Is the Celsius Drink Good or Bad for You?

The Celsius energy drink is making waves. But is it as good for us as the cans promise? I reviewed the drink with registered sports dietitians Megan Robinson and Amy Stephens to discuss the drink and learn once and for all if Celsius drinks are bad for you and if there is a place in a healthy diet for them. Here’s what they have to say.

This post was originally written June 2, 2023. It was updated with additional information on December 12, 2023. 

Whitney Heins drinking Celsius drink.
I have stopped drinking Celsius due to its potential health risks.

Celsius drinks are flavorful energy drinks that promise to boost energy levels, burn fat, and boost your metabolism, all while tasting like a treat and containing essential vitamins.  When I first tried them I was hooked; in fact, I drank one almost every day—sometimes in place of my afternoon snack because I wasn’t hungry when I drank it.

When something becomes a habit, however, I start to ask questions. I wondered if Celsius Fitness Drinks were as healthy as the company claimed them to be. It seemed too good to be true. After all, after drinking the popular drink for just 2 weeks I had already developed the jitters, heart palpitations, eye twitching, and trouble sleeping– commonly noted side effects of the drink.

Given the carbonated energy drink’s effects on me, I decided to delve deeper into the drink and share what I learned. Celsius is everywhere – in smoothie shops, on Tiktok, in the hands of fellow moms and my kids’ teachers, and beyond. Given the craze, I want consumers and my community to be informed.

In addition to my research into the brand, I reached out to registered sports nutritionists Megan Robinson and Amy Stephens, and former supplement research analyst and founder of Previnex, David Block, to get their take on the drink and to see if Celsius is safe. 

In summary, Robinson and Block do not recommend drinking Celsius – especially warning against teens and children drinking it. Stephens, on the other hand, says that healthy adult athletes can use it to boost performance in important competitions if desired. 

Let’s get into the facts about this popular energy drink and why these experts make the recommendations about it that they do.

Related: 9 Running Hacks to Run Faster

What is the Celsius drink?

Celsius is an energy drink. In particular, it is a low-calorie thermogenic energy drink, which means its ingredients may help burn fat by raising body temperature a half a degree. Doing so can burn additional calories at rest and during exercise.

Celsius contains caffeine and other stimulants aimed at increasing energy and accelerating metabolism. It also contains vitamins, minerals, and the natural sweetener sucralose. It comes in a variety of flavors and tastes like flavored and sweetened carbonated water.

There are different versions of Celsius drinks marketed for different aims like Celsius Heat with a whopping 300 mg of caffeine. Celsius Heat is meant to be a pre-workout drink.

A pinterest pin for celsius drink that says "is celsius good or bad for you?"
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What are the Celsius drink ingredients?

Celsius contains several active ingredients meant to increase energy in what the Celsius company calls its “MetaPlus Proprietary Blend.” It also contains vitamins and minerals.

The drink contains many stimulants, though the company doesn’t make clear the exact amounts of the stimulants in their proprietary blend. Conversely, according to Block, the amount of vitamins and minerals is too low to have any positive health impact. Additionally, like all supplements, it is more important to focus on getting vitamins and minerals in your diet and treating supplements as extra insurance – not your primary source. 

Celsius has a proprietary blend of stimulants.
Celsius has a proprietary blend of stimulants.


Specific Celsius ingredients and why we should be wary of ingesting them, according to Block

Caffeine: A central nervous system stimulant. Celsius has 200 mg of caffeine which is equivalent to two cups of coffee.

Taurine: An amino acid that can have stimulating effects on the brain, though no medical studies show it increases energy. There is medical data that taurine coupled with caffeine poses risks to adolescent brains. Children, teens, and anyone under the age of 18 should NOT drink taurine.

Glucuronolactone: A naturally occurring chemical that is purported to increase energy, but no solid evidence supports this. Instead, research shows when used in combination with caffeine it can cause negative changes to blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

Guarana Extract: Guarana is a plant found in the Amazon. Its extract is a stimulant and contains caffeine. According to the National Institutes of Health, It can be harmful when taken in large doses. The amount of guarana in Celsius is not listed.  One study found that guarana provided additional stimulation beyond caffeine alone when combined with caffeine.

Green Tea Extract: A plant that can also be a stimulant. It has potential benefits for things like fighting cancer and burning fat. However, this ingredient is also linked to liver injury when taken in high doses (source). Again, the amount of this ingredient is not listed by Celsius.

Ginger Extract: Another plant shown to increase energy. However, the dosage to do this is higher than what is in Celsius.

Sucralose: An artificial sweetener that Block recommends avoiding. A medical review found that it is associated with high blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. Note: not all Celsius drinks contain sucralose; the company does have a line of drinks sweetened with Stevia. 

