Is C4 Energy Drink Bad For You? (Alternatives Included)

Is C4 Energy Drink Bad For You?

C4 Energy drinks are a popular energy drink designed to help fuel your workout and your day. They contain a large amount of caffeine as well as vitamins and supplements that can improve your endurance and brain functioning in the short term. When deciding what energy drink is best for you, you should think about what your workout goals are and how long you need to be energized.  You’ll also want to consider how much caffeine your body can handle. With that being said, is C4 Energy bad for you?

C4 Energy is not harmful for you but should be consumed in moderation. C4 Energy contains supplements such as creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and caffeine. These ingredients help improve workout performance and provide you with a boost of energy. However, C4 does have some drawbacks. Specifically, it has high levels of caffeine and is highly processed.  

In this article, we’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of C4 energy drinks, as well as offer several healthier alternatives. Let’s dig in!

What’s In C4 Energy Drinks?

C4 energy has ingredients that are suited to working out, but also contain more caffeine than most pre-workouts to give you long-lasting energy.

While C4 offers several different flavors, they have 3 main types of drinks: C4 Energy, C4 Smart Energy, and C4 Energy Ultimate. They offer these all as both carbonated and non-carbonated.

1. C4 Energy

C4 Energy is their classic drink and is generally carbonated. Some of the top ingredients in C4 Energy include Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, natural flavors, preservatives, Sucralose, and 200 mg of Caffeine. They have several other ingredients that are mostly for preservation, extra vitamins, and flavoring. They are zero calories and contain 30mg of niacin and 6mcg of Vitamin B12.    

2. C4 Smart Energy

C4 Smart Energy contains natural flavors, Cognizin Citicoline, Sucralose, Caffeine, Potassium, and Niacinamide. Two ingredients to note are that it contains 200mg of caffeine and Cognizin, which is designed for mental focus.   

3. C4 Energy Ultimate

Finally, C4 Energy Ultimate contains Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, Taurine, Caffeine, preservatives, Sucralose, and some vitamins. While the list of ingredients may be overwhelming, the ones to focus on are that it contains Beta-Alanine which is great for endurance, and 300 mg of caffeine. It is also zero calories and contains 30mg of niacin and 6mcg of Vitamin B12. 

What Does C4 Do to the Body?  

C4 energy drinks contain caffeine and give your body a boost to fuel your workout and your day. The amount of caffeine they have varies.

C4 Smart Energy and classic will give your body the same amount of energy as 2 cups of coffee would. C4 Ultimate gives you the equivalent of 3 cups of coffee.

Alongside that, many C4 drinks contain Beta-Alanine which helps prevent muscle fatigue but can also cause your skin to itch. Smart Energy contains Cognizin which is supposed to help improve focus.

Altogether, C4 is designed to improve your energy, focus, and endurance during the day.

Is C4 Energy Drink Bad for Your Heart? 

The only ingredient that could potentially be bad for your heart in C4 is caffeine. C4 classic and C4 Smart Energy each contains 200mg of caffeine per can, while C4 Ultimate contains 300mg.

It is recommended that adults do not consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day. For teenagers, it should be no more than 100mg per day.

If you stay within the recommended range, then C4 energy will not hurt your heart. However, you should be mindful of consuming any other caffeinated drinks, like soda or coffee, on a day when you are also taking C4.

Having too much caffeine regularly could eventually be detrimental to your heart.

Is C4 Good for Energy?

When reading the labels, it’s clear that C4 will provide you with a big boost of energy. It has so much caffeine that they suggest having no more than 2 cans in 24 hours.

Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, but most people generally find it will improve their energy. If you drink C4 every day, you may find that the energy it gives you lessens over time as your body adjusts to the caffeine intake.

How Many Cans of C4 Can I Drink in a Day?

Based on the label, you can drink two cans of C4 classic or C4 Smart Energy a day. You could also drink up to one can of C4 Ultimate a day.

With that being said, the C4 company, Cellucor, does not recommend drinking more than 1 can in 24 hours. This is because most people have trace amounts of caffeine throughout the day from coffee, soda, or chocolate.

To be the safest, stick to only 1 can of your favorite C4 energy drink.

Impact of Drinking Too Much C4

If you wind up drinking too much C4, your body will likely let you know.

When it comes to caffeine, if you drink too much too quickly, you will likely become jittery. Caffeine can also cause anxiety in some people. Over time, these negative effects will lessen. If you have a way too much (over 4 cans), you could damage your heart.

