How Mixing Energy Drinks With Alcohol Can Lead To Even More Drinking

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Glasses of wine are displayed at the Vinitaly wine expo in Verona April 3, 2009.
In Photo: Glasses of wine are displayed at the Vinitaly wine expo in Verona April 3, 2009. Reuters

A new research in Australia revealed that mixing caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol can actually increase the drinker's tendency to drink more.

Rebecca McKetin is the lead author of the study. She said, "Based on our study, we can't be certain whether it was the caffeine or the sugary additives that made the energy drink and vodka cocktail more appealing than drinking alcohol alone."

McKetin said that one possible cause is that people tend to drink alcohol to experience its depressing effects. Many actually do not realise that alcohol also has stimulating effects which can trigger people to drink more. Since energy drinks contain caffeine, which causes the stimulating effects of alcohol. When the drinker is stimulated by the energy drink, his desire to drink more alcohol is also increased. McKetin also said that the caffeine, not the sweetness, is more likely to trigger people to drink more.

McKetin conducted the study with Alice Coen, which involved 75 individuals from 18 to 30 years old. The participants drank either vodka mixed with soda water or vodka mixed with an energy drink. Both cocktails also included fruit juice. Participants drank the cocktails at random. The study revealed that those who drank the alcohol-energy drink combination drank more, which resulted to higher blood alcohol levels. Although they cannot fully determine whether it was the sugar or caffeine that increased the urge to drink more, McKetin indicated that past research concluded that the caffeine causes the binge effect.

More young Americans aged 18 to 24 years old consume energy drinks on a regular basis which increase their risk for continuing to drink once they start drinking. The Centers for Disease Control stated that individuals who mix alcohol and energy drinks are three times more likely to binge-drink compared to those who drink alcohol alone.

Another new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research showed that Australians who drank a combination of alcohol and an energy drink liked their cocktail better and experienced a bigger urge to continue drinking. Participants were asked to drink either an alcohol-energy drink combo or plain alcohol. Experts concluded that the energy drink-alcohol combo puts drinkers in higher-risk circumstances.

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