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Many people rely on energy drinks for a much-needed pick-me-up to power them through the day.
But most popular energy drinks are loaded with added sugar — many with even more than a soda. Some also contain artificial colors and sweeteners, which you may prefer to avoid, and pack large amounts of caffeine, which may leave you feeling jittery, anxious, or agitated (
Note that both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the European Food Safety Authority consider a daily intake of up to 400 mg of caffeine to be safe (
All the same, several brands make healthy, naturally derived energy drinks that can give you the boost you’re looking for without the side effects.
- Best yerba mate-based energy drinks: Sound Sparkling Organic Yerba Maté with Citrus and Hibiscus and Guayaki Unsweetened Yerba Maté
- Best natural energy shots: Proper Wild Energy Shots
- Best natural energy shot with collagen: Vital Proteins Collagen Energy Shots
- Best guayusa tea-based energy drink: Mati Sparkling Organic Energy Drinks (Unsweetened)
- Best matcha-based energy drink: Toro Matcha Sparkling Ginger
- Best pre-workout natural energy drink powder: Ora Renewable Energy
- Best coffee-based energy powder: Laird Superfood Instafuel (Unsweetened)
Unlike most other energy beverages, natural energy drinks don’t contain ingredients such as artificial sweeteners or synthetic colorings, which some people prefer to leave out of their diets.
They’re made with naturally derived ingredients like green tea, yerba mate, and botanical extracts.
Additionally, the energy drinks on this list do not contain added sugars, which can harm health if consumed in high amounts (
Energy drinks that contain ingredients like green tea, coffee, and guarana can help provide a quick boost of energy when you’re feeling fatigued. Sipping on an energy drink can help you feel more alert and may even improve your mood (
Some people use energy drinks to enhance athletic performance or to boost concentration and memory at work or school (
While you may occasionally use an energy drink to help minimize the effects of fatigue or improve athletic performance, it’s not a good idea to use energy drinks regularly or to rely on them to get you through your day.
Energy drinks can’t take the place of getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, managing stress, and addressing underlying health issues that may be causing prolonged, unexplained fatigue.
Drinking energy drinks that contain large amounts of stimulants can lead to adverse side effects.
For example, a 2021 review found that the most commonly reported side effects of energy drink consumption in teens and adults were insomnia, stress, restlessness, and mood changes.
The authors recommend limiting energy drink consumption and state that 5–7 energy drinks per week may be too many (
Energy drinks should not be an everyday part of your diet, nor should they be consumed in excess. It’s important to limit your intake of stimulants like caffeine in order to reduce the chances of adverse side effects such as insomnia and jitteriness.
The natural energy drinks on this list contain less than 200 mg per serving, which is the amount found in about one 12-ounce (360-mL) cup of coffee, so they’re unlikely to cause adverse side effects when consumed in moderation (
- Ingredients. The energy drinks in this list contain 0 grams of added sugar and no artificial sweeteners or colors.
- Caffeine content. We chose natural energy drinks with less than 200 mg of caffeine per serving.
- Dietitian-recommended. All the products listed below were handpicked by a registered dietitian.
- Vetting. All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards.
A note on price
General price ranges are indicated below with dollar signs ($–$$$). One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
Generally, prices range from $0.22–$1.75 per serving, or $14.95–$54.00 per package, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
Serving size varies. Seven of the products below are beverages, and three are powders.
- $ = under $0.25 per serving
- $$ = $0.25–$1.00 per serving
- $$$ = over $1.00 per serving
Best yerba mate-based energy drinks
Sound makes refreshing beverages that are naturally sweetened with botanical extracts.
Although not advertised as an energy drink, its Sparkling Organic Yerba Maté contains 70 mg of caffeine from yerba mate, white tea, and green tea to give you an energy boost.
In one study, yerba mate improved exercise performance without changing participants’ rate of perceived exertion. It’s thought to have helped them accomplish more with the same amount of effort (
Yerba mate tea is made from the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, a tree native to South America. It’s a concentrated source of caffeine.
This beverage is flavored with extracts of hibiscus, lemon, and lime, which give it a delightful citrusy taste without any added sugar.
Each 12-ounce (355-mL) bottle provides (13):
- Calories: 0
- Caffeine: 70 mg
Guayaki Unsweetened Yerba Maté is organic and contains less than 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar.
Each 16-ounce (473-mL) bottle provides (15):
- Calories: 5
- Caffeine: 140 mg
Best natural energy shots
Proper Wild’s Clean All Day Energy Shots contain organic green tea alongside 120 mg of L-theanine, an amino acid concentrated in green tea that’s associated with neuroprotective, brain-boosting, and stress-reducing benefits (
These products are flavored with fruit concentrates.
Each 2.5-ounce (75-mL) bottle provides (17):
- Calories: 45
- Caffeine: 100 mg
Best natural energy shot with collagen
Vital Proteins Collagen Energy Shots provide a concentrated dose of caffeine derived from coffee fruit extract.
Moreover, these products are low in calories and pack 7 grams of protein each. They’re naturally flavored with grapefruit and lemon juices.
Each 3-ounce (89-mL) bottle provides (19):
- Calories: 40
- Caffeine: 90 mg
- Protein: 7 grams
Best guayusa tea-based energy drink
Mati Sparkling Organic Energy Drink is made with brewed guayusa tea.
