Bang Energy Drinks are the new rage when it comes to caffeinated beverages. They boast zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar but include supplements that athletes usually take like creatine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). And of course, loads of caffeine. While they have a leg up on their competitors who cram loads of sugar into their drinks, are they healthy?

Caffeine

Bang has 300 mg of caffeine per 16 oz[1]. That’s about 3 cups of coffee in 1 can. It’s also really close to the 400 mg healthy limit on caffeine[2]. While drinking more than 400 mg isn’t going to cause an overdose, it can lead to slue of side effects you’d probably like to avoid; migraine headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, frequent urination or inability to control urination, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.

Even just one can at 300 mg is a lot to drink all at once. It can cause jitters and anxiety and should never be used as a replacement for sleep. In extremely rare cases, rapid consumption of multiple sources of caffeine have led to death[3]. It takes a lot to reach an overdose on caffeine. But the effects of caffeine can overwork your cardiovascular system before you reach toxic levels. Get more info about healthy levels and effects of caffeine here[4].

Creatine and BCAAs

The amount of creatine and other branched chain amino acids in Bang energy drinks are not reported by the company. Creatine is a form of amino acid located mostly in your body’s muscles, as well as in the brain. It is stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine, where it can be used as energy. Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins, so the BCAAs can be beneficial in muscle repair and building.

bang energy drinks ingredientsJudging by the known quantities in the ingredient list, creatine and the other amino acids are likely between 4 – 32.5 mg[5]. The safe dose of creatine is up to 5 grams/day[6] and protein (made up of amino acids) is a major component of our diets. This means the amount in Bang is unlikely to have a major effect. Now, the kind of creatine in Bang is referred to as super creatine. Apparently, this is creatine bonded to L-Leucine. Combining the two makes it a water-stable and it helps with mental focus because it can cross the blood brain barrier more easily[7]. However, this has not been evaluated by the FDA and I could not find any reliable scientific articles on super creatine so take that statement with a grain of salt.

In regard to creatine and caffeine together, caffeine is known to reduce the effectiveness of creatine[8]. They should also never be taken with ephedra, ephedrine, theophylline, or echinacea as it can have serious side effects like stroke[3,8].

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ 10) is naturally present in the body and has many uses including energy production in the mitochondria[9]. It is quickly becoming a popular supplement in the United States due to its many benefits[9] and we even offer it in our office. No serious side effects have been reported with CoQ 10 but it may interact with blood thinners making them less effective[9].

Like the creatine and BCAA levels, the amount of CoQ 10 is not reported. Best estimates based on known values place it between .25 mg and 4 mg[5]. Daily recommended supplement amounts vary between 90 – 200 mg[10] meaning this amount is well under what you would get from a supplemental regiment.

Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium

Bang has Sucralose (aka Splenda)[11] and acesulfame potassium (aka Ace-K)[12] which are artificial sweeteners. With these two, Bang has been able to keep the sweet taste with no carbs or sugars. While this is might be better than the all the extra sugars you get from other energy drinks[13], artificial sweeteners might contribute to weight gain by stimulating sugar cravings that you act on later[14].

Consuming responsibly

Moderation is the key to responsible consumption, especially when it comes to caffeine. Drinking Bang every once-in-a-while is not likely to cause major health problems. But if you start to rely on any energy drink as a replacement for good sleep[15], you’ve left moderation behind.

References

  1. Caffeine Informer. (2019). Caffeine in BANG Energy Drink. [online] Available at: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-content/bang-energy-drink
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2019). Caffeine: How much is too much?. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
  3. Wootson Jr., C. (2017). A teen chugged a latte, a Mountain Dew and an energy drink. The caffeine binge led to his death. [online] The Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/16/a-teen-chugged-a-latte-a-mountain-dew-and-an-energy-drink-the-caffeine-binge-led-to-his-death/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.faae16cb3832
  4. Null, LA. (2018). Make your coffee habit a healthy habit – #WellnessWednesday. [online] Null Chiropractic. Available at: https://nullchiropractic.com/coffee-habit-healthy-habit-ww/
  5. (2019). VPX Bang Power Punch Energy Drink – Shop Sports & Energy Drinks at H-E-B. [online] Available at: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/vpx-bang-power-punch-energy-drink/1877987
  6. King, J. (2019). The Side Effects of HPLC Pure Creatine Monohydrate. [online] LIVESTRONG. Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/443226-the-side-effects-of-hplc-pure-creatine-monohydrate/
  7. Supplement Reviews. (2019). VPX BANG Reviews. [online] Available at: https://supplementreviews.com/vpx/bang
  8. Mayo Clinic. (2017). Creatine. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-creatine/art-20347591
  9. (2019). Coenzyme Q10. [online] Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/coq10
  10. Garrido-Maraver, J., Cordero, M., Oropesa-Ávila, M., Fernández Vega, A., de la Mata, M., Delgado Pavón, A., de Miguel, M., Pérez Calero, C., Villanueva Paz, M., Cotán, D. and Sánchez-Alcázar, J. (2014). Coenzyme Q10 Therapy. Molecular Syndromology, [online] 5(3-4), pp.187-197. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112525/
  11. (2019). Sucralose. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucralose
  12. Schaefer, A. (2017). Acesulfame Potassium: Is It Safe?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/is-acesulfame-potassium-bad-for-me#how-to-avoid-it
  13. Null, LA. (2019). Watch Out for Sugary Drinks – #WellnessWednesday. [online] Null Chiropractic. Available at: https://nullchiropractic.com/watch-out-sugary-drinks-ww/
  14. Yang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med, [online] 83(2), pp.101-108. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/
  15. Null, LA. (2018). Sleep, who needs it? – #WellnessWednesday. [online] Null Chiropractic. Available at: https://nullchiropractic.com/sleep-who-needs-it-ww/

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