What is the Celsius Fitness Drink?
Originally called MetaPlus, the Celsius fitness drink is designed to rev up your metabolism, help you maintain a healthy weight, and increase your energy levels. The company states that you can drink Celsius as a replacement for other caffeinated drinks, during a meal, or 15 minutes before exercise.
Celsius fitness drinks were created in 2004 by the former chairman of GNC, Greg Horn. Designed to be used before exercise, the company claims that Celsius drinks will improve your physical performance by increasing your heart rate and raising your body temperature, increasing your overall functioning and ramping up your weight loss rate.
The product website states that Celsius drinks are clinically proven to work as a thermogenic because of ingredients like green tea, guarana, and ginger. But what is a thermogenic, and will drinking one before a workout really improve your weight loss results?
Let's look closer at the facts behind thermogenics to find out.
How Do Thermogenics Work?
Livestrong.com tells us that thermogenesis is the process of increasing production of heat in your body, to raise your metabolism and boost your heart rate. Even raising your body temperature just half a degree can cause you to burn more calories.
Thermogenics are dietary substances like energy drinks or supplements that help your body achieve thermogenesis. It’s also possible to obtain thermogenesis through diet and exercise, and thermogenic supplements are usually combined with these techniques to increase their impacts.
Many thermogenic drinks and supplements rely on natural ingredients like guaraná, ginger, yerba mate, and garcinia cambogia. Others use caffeine to stimulate the effect, and most use a combination of these ingredients (like Celsius does).
Thermogenics usually work by helping reduce your appetite and raising energy levels to improve the efficiency of fat burning. Because of this, thermogenics are typically marketed for weight loss.
It’s important to note that there are some health concerns with taking thermogenics. Nutrition Inspector tells us that its best to avoid these products if you have a heart condition, as they are known for increasing blood pressure and can lead to jitteriness.
Dr. Axe tells us that not all physicians approve of thermogenics, so you’ll definitely want to talk to your doctor directly before trying a product like Celsius.
What Products are Available for Celsius?
At the time of writing, the Celsius brand offers four product lines for their drinks.
- Celsius Originals: The first Celsius drink, Celsius originals come in a variety of flavors and both sparkling and non-carbonated varieties. The beverages are designed for use before exercising and are free from artificial flavors and preservatives.
- Celsius Naturals: As the brand's first line extension, Celsius Naturals contain the same proprietary formula as the originals, but don’t include artificial sweeteners like Sucralose.
- Celsius On-the-Go Packets: These powdered packets can be dissolved into water to create a portable energy drink.
- Celsius Heat: Designed as a pre-workout drink, Celsius Heat contains 2,000 mg of the amino acid L-citrulline and 300mg of caffeine to boost your energy and improve your performance.
Will Celsius Help You Lose Weight?
The company website states that Celsius works as a weight loss aid, but do these claims really fit reality?
Celsius itself acknowledges that their drinks won’t produce weight loss on their own. Instead, they are designed to encourage weight loss “when combined with a healthy diet and moderate exercise.”
Even so, every can of Celsius will purportedly help you burn 100 calories or more by ramping up your energy levels to improve your fat burning rate. These benefits are said to come from the product’s proprietary MetaPlus Blend, which contains ingredients like green tea extract, ginger root, and guarana.
We’ll go into the details behind these ingredients in a minute, but are there other reasons to believe that these products will work as promised?
Let’s see what the science says.
What Do Studies Say About Celsius?
According to the company website, six university studies have been published about the efficacy of Celsius. Each of these studies is posted on the site in full form for potential customers to read.
Below are summaries of each of these studies.
- Metabolic responses to the acute ingestion of two commercially available carbonated beverages: A pilot study: A single serving of Celsius was found to have more thermogenic properties than a can of diet soda, including a 12% increase in metabolic response over a 3-hour period after taking the drink.
- Acute effects of ingesting a commercial thermogenic drink on changes in energy expenditure and markers of lipolysis: Taking one serving of Celsius allowed participants to burn an average of 100 more calories over three hours than those who took a placebo instead.
- Efficacy and safety of a popular thermogenic drink after 28 days of Ingestion: Participants who drank Celsius daily over a four-week testing period burned an average of 100 calories more per serving than other participants without adverse health effects.
- Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition: Research showed that drinking Celsius before exercise led to more fat loss than those taking a placebo.
- Weight Loss in Overweight Women Clinical Study: Overweight women who drank a serving of Celsius lost significantly more fat mass and gained more muscle mass than those who only exercised.
- Sedentary Men and Activity Endurance Clinical Study: Previously sedentary men that drank Celsius before moderate exercise five days a week experienced 78% greater fat loss than those who exercised alone.
