Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to energy drinks.
Bang Energy is one of the most popular energy drink brands, often used by younger generations as a coffee alternative or pre-workout.
But is Bang Energy unhealthy? What are the ingredients that provide the stimulatory effect? Does Bang have any questionable additive ingredients?
In this article we’ll aim to answer these questions and more by reviewing every ingredient in Bang Energy based on published medical research. We’ll conclude with our thoughts on whether or not the drinks are healthy.
Bang Energy comes in a wide variety of flavors, but they all have very similar formulations so our comments about the ingredients in Bangster Berry, shown above, stand for all Bang Energy drink flavors.
Caffeine is the predominant active ingredient, at a dose of 300 milligrams (mg). This is equivalent to around 3 cups of coffee.
Caffeine is one of the most well-studied ingredients that can enhance both physical and mental energy. This dose of caffeine can also provide athletic benefits. A clinical trial cited by Bang Energy on their product page proves that caffeine at this dose can increase endurance.
This dose of caffeine should be tolerable for healthy adults, but would be inadvisable for children, and potentially for people with high blood pressure or anxiety, since caffeine can exacerbate both conditions.
Bang Energy has a wide range of additive ingredients we consider questionable from a health perspective.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that may negatively affect insulin function. A clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sucralose consumption decreased insulin sensitivity in young and healthy volunteers. Insulin sensitivity is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Bang Energy contains two different preservatives: potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. Both of these ingredients were found to alter gene expression in a 2016 medical review. The study authors concluded that “...some of the food preservatives and colorants can contribute to the activation of inflammatory pathways.” We recommend avoiding preservative intake entirely.
Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer. As we documented in our recent review of the popular hydration brand Pedialyte, there is medical research suggesting that this ingredient may cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in a small subset of consumers.
Most of the remaining ingredients are a blend of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and magnesium. Added vitamins and minerals are frequently included in energy drink formulations, and we don’t understand why because we have never come across any medical research suggesting that consuming added vitamins and minerals improves energy.
We recommend avoiding all food products with added vitamins and minerals unless otherwise instructed by a doctor, because the consumption of fortified foods may push blood levels into unsafe ranges for individuals with normal levels of those vitamins and minerals.
Bang Energy contains a blend called “SUPER CREATINE” that contains creatine bonded to an amino acid called l-leucine. While creatine has exercise performance enhancing properties, the dose of this ingredient is not published on Bang Energy, so we cannot evaluate if the dose is effective.
We cannot identify any medical studies on humans suggesting that creatine improves energy, nor does Bang share any on their product page, so we’ll consider this ingredient ineffective for an energy drink formulation.
Overall we do believe that Bang Energy is likely to improve energy levels short-term due to the effective caffeine dose, but this drink contains many additive ingredients that we recommend avoiding. We cannot identify any ingredients we believe are likely to improve energy other than caffeine.
Registered Dietitian Reviews Healthiness of Bang Energy
One of the most popular reviews on YouTube of the healthiness of Bang Energy comes from a channel called “General Wellness” that’s run by a Registered Dietitian (RD) named Addie Roberts.
The review appears unsponsored and the creator shares both her personal experience using Bang Energy drinks as well as some of the nutritional information:
Is Bang Energy Healthier Than Other Energy Drinks?
There are a wide variety of energy drinks on the market, but three of the most popular are Monster, Red Bull and Ghost Energy.
Below is our quick comparison between Bang Energy and each of these three drinks, along with a winner in each category.
Monster Vs. Bang
Monster contains a significant amount of added sugar (while Bang has none). Monster also contains a mix of three stimulant ingredients (caffeine, glucuronolactone, taurine) that have been found in medical research to be particularly harmful to young adults.
Red Bull Vs. Bang
Red Bull contains 27 g added sugar per can, and many of the same ingredients in Bang that we find questionable; namely citric acid and vitamin blends.
Ghost Energy Vs. Bang
Ghost Energy has an extremely similar formulation to Bang. It has slightly less caffeine (200 mg), but has citric acid, natural flavor, sucralose, two preservatives and a vitamin blend.
Even though we noted a significant number of ingredients in Bang Energy that we recommend avoiding, we still consider it to have a healthier formulation than many of the leading energy drinks on the market. We consider the product category as a whole to be rife with poorly-formulated products.
Our Energy & Nootropic Recommendations
Consumers typically use energy drinks to achieve two things: improved physical energy and improved cognition. There are natural compounds which are proven in medical literature to be effective in achieving these outcomes.
Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.
Ginkgo biloba has not only been shown effective in older adults (the population that most nootropic studies are conducted on), but also in young, healthy adults which is impressive. A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to improve attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.
Illuminate Labs sells a ginkgo biloba extract supplement which is standardized to the same potency as used in medical research, and which is third-party tested to ensure purity, potency and label accuracy. Our ginkgo biloba extract can be purchased at this link.
Panax ginseng extract can be used to improve energy naturally, and doesn’t have the crash of traditional stimulants like caffeine. Panax ginseng has published clinical backing for its ability to reduce mental fatigue and reduce physical fatigue; both health effects that can benefit e-sports athletes.
Illuminate Labs sells a panax ginseng extract supplement which is standardized to the same potency as used in medical research, and which is third-party tested to ensure purity, potency and label accuracy. Our panax ginseng extract can be purchased at this link.
For consumers who dislike supplements and prefer a drink, we would recommend black coffee as a healthy option for increasing energy. Three cups of black coffee would contain around the same caffeine content as Bang Energy without any of the questionable additive ingredients.