Are Ghost Energy Drinks Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis

Are Ghost Energy Drinks Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis


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Ghost is quickly becoming one of the most popular supplement brands with young American adults. The company has playful and colorful packaging, and sells an energy drink that they describe as a “fully transparent, fully loaded, feel good drink.”

But what’s actually in Ghost Energy drinks? Are the ingredients bad for you? Are the ingredients shown actually proven to increase energy? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Ghost Energy drinks?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Ghost Energy based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the brand is bad for you.

First, we’ll analyze whether or not it’s likely effective for improving energy, and we’ll also feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand.

Does Ghost Energy Even Work?

Ghost Energy active ingredient blend ingredients

The active ingredients in Ghost Energy are shown above.

There are ingredients in this formulation with research backing for enhancing energy and athletic performance.

Carnipure is a trademarked version of l-carnitine l-tartrate with research backing for energy support according to the manufacturer’s website.

However, we can’t find any medical studies suggesting it’s effective in humans at the dose included in Ghost Energy (1,000 milligrams). A clinical trial published in the Nutrients journal reported that the supplement improved exercise recovery, but the dose was 3x that in Ghost Energy.

Taurine is an amino acid that’s clinically shown to harm the developing brain when combined with caffeine (which is also used in this supplement), as we documented in our review of Ghost Pre-Workout.

Caffeine is one of the most well-studied ingredients for energy, and is clinically shown to improve physical and perceived energy levels.

Alpha-GPC was shown to increase motivation in a 2021 clinical trial, and the dose used (200 mg) was similar to the dose in Ghost Energy (150 mg), so we’ll consider this ingredient to be likely effective.

NeuroFactor is a patented extract of coffee fruit extract, and was shown “to induce measurable, acute physiological changes in brain connectivity” in a clinical trial published in the Antioxidants journal, suggesting it can support brain energy levels.

AstraGin is described as a supplement to enhance intestinal health on the manufacturer’s website, so we’re unsure why this is included in an energy drink.

Overall, we consider Ghost Energy likely to be effective for improving both physical and mental energy levels.

But is it healthy or unhealthy? We’ll answer that question in the next section of this article.

Is Ghost Energy Bad for You?

Ghost Energy Redberry flavor ingredients

The full ingredient list for Ghost Energy Redberry flavor is shown above.

While the brand markets this product line as having “No BS,” there are a number of inactive ingredients in this drink with questionable health effects according to medical studies.

Citric acid is typically derived from a fungus when used in manufacturing, and can cause whole-body inflammation according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Artificial flavors have been shown in research studies to have toxic effects in animals, as documented in our review of Red Bull.

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are preservatives, and a 2022 medical review concluded that “Long-term use of food treated with the above-mentioned food preservatives resulted in teratogenicity and other allergens.”

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was shown to cause negative changes to insulin function in a clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 shown to be associated with a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer in a 2012 meta-study.

Overall, while this product may be fine in moderation, we consider Ghost Energy to be bad for you due to all of the questionable added ingredients highlighted above.

We also find it to be a questionable marketing strategy for a brand to declare their energy drinks are “No BS” while containing preservatives, an artificial sweetener, artificial flavors and citric acid.

Real People Try Ghost Energy

A YouTube creator named Brett Westover ranked every Ghost Energy flavor:

A TikTok creator named “Ares Nutrition” suggests that Ghost Energy isn’t a good choice for a pre-workout to maximize gym performance:

@aresnutrition Dont waste your time drinking these as pre-workouts #aresnutrition #aresknowledge #preworkout #ghostenergy #ryseenergy #bang ♬ original sound - Ares Nutrition

Is Ghost Deceptively Marketed to Kids?

In late 2022, a non-profit organization called Truth in Advertising (TINA) filed a formal complaint to regulators (both the FTC and the FDA), alleging that the company’s use of popular candy flavors like Sour Patch Kids is an intentional maneuver to market the products to children.

The complaint further alleges that Ghost makes unsubstantiated and unapproved health claims in the marketing of their products.

TINA also claims that Ghost sponsored a high school athletics team and provided their products to players.

At the time of publishing this article, it’s unclear whether either regulatory agency that received the complaint has taken any action against Ghost.

Our Clean Energy Picks

Panax ginseng extract has been clinically shown  to reduce mental fatigue and reduce physical fatigue; both health effects that can benefit e-sports athletes.

Illuminate Labs manufactures a Panax Ginseng Extract Supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.

Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link to the secure product page on our website, where it retails for only $15 at a subscription price.

Performance Lab Energy is our top multi-ingredient energy supplement pick.

This supplement contains acetyl-l-carnitine which can "improve energy status" according to a medical review published in the Neurochemical Research journal, as well as CoQ10 which is produced by the body but decreases with age, and "is an effective and safe treatment for reducing fatigue symptoms" according to a 2022 meta-study.

Interested consumers can check out Performance Lab Energy at this link to the product page on the brand's official website. 

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Ghost Energy drinks should be effective for improving energy and gym performance because they contain a number of research-backed ingredients, but we consider them to be bad for you overall.

This brand uses artificial flavors, an artificial sweetener, synthetic vitamins and citric acid while proudly proclaiming “No BS” ingredients in its marketing. All of the above-listed inactive ingredients have questionable health effects according to clinical studies cited in this article.

We recommend that consumers avoid “processed” energy drinks like this and choose brands without artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners.

A non-profit organization filed complaints to legislators in 2022, alleging that Ghost is engaged in deceptive and manipulative marketing of their energy drinks to children. No action appears to have been taken by legislators at the time of publishing this article.

Online customer reviews of Ghost Energy that we came across while researching the article were mixed. Some customers liked the taste, while others suggested that the drink isn’t great for long-term energy support.