What does this research tell us about the effectiveness of Celsius? The drink does seem to have proven benefits for triggering weight loss when used before exercise. However, it’s important to look carefully at the data.
The research states that participants could burn an average of 100 extra calories from consuming the beverage, which is the equivalent of one banana. Losing 100 extra calories a day won’t lead to extreme weight loss. However, the Chicago Tribune tells us that 100 fewer calories each day will lead to a ten-pound weight loss over a year.
That’s certainly beneficial, but it’s important to be realistic about the changes Celsius promises to make for your body. You might prefer a different way to lose those pounds each year besides drinking a daily energy drink.
What Ingredients are in Celsius?
While each Celsius drink is formulated with a different overall blend of ingredients, they all contain the brand’s “MetaPlus” proprietary blend, which the website tells us includes a mixture of taurine, guarana extract, green tea extract, caffeine, and ginger extract. These ingredients are common in energy drinks like Redbull and Monster, and many have purported benefits for aiding weight loss (which we explore below).
However, the benefits of these ingredients are directly connected to their dosage, and PricePlow.com tells us that brands don’t need to disclose the concentration of components in their proprietary blends. This naturally makes it difficult to determine how beneficial these ingredients are in the drink.
Caffeine is the exception, and Celsius tells us that each drink contains about 200 mg. While the Mayo Clinic explains that the research linking caffeine to weight loss isn’t definitive, it is a proven way to trigger thermogenesis and improve how many calories you burn, even when at rest.
However, the clinic also states that most studies about caffeine’s benefits have looked at concentrations over 300-500mg, more than what a serving of Celsius provides. This means that the results from these studies might not be comparable to Celsius’s potential.
Let’s look at the other ingredients within Celsius, even if we don’t know how concentrated they are.
Green Tea Extract
Healthline states that green tea (Camellia Sinensis) extract contains high levels of EGCG, a compound found to help boost the metabolism to improve fat burning. This makes it a favorite ingredient for weight loss supplements.
Research published in Clinical Nutrition shows that three months of high-dose green tea extract resulted in significant weight loss effects for women without any adverse health effects.
Similar studies have shown that 50mg of EGCG (green tea’s active ingredient) can increase fat metabolism to significant levels. Because Celsius won’t disclose the concentration of green tea in their drinks, it’s unclear whether it reaches this potency threshold.
There’s an easy solution if you want to ensure you get the full benefit of green tea for weight loss instead- drink a few cups of tea throughout the day.
WebMD tells us that guarana (whether in beverages like Celsius or as a standalone ingredient) is a fruit with high caffeine levels and substantial benefits for treating a variety of ailments like low blood pressure, stress, fatigue and more. Guarana is often used in weight loss supplements, and a 2006 study from the European Journal of Medicinal Research found that the substance worked to significantly affect participant’s BMI levels when taken with green tea.
However, WebMD also tells us that there isn’t much evidence that the compound is beneficial on its own.
According to Healthline, this warming spice has long been valued for its medicinal properties. Ginger is known to reduce inflammation and nausea, and it has also been marketed as a laxative- giving it potential benefits for weight loss.
A study from the European Journal of Nutrition evaluated the effectiveness of ginger on weight loss and concluded that taking 2g of ginger powder for 12 weeks led to minor improvements in weight loss and metabolic processes. The overall benefits for weight loss, however, were considered relatively insignificant.
Examine.com tells us that taurine is a non-essential amino acid commonly found in meat and dairy products. It’s also a popular ingredient in energy drinks because it can improve blood flow and boost the oxygen flow to muscles, potentially enhancing energy levels and athletic performance.
Sucralose and Celsius Drinks
Notably, Celsius’s website also mentions the ingredients that the drinks DON’T contain, which include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, soy, gluten, and all animal products.
The drinks are also listed as low in sodium (10 mg or less per serving).
However, the nutrition facts show that the drinks contain sucralose, a sugar substitute more commonly known as Splenda. This artificial sweetener is calorie-free and more than 600 times sweeter than sugar.
While it’s generally considered safe and isn’t known to trigger weight gain, Livestrong tells us that sucralose can trigger side effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Part of the problem is that artificial sweeteners alter your gut bacteria, triggering digestive issues.
Do these supposed side effects fit reality for this who drink it? Let’s see what previous customers are saying about this product.
What Do Customers Think of Celsius?
We combed through customer reviews of Celsius on Amazon, Bodybuilding.com, and Dietspotlight.com to see how the drink made people feel.