C4 drinks also contain Beta-alanine, which can cause itching. If you take too much C4, you may notice more itching than normal.

How Long Does C4 Last in Your System? 

Most C4 ingredients will last in your system for up to 5 hours. You’ll feel most of the effects of caffeine and beta-alanine within the first hour. After that, the effects will gradually taper off over the next few hours.

If you take C4 Smart Energy, one of the ingredients is Cognizine. This ingredient improves your mental functioning for improved focus and will peak after about 1 hour of drinking C4.

However, Cognizine has a long half-life, which means that your system will not fully process it until about 56 hours have passed.

Cellucor says this long half-life is a benefit, but it may also mean that you shouldn’t drink Smart Energy quite as frequently as you would the other C4 energy drinks.

C4 Energy Drink vs Bang and Red Bull

You might be weighing the benefits and drawbacks of different energy drinks. We’ve compiled some of them for you!

BrandC4 Energy DrinkBang Energy DrinkRed Bull Energy Drink
Nutritional Value

0 Calorie

200-300mg of Caffeine

Niacin and B12
0 Calorie

300mg Caffeine

Vitamin C, B6, B12, Niacin, Magnesium
110 Calories

29g carbs

27g sugars

111mg caffeine

Vitamin B6 and Cobalamin
DrawbacksHighly processed.

High level of caffeine.

Highly processed.

High level of caffeine.
High in sugar.

Highly processed.

Vague nutrition information.
BenefitsAdditional ingredients like Beta-Alanine and Cognizine to improve workout and brain performanceAdditional ingredients like BCAAs and Creatine can improve endurance.A mix of caffeine and sugar for energy.

Sugar-free options.
Warning LabelsRecommended for adults only.

Do not consume if pregnant/nursing.
Use only if over 18.

Do not use if pregnant/nursing.

Do not use if you take prescription drugs or have any medical conditions.

Do not use with other caffeine products.

Only use if you are healthy.
Not recommended for pregnant/nursing individuals.

Not recommended for individuals sensitive to caffeine.

Will C4 Energy Drinks Make You Gain Weight? 

C4 is a zero-calorie drink, which means it is sugar and carb free.

This may lead some to believe that C4 won’t have any impact on weight gain, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

C4 is artificially sweetened by sucralose. Sucralose can make you hungrier than you would be naturally. It can also make you crave sweets more frequently. For these reasons, C4 can indirectly contribute to weight gain.

If you are trying to lose weight, you should only drink C4 occasionally and be aware of the potential side effects of drinking it too frequently.

Healthier Alternatives to C4 Energy Drinks

There are several other energy drinks that you can consume if you decide that C4 isn’t the best option for you.

Celsius Original

  • 10 calories and only 2 grams of carbs.
  • It contains 200 mg of caffeine.
  • Other ingredients include carbonated water, citric acid, fruit and vegetable juice for color, sucralose, and natural flavor.
  • This drink is a good alternative because it isn’t as processed or has as many additives as other energy drinks.

Zevia Energy

  • This drink is also zero calories but is flavored with Stevia instead of sucralose.
    • Stevia is a natural zero-calorie sweetener that won’t make you prone to weight gain like sucralose.
  • It contains 120 mg of caffeine for a more moderate caffeine intake.

Guayaki Yerba Mate

  • This drink contains 120 calories and 25 grams of sugar.
  • It contains water, organic sugar, yerba mate tea, juice concentrate, and a few other ingredients.
  • It has about 150 mg of caffeine.
  • Yerba Mate can contain some health benefits that make this a great alternative.

Before you turn to C4 for your energy, you may want to consider all of the pros and cons of drinking it. You may decide you want to turn to one of these healthier alternatives.

Is C4 Pre-Workout Harmful? 

C4 Pre-Workout drinks are not harmful when they are taken as directed. It contains supplements like creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and caffeine. These ingredients are all designed to improve workout performance.

C4 has a few options, including their Original, SuperSport, and Ultimate pre-workout. These all include slightly adjusted ingredients, such as the ultimate having more caffeine.

The one downside of taking too much pre-workout, or taking pre-workout with caffeine, is that you may push yourself too hard in the gym. As a result, you may only realize you are injured after the workout.

After taking a pre-workout like C4, you should pay close attention to how your body reacts to determine if C4 should become a regular part of your routine.

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Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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