Citric Acid: Originally, a derivative of citrus fruit but is now more economically derived from fungi. Citric acid is commonly used as a preservative, though Celsius claims that they add it for flavor (see more on that below, under “Why was Celsius sued?”). Citric acid is linked to whole-body inflammation.

A pinterest pin of Whitney holding a can of celsius with the "why I stopped drinking celsius"  below.
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Natural Flavors: These sound innocent enough but these chemical flavorings could potentially pose toxicity concerns. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it is healthy for us; many natural ingredients are poisonous or can cause adverse reactions (cocaine or opium, for example). 

Vitamins and Minerals: The nine vitamins and minerals like biotin and chromium are essentially putting lipstick on a pig, Block says. They look beneficial, but the amounts are not substantial enough to have any sort of benefit for consumers. Likely, it’s a marketing gimmick to get a leg up on competitors like Red Bull or Monster.

Plus, as I detail here, the benefits of vitamins and minerals are directly related to their sourcing—and we don’t know where Celsius gets their ingredients and if they are pure or potentially contaminated with things like heavy metals.

What is the issue with the Celsius ingredients?

The biggest issue with the proprietary blend of ingredients is that Celsius does not disclose the particular amount of each ingredient used in the blend. Because of current energy drink labeling regulations, these drinks can have added ingredients that are not approved by the FDA or not yet tested for safety; they also aren’t required to disclose the exact amounts of supplements (source), making it unclear about the actual supplement content in the drinks and their safety for consumption.

How much caffeine is in Celsius?

If you are wondering if Celsius has caffeine, it certainly does. One can has anywhere from 100 to 300 mg of caffeine per can!  Whereas the average cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine, this is just for 8 fluid ounces of the beverage. Most home coffee mugs or coffee shop cups of coffee contain anywhere from 16-24 ounces of coffee, increasing the caffeine content up to anywhere from 190-300 mg of caffeine per container. 

The issue with Celsius is the concentration of caffeine; each 12 oz. can contains up to 300 mg of caffeine or 25 grams of caffeine for each ounce of the drink. This is more caffeine than its drink competitors Monster Energy Drink and Red Bull. 

For reference, here are the caffeine amounts in popular caffeinated beverages: 

  • Celsius: 200 mg
  • Red Bull: 111 mg
  • Monster: 86 mg
  • CocaCola: 34 mg
  • Coffee: 80 mg
  • Baya: 150 mg
  • Bang: 300 mg

The CDC warns against regularly drinking highly caffeinated beverages like Celsius due to health issues such as heart complications. The FDA has also warned against drinking highly concentrated caffeinated beverages. For this reason, it is recommended that you not drink Celsius daily.  If you do drink Celsius, it is best to drink it in place of your usual caffeinated drink such as coffee to lower your overall caffeine intake.

It is also important to note the effectiveness of alternative caffeinated beverages. A 16 oz. cup of coffee can have almost as much caffeine as a can of the popular energy drink while being single-ingredient, less expensive, and not containing any additional supplements. 

Furthermore, habitually drinking Celsius can cut into your budget. One can of Celsius can cost anywhere from $2.50-$4.00, which is a fraction of what it costs to make a cup of coffee or tea at home.

Related: How to Know if a Supplement is Good Quality?

Whitney with Celsius can
I love the taste of Celsius but it made my jittery, have heart palpitations, and have a tough time sleeping.

What health claims does Celsius make?

According to the company website, drinking Celsius can boost your metabolism, increase fat loss, increase endurance performance, and more. Here are how the experts respond to those claims: 

  • Does Celsius boost energy? Yes, with 200 mg of caffeine and other stimulants, Celsius does provide an energy boost. Its caffeine can also be linked to improved running performance. 

Though large doses of caffeine can boost your energy, there are many other safe ways to increase your energy. For example, eating enough carbs and protein, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress are all healthy ways to stay energized. Always ensure that you are hitting those metrics before considering adding in Celsius, another energy drink, or coffee; your mid-afternoon energy dips may be better improved by eating a high-protein snack.

  • Does Celsius boost metabolism? Celsius has conducted research showing that drinking their drink before exercise accelerates performance and the benefits of exercise. According to the company website, drinking Celsius before exercise can accelerate metabolism. There is evidence to support that Celsius drinks may boost metabolism by up to 100 extra calories a day. 

The lasting effects of the metabolism boost caused by drinking Celsius have not been studied. The metabolic rate may change after prolonged use, for example, or require habitual drinking to sustain the metabolic boost. 

  • Does Celsius burn fat? There is conflicting evidence that drinking Celsius before exercise may burn fat. There is also evidence that the habitual drinking of energy drinks like Celsius is linked to unhealthy weight loss attempts and poor body image.