Some reviews we saw noted that Celsius drinkers felt jittery immediately after drinking a serving, and experienced headaches, muscle twitches, and a fluttering heartbeat while working out.
Others state that the drink left them with a queasy stomach. However, many instead mentioned that the beverage left them feeling completely normal- no positive or negative effects were felt.
These side effects are likely because Celsius (and other energy drinks) contain stimulants like caffeine that can trigger unpleasant jitteriness when too much is taken, or when a user is especially sensitive. WebMD tells us that too much caffeine can lead to ringing in the ears, headache, chest pain, anxiety, and agitation.
300-400 daily grams of caffeine is generally considered safe, so a serving of Celsius (200g) will provide you without half your daily limit.
On Amazon, the drinks average about 3.5 stars after over a dozen reviews. Many people noted that they loved switching out their morning coffee for a can of Celsius because the beverage gave them such an energy kick.
Others complained that the flavors were flat and tasted artificial. Many reviewers stated that the flavors tasted nothing like the fruit they claimed to be, and we noticed that many people actively preferred either the carbonated or non-carbonated flavors.
Overall, opinions of the flavors and results for Celsius seem to be mixed. The best way to learn if you like the flavors is to try it yourself.
How Much Does Celsius Cost & Where Can You Buy?
At the time of writing, Celsius isn’t sold through the company website, though it can be found on Amazon and in specialty grocery stores in the nutrition section.
You can get in touch with the company by mailing Celsis Live Fit at their physical address (as shown on their website as of 5/22/18): 2424 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33431.
Or, you can call directly at (866) 423-5748.
Of note, we couldn’t find any evidence of a return policy or satisfaction guarantee on the website at the time of writing. This means that your purchase protection probably depends on the policy of the store you buy it from, not the manufacturer. We reached out to the company to learn more but hadn't heard back by the time of publishing.
This also means that the cost of Celsius varies between sellers. We generally saw prices between $1-2 per can and $1 per On-the-Go powder stick. Buying cans in bulk tends to be the cheapest option, from what we’ve seen.
What Products are Similar to Celsius Fitness?
Celsius Fitness isn’t the only thermogenic fitness drink on the market today. To make a meaningful comparison between this product and its competition, we chose to look at two other popular fitness drinks: Beast 2 Shredded and SportsReach Sweet Sweat.
2 Shredded is an exercise drink produced by Beast Building that purportedly inhibits water retention and controls appetite to help you lose weight. The product website makes few definitive claims about its capacity, but it contains similar active ingredients to Celsius like green tea extract and ginger.
However, the drink also contains additives like maltodextrin, sucralose, and ’natural & artificial flavors’ that many people prefer to avoid. It’s worth noting that you will save money compared to Celsius, as 2 Shredded sells for $27 for 45 servings, or $0.60 per serving.
Another purported workout enhancer on the market is SportsReach Sweet Sweat. However, instead of a drink, this balm is applied externally. Users are meant to rub it onto the desired areas before exercising to improve their overall circulation, sweating, and fight muscle fatigue, leading to better workout results in the long run.
Customer reviews for SweetSweat are primarily positive, with many users noting that it made a substantial difference in their sweat levels and produced noticeable results in their muscle tone after a few weeks. These benefits come at the price of $30 for 6 ounces.
So, what thermogenic products are best? That depends on what you’re looking for. If your top priority is to have a premade drink that contains only natural ingredients, then Celsius might be one of the better products on the market to meet your needs.
Our View: Is Celsius Worth It?
Our research into the benefits of drinking Celsius revealed some interesting facts. The drink is branded as a thermogenic and a natural way to rev up your metabolism to burn calories faster.
The drink contains many ingredients (green tea, ginger, and guarana) that have well-researched benefits for promoting weight loss. However, these substances only work when taken at relatively high concentrations, and Celsius doesn’t disclose the amount of the ingredients in their proprietary MetaPlus blend.
According to Nutrition Inspector, there’s little benefit to drinking Celsius that you can’t also get from consuming a proper diet. Drinking green tea and incorporating grated ginger into your meals will provide you get adequate concentrations for their benefits.
That being said, the company provides plenty of research that drinking their product will help participants lose some weight (up to 10 pounds a year on average). And because of how convenient it is to bring a can with you to the gym, many customers are likely to appreciate the drink.
In short, Celsius is one of many options for improving the effectiveness of your workouts. The drink is unlikely to provide you with much more benefit than a healthy diet, but it can be incorporated into an otherwise healthy routine to give you an edge.
If you aren’t sure if a thermogenic drink makes sense for meeting your fitness goals, be sure to talk with your doctor to get a personalized recommendation for your situation.