Is Mountain Dew Kickstart Good Or Bad For You? We Find Out! 

Mountain Dew Kickstart

Looking for a healthy and nourishing drink without unsafe additives?

Tossing up on whether Mountain Dew Kickstart is a good option? Well, it is fairly good for you. This beverage falls somewhere between a sports beverage, an energy drink, and a soda. But fundamentally it is an enhanced soda. Sodas in general lead to health problems. Especially if over-consumed in the long run. 

Kickstart may have trace nutrients added to it. But it doesn’t have any significant health benefits. Carbonated beverages contribute to cravings and binge-eating. So while the soda itself is harmless, temperance will serve you well. 

A few cans now and then can be a rejuvenating treat. 

This article will take you through the pros and cons of Mountain Dew Kickstart. 

What is Mountain Dew Kickstart?

Kickstart is a breakfast energy drink. PepsiCo created it as an alternative to coffee, tea, and juice. It is targeted at people who dislike or need a change from conventional morning drinks. It uses the signature Mountain Dew formula. This is a carbonated water base. 

It then combines fruit juice concentrates of different flavors. These include citrus and grape. It also contains caffeine for that morning wake-up call. The drink is supplemented with B Vitamins and Vitamin C.  This makes it a slightly more nutritive option than its counterparts. 

Mountain Dew Kickstart ingredients

  • Carbonated water 

This key ingredient makes the drinks fizzy. 

  • White grape or orange juice concentrate 

This is 100% natural fruit juice without additives. It is drained of excess water. 

  • Gum Arabic 

This resin binds flavors to the water and juice. 

  • Calcium Disodium EDTA 

This compound is a preservative. It is a chelating agent that prevents chemical interactions that cause spoilage.   

  • Sodium Polyphosphates

This additive called Graham’s salt is a stabilizer. It prevents ingredients from separating. 

  • Citric Acid 

This is antimicrobial and antioxidant. It prolongs shelf life and prevents rancidity.  

  • Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate

This is a straw-colored emulsifier liquid. It distributes taste evenly across the beverage. 

Does Kickstart give you energy? 

Yes, Mountain Dew Kickstart gives you a temporary dash of energy. Caffeine can help keep you alert and awake. It reduces drowsiness by blocking the action of adenosine. Adenosine is a brain chemical responsible for inducing sleep. 

The carbs from the sugar also provide physical and mental energy. The added Vitamins B6, B3, and C all promote the nervous system and brain function. This will tackle any lethargy or tiredness. The drink helps keep you at your active best. 

How many calories are in Kickstart? 

The calories in Mountain Dew Kickstart differ based on size. The drink is available in 12 and 16-ounce cans. They are also available in customizable cups of varying sizes. The 12 ounces can have 60 calories. Each can of 355 ml is equal to one serving.  

The 16 ounces can have two servings. One serving of 450 mL has 40 calories. The total calories are 80 for the entire can. The calorie count is the same on average, irrespective of flavor. 

The custom cups have about 35-50 calories. This varies based on the cup size and how much ice is added. You can choose anywhere between 0-75% ice content. The less the drink content, the fewer the calories.  

How much sugar is in Mountain Dew Kickstart? 

Total sugar in Kickstart ranges from 9 to 19 grams. The sugar quantity depends on can size. For custom cups, the ice and cup type determine total sugar content. Of the total sugars, 11-13 grams are added sugars. 

The sugar used is high fructose corn syrup. This sugar is derived from corn starch. Much of the glucose is converted to fructose through enzyme action. 

In the 16 ounce packs, each can have about 20 grams of sugar. The daily recommended intake of sugar is 25 to 35 grams. This is for women and men respectively. One 16 ounce can contribute half or 3/4ths of your daily sugar needs. 

Does Mountain Dew Kickstart have caffeine? 

Yes, Mtn Dew Kickstart contains added caffeine. The 12 ounces can have 68-69 mg of caffeine. The 16 ounces can have about 92 mg of caffeine.  This is on the lower side compared to similar energy drinks.

92 mg of caffeine is just under a standard cup of espresso or black coffee. Most other drinks contain 120 mg of caffeine or above for similar quantities. This is good news for Kickstart lovers. There have been medical concerns related to the excess caffeine content in energy drinks. 

Mountain Dew Kickstart only has moderate caffeine content. This makes it a safer and healthier option to perk up. 

Does Mountain Dew Kickstart have taurine? 

No, Mountain Dew Kickstart does not have taurine. Taurine is an organic compound present in animal tissue. Meat, poultry, and eggs carry it in considerable amounts. 

Taurine supplements are unnecessary because your body already makes enough. The intestines and bile produce taurine. A balanced diet is sufficient to maintain this production. 

Natural or synthetic taurine is thought to raise metabolism. Taurine is also believed to relax the brain. So it is incorporated in some night-time drinks to promote good sleep. 

But mostly the jury is still out on possible benefits. There is no concrete evidence suggesting that it builds physical endurance or muscle mass. So the absence of taurine in Mountain Dew Kickstart doesn’t make much of a difference. Unless you have a deficiency, extra taurine is pointless. 

Does Mountain Dew Kickstart have artificial sweeteners? 

Yes, Mountain Dew Kickstart uses artificial sweeteners. The sugar substitutes used are Ace-K and Splenda. 

