oz. cans have come down in price considerably since the original review and is price-competitive with other brands of pre-mixed energy drinks in the same or nearly the same size class. 8.4oz Sugar Free Red Bull can be found for a little less than one and a half USD per can in a 24 pack case at Amazon. It is a semi-portable source of energy with some value to it; I say semi-portable because while the can is smaller than an average soda can its obviously not as small as a 2 oz. shot bottle, so there are some limits on where you can easily stash it. Overall though, the value is now at the industry standard in my opinion, so it now gets a top score here. (+1)

Health Factor: Besides the 105mg of sodium, which is still within the 140 mg limit for a low-sodium product, there's not too much to worry about for the health factor unless you're on medication for a health condition or have PKU. There is now a warning label on sugar free Red Bull about the caffeine for children, pregnant or nursing women and anyone sensitive to caffeine. There is also an appropriate warning for Phenylketonurics. The taurine level present is well within the acceptable daily intake - taurine is a sulfonic acid containing an amino group and is essential for cardiovascular function and skeletal muscle development, as well as a few other important biological processes.
         I'm sure also you noticed the 250% of the USRDA (roughly 3.3 mg) listed for vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL), but it's actually nothing to be concerned about. Vitamin B6 is water-soluble, meaning you excrete most of what's not needed, and it's not toxic until around the 200mg to 500mg range, which is far more than the level present in the product. Sugar Free Red Bull also uses aspartame as one of the sweeteners but sucralose or stevia extract would be a better choice given the small percentage of the population with PKU which cannot use the product but might want to (.25 point deduction). I'm also not clear on how many colorings are in the beverage, so I have an open email to them inquiring how many there are. Tentatively, Sugar Free Red Bull has a health factor score of (+.75).

Overall Rating: 4.25 out of 5. Not too bad of a score from such a popular energy drink brand. If you need the convenience of a medium-strength cup of coffee in a semi-portable package and don't mind the acquired taste, Sugar Free Red Bull is probably a good choice for those of you that enjoy sugar free energy drinks.

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