If Red Bull and vodka is your drink of choice, you might want to read this – a new study in Australia has shown that mixing energy drinks with alcohol will make you want to drink even more than you normally would than if you were to just drink alcohol on its own.
The study used 75 people between the ages of 18 and 30. Each participant drank one of two drinks – vodka with soda water or vodka mixed with an energy drink. The participants answered questions before they drank their drink and then again 20 minutes after the drink. The results showed that people who drank vodka mixed with an energy drink reported a greater urge to drink again than the soda and vodka group. The energy drink group also reported liking their drink more than the soda group did.
How does the energy drink/alcohol combo result in drinking to excess? Everyone knows alcohol is a depressant, but according to researchers it’s also a stimulant that can factor into how much you like the drink. Unlike other beverages where you stop drinking because you aren’t thirsty anymore, the stimulant in alcohol makes you want to keep on drinking long after you would normally stop. The high level of caffeine in energy drinks enhances the stimulant effect in alcohol too, so you keep on drinking without really being aware of doing so.
The problem with these types of drinks is how much caffeine you’re taking in. When caffeine hits your blood stream in mass amounts, you can increase your heart rate to the point where you have chest pains and heart palpitations. You might feel tense, agitated, or have panic attacks, and although alcohol will send you off to dream land easily, it can also cause you to have insomnia and wake you up in the middle of the night.
Although you may love the taste of your favorite energy drink mixed with alcohol, it can have long-term effects on your body that go beyond a caffeine rush. Next time you’re tempted to mix the two, you might want to ask yourself if heart palpitations, sleeplessness, and long term harm to your body factor into your fun night out.