Adding alcohol to energy drinks boosts urge to drink
A new study has found that consuming a combination of alcohol and energy drinks may increase a person’s desire to continue drinking—more so than when just drinking alcohol alone.
For the study, scientists at The Australian National University in Canberra recruited 75 adults between ages 18 and 30, all of whom were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their use of alcohol, caffeine and drugs. The participants were then split into two groups, the first of which was given a cocktail made of 2 ounces of vodka, lime-flavored energy drink and fruit drink, while the second group was given a cocktail made of 2 ounces of vodka, fruit drink and soda water. After sipping on their drinks for ten minutes, the participants rated the drink’s taste and its effects of them and took a breathalyzer test to measure their blood alcohol concentrations (BAC).
The researchers found that the people who drank the cocktail containing the energy drink liked the taste better, had lower BACs and had a stronger desire to continue drinking than did the adults who had the cocktail with no energy drink.
The study’s findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, suggest that an increased desire to drink may be specifically be caused by the combination of caffeine and sugar. Researchers explained that sugar may improve a drink’s taste, while caffeine may strengthen alcohol’s stimulant effects. The study did not answer, however, to what extent the combination of energy drinks and alcohol may increase how much alcohol a person subsequently consumes.