Guayusa tea contains caffeine, as well as phenolic antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties (
This product is flavored with less than 1% fruit juice. Just make sure you buy the unsweetened version, as Mati also offers sweetened products.
Each 12-ounce (355-mL) bottle provides (21):
- Calories: 0
- Caffeine: 115 mg
Best matcha-based energy drink
Toro Matcha Sparkling Ginger drink is packed with flavor from organic lemon and ginger juices, plus organic Japanese matcha.
It supplies 60 mg of caffeine per can — enough to give you a gentle shot of energy. This drink is a good choice for people who are sensitive to highly caffeinated beverages, as it contains less than a regular cup of coffee (
Each 12-ounce (355-mL) bottle provides (22):
- Calories: 10
- Caffeine: 60 mg
Best pre-workout natural energy drink powder
For those looking for a pre-workout powder that’s packed with nutritious ingredients, Ora Renewable Energy is a great option.
Unlike many other pre-workout supplements, Ora Renewable Energy provides performance-enhancing ingredients without any added sugars, artificial colors, or preservatives.
This product is vegan and certified organic. It contains yerba mate, organic green coffee bean, matcha, ginseng, and eleuthero root — which is also called Siberian ginseng and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times.
Keep in mind that the Ceremonial Matcha and Raspberry Lemonade flavors contain 4 and 5 grams of added sugar, respectively. However, the Beet Pomegranate flavor contains zero grams of added sugar.
You can mix this pre-workout supplement with water or add it to smoothies.
One scoop (10 grams) provides (29):
- Calories: 35
- Caffeine: 90 mg
Best coffee-based energy powder
Laird Superfood Instafuel (Unsweetened) is an excellent alternative to sweetened coffee drinks.
It contains freeze-dried arabica coffee, coconut milk powder, organic coconut oil, and Aquamin, a multimineral derived from red algae that may benefit gut health and provide anti-inflammatory effects (
Each 1/4-cup (25-gram) serving provides (31):
- Calories: 160
- Caffeine: 104 mg
|Sound Sparkling Organic Yerba Maté with Citrus and Hibiscus||$$||0||70 mg||zero calories||a bit pricey|
|Guayaki Unsweetened Yerba Maté||$||5||140 mg||zero added sugar||more affordable|
|Proper Wild Energy Shots||$$$||45||100 mg||zero added sugar||expensive|
|Vital Proteins Collagen Energy Shots||$$$||40||90 mg||7 grams of protein||expensive|
|Mati Sparkling Organic Energy Drinks (Unsweetened)||$||0||115 mg||zero calories||more affordable|
|Toro Matcha Sparkling Ginger||$$||10||60 mg||zero added sugar||a bit pricey|
|Ora Renewable Energy||$$$||35||90 mg||no added sugar in Beet Pomegranate flavor||expensive|
|Laird Superfood Instafuel (Unsweetened)||$$$||160||104 mg||higher in calories than the other drinks on the list||expensive|
Although enjoying a caffeinated beverage on occasion is perfectly healthy, if you find yourself relying on energy drinks to get through your day, it’s worth considering other factors that may be zapping your stamina.
What’s more, health conditions such as anemia, sleep apnea, and diabetes, as well as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune conditions, may lead to fatigue.
If you’re experiencing ongoing fatigue, it’s important to get to the root of the problem and avoid relying on energy-boosting supplements, medications, or energy drinks.
Consult a healthcare professional if you’re concerned about low energy levels.
Many factors can lead to chronic fatigue. Talk with a healthcare professional if you find that you’re often relying on energy drinks.
While enjoying a natural energy drink here and there won’t harm your health, it’s important to keep your overall intake of stimulants, such as caffeine, below a certain level to avoid side effects like jitteriness and insomnia.
All the energy products on this list contain less than 140 mg of caffeine, which is much less than is found in a 12-ounce (360-mL) cup of coffee (
Keep in mind that consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day may lead to adverse side effects and is not recommended (
Regardless, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and may notice side effects such as jitteriness or experience insomnia even after consuming a relatively small amount of caffeine (
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it’s not a good idea to consume energy drinks that contain a large amount of caffeine. In general, avoid consuming caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks later in the day, as they could impact sleep quality (
Which energy drink has the most natural ingredients?
If you’re looking for a natural energy drink, choose a product that contains limited ingredients. Some energy drinks have just a few simple ingredients, such as green tea and lemon juice.
Keep in mind that you can simply drink a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your energy levels.
What makes an energy drink a natural energy drink?
Natural energy drinks are free of artificial sweeteners and synthetic colorings. Instead, they contain naturally derived ingredients such as green tea, yerba mate, and botanical extracts.
By the Food and Drug Administration’s definition, when the term “natural” appears on a label, the product should not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients (
What’s the best natural energizing ingredient?
Most of the energy drinks on this list use energizing ingredients such as green tea, matcha, coffee, yerba mate, and guarana.
These ingredients are all effective for improving short-term energy levels, so it depends on your personal preferences. For example, if you don’t like green tea, you can try a product that contains coffee or yerba mate instead.
Importantly, you should not rely on energy drinks for energy. If you’re experiencing prolonged fatigue even though you’re getting enough sleep, it’s important to check with a healthcare professional to rule out underlying health conditions.
If you’re looking for a natural energy boost, try one of the drinks listed above.
However, if you’re consistently relying on energy drinks to power through the day, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional to find better ways to improve your energy levels.