Energy Drinks and Alcohol: A Bad Combination

Mega-doses of caffeine mixed with alcohol may be dangerous

energy drinks

Planning to ring in the New Year at a party? If you’re going to be drinking to celebrate the occasion, think twice about what you use as a mixer. Lots of people mix energy drinks with their alcohol without thinking of the potential effects.

Julia Zumpano, RD, a registered dietician with Cleveland Clinic, warns the high caffeine content in energy drinks may get you to drink more than your limit.

“Caffeine is a stimulant but once you come down from that high you want it again, just like coffee,” says Zumpano.  “It’s a very addictive effect.”

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Caffeine’s effect on intoxication

Zumpano says researchers are now looking to see if energy drinks reduce the sensation of intoxication — which may induce more drinking.

Researchers not only want to find out if energy drinks offset the sedating effects of alcohol, they’re looking to determine if the reduced sensation of intoxication impairs judgment relative to risky behaviors, like drunk driving.

Energy/alcohol cocktails loaded with calories

Though more research is needed on energy drinks’ effect on the feeling of intoxication, Zumpano says sugar-laden energy drinks will definitely put a dent in your diet.

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Beyond the caloric content of the alcohol, most of these energy drinks average between 250 to 300 calories, says Zumpano, so they add up very quickly. “Three or four drinks and you’re well over 1,000 calories from the energy drinks alone.”

If you do like mixed drinks, Zumpano recommends using a diet soda or seltzer as a mixer.

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