Most people realize that mixing alcohol and energy drinks is not a good idea. However, they don’t usually recognize just how dangerous it can be. The more research that is done in regards to alcohol and energy drinks, the more we understand the toxic relationship between the two.
Let’s discuss the most current research on mixed beverages and why researchers are concerned for the safety and well-being of young and underage drinkers.
Mixing Drinks is Linked to Risky, Reckless Behavior
On its own, drinking too much alcohol can lead to reckless behavior, alcohol poisoning or death. Energy drinks have their own share of problems, ranging from too much caffeine and sugar and the addition of ingredients like taurine.
According to research published in the online journal Nutrition Reviews, combining alcohol and energy drinks is much riskier than drinking alcohol alone. Consumption of mixed beverages among young drinkers, compared to alcohol straight, is associated with higher rates of binge drinking, impaired driving, risky sexual behavior and a risk for alcohol dependence.
Another meta-analysis of 13 studies published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concluded that people who mix energy drinks and alcohol have a higher risk of injury from car accidents and fights compared to those who drink alcohol alone. Underage drinkers who mix their beverages also have double the risk of committing or experiencing sexual assault compared to young people who drink alcohol straight.
Combining Energy Drinks and Alcohol Has Psychological Effects, Too
Researchers are also discovering that there are psychological effects to consider when mixing alcohol and energy drinks. An experiment was conducted by INSEAD Business School, the University of British Columbia and the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. What researchers found was incredible. People who drink mixed beverages feel stronger effects of intoxication.
In the experiment, 154 young men were given the same drink but with different ingredients: Red Bull and vodka, vodka cocktail or fruit juice cocktail. Participants who drank what they believed to be Red Bull and vodka were more likely to feel intoxicated. This goes against the belief that mixing energy drinks with alcohol could mask the effects. However, what concerns researchers is that these beliefs could somehow encourage risky or reckless behavior.
There is nothing good about drinking energy drinks. They are loaded with caffeine, sugar and other ingredients and marketed to children and teens. When combined with alcohol, the dangers for risky behavior and health complications skyrocket. With no nutritional value and a wide range of effects, energy drinks should be avoided at all costs and never mixed with alcohol.