Ace-k or acesulfame potassium is a synthetic compound. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Ace-k has no sugar content and zero calories. 

Splenda is the commercial name for sucralose. This is extracted from sugar. It contains dextrose and maltodextrin. But it is processed so that it is non-calorific. Your body doesn’t digest or absorb sucralose. It is 400-700 times sweeter than sugar. 

Since only tiny amounts are used, it doesn’t pack on the carbs either. 

Splenda and Ace-K are controversial. Ace-k is suspected of causing thyroid malfunction. It may also be a potential carcinogen. Splenda is associated with a decline in gut health. It is thought to kill essential digestive bacteria. 

It is also suspected of releasing cancer-causing compounds called chloropropanols when exposed to high temperatures. But none of these concerns have been proven conclusively. 

The U.S. FDA and EU regulatory agencies have also given Ace-K the green light. They do not believe it is harmful in the quantities used. On most counts, these are good sugar alternatives.  

Does Mountain Dew Kickstart have ginseng? 

No, Mountain Dew Kickstart does not contain ginseng. This plant-based compound has many health benefits. It can reduce mental fatigue. It may also promote cognitive ability. It is thought to reduce inflammation. It may also aid in weight loss. 

Most brands use the Panax ginseng species of this root. Ginseng may also have negative side effects. These include sleeplessness and dermatitis. It may also lead to anxiety and diarrhea.  Ginseng is an herb that may have drug interactions.

How long does Mountain Dew Kickstart last? 

The energy from Mountain Dew Kickstart lasts for only a short period of time. There is no steady push through the day. 90 mg of caffeine will take the whole day to leave the system. But it shows peak effect within 40-45 minutes.

Along with the added sugar, you will feel the effects within an hour. But the vigor will wind down within 2 hours. You may experience an energy crash. This may induce you to reach for another can!

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart carbonated? 

Yes, Kickstart is carbonated. It can be considered a fortified soda or fizzy drink. It can also be thought of as juice-flavored sparkling water. PepsiCo classifies it as a juice drink under technical regulations. This is because it contains 5-10% fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate. 

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not confirmed this status. But undoubtedly Mountain Dew Kickstart does contain bubbly soda water.  This is part of what lends it to the typical Mountain Dew characteristic buzz. 

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart bad for your heart? 

Mountain Dew Kickstart may be bad for your heart in large quantities. Energy drinks in general, pose risks to cardiovascular health. The high caffeine content may increase hypertension or cause irregular heartbeat. This increases the possibility of a cardiac arrest. 

But Kickstart has low caffeine. So the associated risk is reduced to a great extent. Sugar content poses a hazard to heart health. High sugar intake can lead to diabetes and obesity. Such lifestyle diseases contribute to coronary artery disease (CAD). 

Having too much of a stimulating drink can also interrupt sleep. Poor sleep patterns contribute to heart ailments too. Fortunately, Mountain Dew Kickstart has no ginseng. Ginseng may interact with caffeine, causing high blood pressure. 

There are dangers. But these can be minimized by responsible consumption. 

Can you drink Mountain Dew Kickstart while pregnant? 

No, it is best to avoid drinking Kickstart if you are pregnant. Kickstart isn’t toxic. But it isn’t healthy either. 

One 16 ounce can have 90 mg of caffeine. This is well within the 150 mg medically recommended limit. But doctors suggest avoiding caffeine altogether. This is because even small amounts may raise the mother’s heart rate. This could cross the placental barrier and over-stimulate the fetus. 

Exceeding 200mg can even cause miscarriages. Artificial dyes and sweeteners are also unhealthy during this sensitive stage. Carbonated water may worsen digestive distress, acid reflux, and heartburn. 

The drink may also cause insomnia and irritability. This could affect an expecting woman’s mental and physical well-being. 

Can 12-year-olds drink Mountain Dew Kickstart? 

12-year-olds can drink Mountain Dew Kickstart. But it isn’t good for them. Mountain Dew Kickstart’s caffeine content falls within the 100-120 mg limit for adolescents.   

The American Pediatric Association (APA) suggests refraining from caffeine altogether. This applies to children aged 12 and above. But it is mainly addressed to children 10 years and below. 

Caffeine and sugar cause hyperactivity and wakefulness. Disrupted sleep due to excess nighttime energy leads to daytime fatigue. Your child may find it difficult to concentrate.  The drink also has a lot of empty calories. It fills kids up leaving little space for nutritious food.  

Carbonated water has a small amount of acid. This causes tooth decay and deteriorating bone health. 

Is Mountain Dew Kickstart vegan? 

It depends on how strict your definition of vegan is. In terms of sourcing and ingredients, Kickstart is vegan-friendly. No animal products or animal derivatives are used. The components are either synthetic or plant-based. 

The problem arises during manufacturing, processing, and testing. The dyes used, like Red 40 or Blue 1 are probably synthetic. But they may be tested on animals. Some third-party vendors may also be conducting animal testing. 

Sugar is also plant-based. But it may be processed using bone char filtration. Powdered animal bones are used to refine and whiten sugar. The use of these techniques and parallel processes remains unclear.  

Animal rights activists may not be satisfied. But in terms of clean nutrition, it does tick most vegan boxes. 

We hope this article has clarified the details of this invigorating drink. So if it’s a tough day at work and you need to give it your all, grab a can and cross that finish line! 


Anand Srinivasan
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