Drinking a cocktail made of alcohol and energy drink may make you feel great on a night out, but the combination is actually quite harmful. Energy drink mixes have enjoyed an increase in popularity in recent years among clubgoers and other social types because of their ability to supply what seems like endless energy.
Energy drinks on their own have enjoyed a 12% increase in sales every year since they were first introduced to the market in the early 2000's. Soon bars, clubs, and other establishments realized that mixing the drinks with alcohol produced delicious, sugary cocktails that drinkers would love. The trend took off and energy mixers along with premade alcoholic drinks could soon be found for home consumption in supermarkets.
It took some time for research on the effect of energy drinks to surface, and the results were not flattering. It turns out that mixing energy drinks with alcohol has serious effects on physical and psychological health of its consumers. In some ways, combining energy drinks with alcohol is more harmful than using a traditional mixer.
How energy drink combinations make you drink more.
The kind of intoxication you feel when consuming energy drink and alcohol combos feels different from a regular drunk feeling. Some people like to call it "wide awake drunk" and it's precisely the reason the combination has become so popular.
The effect is that you feel more energetic and awake than you would normally feel just consuming alcohol. The result is a misleading feeling of alertness. In actuality, you are still getting the full effects of alcohol.
The awake feeling you get can actually lead you to drink even more. The result is that your judgement, coordination, and behavior are affected even more. You may find yourself engaging in especially risky behaviors or placing yourself in dangerous situations.
The awake feeling that alcohol and energy drink mixtures produce comes from the high amounts of caffeine in the energy drink. The caffeine effectively overpowers the sedative qualities of the alcohol - which normally alert you to your intoxication by producing sleepiness, slurred speech, and loss of coordination - and replaces them with the stimulating effects of the energy drink. This results in a feeling of alertness.
The side effects of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.
There are several physical and psychological side effects caused by consuming alcohol and energy drinks. These side effects are actually more severe than just drinking alcohol on its own. Some of the side effects include:
-heart palpitations and increased heart rate
-feelings of agitation and nervousness
-and in very large amounts - stroke, seizures, and mania
The effects of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks.
On their own, energy drinks are very unhealthy. Not only do they contain deceptively high amounts of caffeine, they also pack in large doses of sugar. On average an energy drink contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, or the same amount of caffeine in three cans of soda or one large cup of coffee.
Mixing energy drinks with alcohol makes it easier to consume more of the mixture at a much faster rate. A person can successfully consume large amounts of caffeine in a very short period of time.
The high sugar content in these drinks makes it easy to consume large amounts of calories as well. Drinking energy drinks on a regular basis (and many young people do consume them daily) leads to weight gain and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.