​​If you are wondering if Celsius or any other energy drink can help you lose weight you may want to work with a registered dietitian first as a means to healthfully lose weight and work on improving body image.

Related: The Top 12 Supplements for Runners

What are the potential Celsius energy drink side effects?

There are many documented adverse Celsius side effects. They are, but are not limited to: 

  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, and heart complications
  • Jitteriness or anxiety
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Headache
  • Liver injury
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin sensitivity

Also, according to research, teen brains may be negatively impacted by the drink, making it an unsafe option for anyone under the age of 18.

Is Celsius FDA Approved?

Celsius is not FDA approved due to its use of guarana which is not FDA approved. There could be more caffeine in a Celsius can than 200 mg due to the use of guarana.

Can Celsius energy drinks cause you to fail drug tests?

Drinking Celsius could lead to positive athletic drug tests, and therefore the NCAA governing body has banned excessive amounts of stimulants found in Celsius due to giving athletes an “unfair advantage” in competition (source). Celsius itself advises athletes to limit drinking two cans a day of their product.

Related: Can Taking Collagen Prevent Injuries?

Why was Celsius sued?

The company was sued over its use of citric acid, a commonly used preservative in food. Celsius claims that it uses “no preservatives” on its label, though it does contain citric acid. Celsius argued that it uses citric acid for flavoring—yet still settled the lawsuit.

Who can safely drink Celsius?

Tips if you drink celsius
If you drink Celsius, be smart about how much and how often.

According to registered sports dietitian Amy Stephens, healthy adult athletes can drink Celsius in limited amounts to improve their athletic performance. As she notes, Celsius can have a performance boost but the improvement does not continue beyond a dosage of 6 mg of caffeine per 1 kg of bodyweight. The same benefits could be reached by drinking a more natural caffeinated beverage such as coffee, matcha, or tea, however. 

Celsius is primarily marketed to be a pre-exercise supplement drink due to its stimulating ingredients including green tea, guarana, and ginseng. It may boost calorie and fat burning during exercise and increase fatigue resistance.

Considerations to take if you choose to drink Celsius before your run:

  • Pay attention to how much caffeine you are having throughout the day. You should not have more than 200-400 milligrams of caffeine per day.
  • Practice it and use it for your important training runs, such as marathon long runs with marathon pace miles.
  • Be aware that too much caffeine may cause GI distress and difficulty sleeping, which can impact your training and recovery. 
  • Stephens recommends a “washout” period wherein you forgo caffeine leading up to its use to maximize benefits.

Related: The Importance of Sleep for Runners

Key Celsius Drink Takeaways

Celsius is a thermogenic energy drink that utilizes a proprietary blend of stimulants and supplements. Though the list of stimulants is disclosed, the company does not disclose the particular amount of those stimulants or how they are sourced. For this reason, the effects of that combination of stimulants have not been studied. Neither has the long-term effects of Celsius ingredients. 

It is not recommended to drink it daily and anyone with caffeine sensitivity or health conditions as well as breastfeeding or pregnant women and anyone under 18 years of age should not consume it. Healthy adults can consume it in moderation. If you choose to drink it, sports dietitians recommend that it is consumed in place of other caffeinated drinks before endurance or high-intensity workouts. Furthermore, it is recommended to not drink more than 200-400 mg of caffeine per day.

If you want guidance with your running, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:


Perdan Curran, C., Marczinski, C. (2018). Taurine, caffeine, and energy drinks: Reviewing the risks to the adolescent brain. Birth Defects Research. 109(20), 1640-1648.

Basrai, M., et al., (2019) Energy Drinks Induce Acute Cardiovascular and Metabolic Changes Pointing to Potential Risks for Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition. 149 (30). 441-450. 

Jeffers, A., et al. (2014). Energy Drinks, Weight Loss, and Disordered Eating Behaviors. Journal of American College Health. 62 (5). 336-342,

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Nicole, W. (2013). Secret Ingredients: Who Knows What’s in Your Food? Environmental Health Perspectives. 121 (4). 126-133.

Swiss, I., Cressey, B.. (2018). Potential role of the common food additive manufactured citric acid in eliciting significant inflammatory reactions contributing to serious disease states: A series of four case reports. Toxicology Reports. Vol. 5. 808-812.

Summary Safety Review, Green tea extract-containing natural health products, Assessing the potential risk of liver injury (hepatotoxicity). Government of Canada. (2017).

Pure and Highly Concentrated Caffeine. US Food & Drug Administration. (2023).

LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2012).

2 thoughts on “Is the Celsius Drink Good or Bad for You?”

  1. Are you sure ginseng, guarana and taurine are banned by WADA etc.? I’m not sure if that is true – would rule out red bull too. Can you link to your source to validate this?


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