Shocking: Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks May Be Unhealthy

Kids these days: always sexting and snapchatting and, if the average Friday night in your local college neighborhood is any indication, mixing alcohol and energy drinks. Even though energy drinks, for those of us over a certain age (15), taste like a mixture of ADD and profound unhappiness, Red Bull vodkas and other such cocktails are undeniably easy to drink, which helps explain their appeal among the young folk. But new research in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research contributes to the not-new idea that energy drinks and alcohol could be a dangerous combination: Apparently, consuming them increases the urge to imbibe more than drinking regular cocktails does.

The study’s press release explains the experiment (which took place in Ted’s basement, but it was totally cool because his parents were out of town):

Study authors assigned 75 participants (46 women, 29 men) aged 18 to 30 years to an alcohol-only or A+ED condition in a double-blind randomized pre- versus post-test experiment. Participants received a cocktail containing either 60 ml of vodka and a Red Bull® Silver Edition energy drink (n=36) or 60 ml of vodka with soda water (n=39); both cocktails also contained 200 ml of a fruit drink. The primary outcome measure was the Alcohol Urge Questionnaire that was taken at pre-test and 20 minutes later at post-test. Other measures taken at post-test were the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Questionnaire, the Drug Effects Questionnaire, and breath alcohol concentration (BAC).

We found that when people drink A+EDs that they have a stronger desire to keep drinking than if they drank alcohol on its own,” said McKetin. “This would mean that someone who drinks A+EDs would want to keep drinking more than their friends who don’t. What we can’t say is whether this translates into people drinking more. Obviously other factors would play a role there – people can over-ride their desires and many things play into a decision about whether someone would keep drinking or not. However, if it did translate into greater alcohol consumption, we would expect to see people who drink A+EDs drinking more than their peers who don’t.”

I think anyone who has participated in a night of debauchery with friends can answer the question of whether or not kids are likely to be overriding their desires to drink more. Anyway, time for my late-morning energy cocktail.

Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Isn’t Healthy