Celsius Fitness Drinks Review: Are They Safe and Effective?
Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, M.D., C.S.C.S
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 improve your weight loss results? Let's look closer at the facts behind thermogenics to find out.
Thermogenesis is the process of increasing the 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. 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.
The Celsius Fitness Drinks are formulated with a different overall blend of ingredients, but they all contain the brand’s “MetaPlus” proprietary blend. The website tells us it includes a mixture of taurine, guarana extract, green tea extract, caffeine, glucuronolactone, 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 dose-dependent, and the FDA requires the label to include only net (or total) amounts for proprietary blends – Celsius does not provide details for specific amounts. With a lack of dosage amounts, it's 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. For reference, this is about 2x the amount included in an 8oz cup of coffee.
As the proprietary blend is about 1800mg in total, the remaining 5 ingredients account for about 1600mg in this blend.
Celsius’s website also mentions the following ingredients are not in drink: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, soy, gluten, and all animal products.
The drinks also contain low 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, 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.
In this section, we’ll detail any available research regarding the proposed benefit of the ingredients in this blend.
Caffeine is a stimulant that has many reported benefits like boosting memory and reducing the risk for some cancers. Celsius included this ingredient as they claim it will boost your energy and help you burn calories.
Caffeine given to healthy subjects at 3 mg/kg before physical activity, more sweat glands and oxidized more fat when compared to the individuals that didn’t receive caffeine. Thermogenesis was smaller in obese women when compared to lean women, however.
In healthy subjects, those treated with an energy drink containing 64mg of caffeine and 800mg of taurine increased athletic performance when compared to placebo.
In a randomized study, those treated with 200mg of caffeine had immediate increases in their metabolic rate, lasting for up to 3-hours.
Though these factors are associated with weight loss, the overall effect of caffeine on weight loss is not well supported.
This study compared caffeinated beverage consumption in 500 individuals on weight maintenance programs to those of 2,000 individuals from the general population. They found that those that were maintaining weight loss consumed more caffeine.
Green Tea Extract
Another popular ingredient in thermogenic beverages, green tea is thought to offer many benefits. But in addition to its suspected antioxidant effects, does it increase energy or assist in weight loss?
The proposed benefits of green tea are likely related to its caffeine and catechin content. The latter may exert green tea’s antioxidant effects.
Green tea is often studied in conjunction with caffeine. 90, 200, 300, and 400 mg doses in various combinations with up to 3x daily all seemed to boost energy expenditure to the same degree when combined with 200mg of caffeine.
When combined with exercise, 500mg of green tea daily improved body weight, BMI, waist to hip ratio, and body fat percentage better than exercise alone.
This Brazilian plant is packed with antioxidants and may offer a variety of benefits related to digestive health, weight loss, and cognitive ability.
Some of its benefits may be related to its caffeine content (see caffeine section). Though weight loss benefits have not been extensively studied, a laboratory model demonstrated that a preparation that contained guarana effectively inhibits the synthesis of fats.
Ginger is an herb that may have anti-inflammatory effects and ease symptoms of nausea. Energy and weight loss effects have not been well supported.
While a review of 8 randomized trials concluded that 1600-4000mg of ginger did not affect fasting blood glucose, but it did significantly improve glucose regulation for 2-3 months.
In 10 overweight men, 2g of ginger did not impact resting energy expenditure.
This amino acid is found in meat fish and dairy and is thought to offer many benefits like supporting heart health or combating diabetes.
Over 7-weeks, overweight, and obese subjects treated with 3g daily had significantly reduced body weight when compared to placebo. Other anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects have been studied in animal models.
More work is needed to identify its role in weight loss, though there are current trials underway.
This molecule is a structural component of your connective tissue (skin, bone, cartilage, etc.) and also a precursor to Vitamin C.
There isn’t much available literature regarding this ingredient, but it's often included in energy drinks. Right now, it is unknown whether it is beneficial or harmful.
According to the company website, six university studies published are 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 crucial 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.
Celsius is generally well tolerated. Multiple studies have examined these products, and adverse events are rarely reported. Troubled sleep is a possible unwanted effect.
With the exception of glucuronolactone, these ingredients have been safely studied in humans at much higher doses than the amounts offered in Celsius.
Nonetheless, the FDA states that the rapid consumption of 1,200mg of caffeine can cause seizures. Additionally, the combination of caffeine and taurine may exacerbate the unwanted effects associated with alcohol consumption, though these effects have been demonstrated mainly in animal studies.
Caffeine anhydrous, the version offered in this drink, is a concentrated form of the stimulant. Thus you may respond differently to natural forms of caffeine. Consuming too much can result in restlessness, nausea, agitation, rapid heart rate, and unsafe increases in blood pressure.
Also, as 400mg daily is considered the safest use of caffeine, drinking Celsius in addition to your typical coffee, soda, or tea intake can put you in an unsafe range.
Lastly, mixing caffeine with the other ingredients found in this blend can make the effects unpredictable. Similar blends have resulted in cardiac arrest, especially when not used as directed.
For these reasons, ask a physician about using this or any other energy drink. Never consume them in ways that are not recommended.
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.
At the time of writing, Celsius isn’t sold through the company website, though it can be found on Amazon and in your local grocery stores in the nutrition section.
You can get in touch with the company by mailing Celsius 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 most likely depends on the policy of the store you buy it from, not the manufacturer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celsius Drinks are branded as a thermogenic and a natural way to rev up your metabolism to burn calories faster.
The drink contains many ingredients (caffeine, green tea, ginger, and guarana) that have well-researched benefits for promoting weight loss. However, the company doesn’t provide details for the amounts other than for caffeine. Not knowing the amounts make it challenging to compare this product to research that likely found benefit at much higher doses than what's inside Celsius.
The company provides plenty of research that drinking their product will help participants lose some weight (up to 10 pounds a year on average). Many customers may appreciate this drink since it's convenient to bring a can with you to the gym.
Because they include caffeine anhydrous, as well as other caffeine-containing ingredients, consuming Celsius in addition to your regular coffee intake can put you in harm’s way. Seek medical advice before adding this beverage to your daily regimen.
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 benefits than a healthy diet, but it can be incorporated into an otherwise healthy routine to give you an edge.
One of the best drinks I've had, I'm 46, just started my weight loss challenge and this gets me up and going. I can definitely do more and have lots of energy. Favorite is the grapefruit, so refreshing.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
I am currently dieting and exercising to lose ~50 lbs. I bought a couple of these to try. Well, I just had the grape rush which literally tastes like grape soda and RIPPED through my hour of cardio with way more energy, the machine confirming I worked harder and burned more calories than normal.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend