A new study finds mixing energy drinks with alcohol increases the urge to drink. People who consume the mixture may drink more alcohol than they planned, according to the researchers.
“Obviously these findings are not going to deter young people from drinking if they want to get drunk, but they need to be mindful that they may be unwittingly putting themselves at a greater risk of accidents and injuries because they end up drinking more than they had intended,” lead author Rebecca McKetin told Reuters.
The study included 75 participants ages 18 to 30. They were assigned to drink either vodka mixed with soda water or vodka mixed with an energy drink. Both groups also had fruit juice in their drinks. Participants did not know which drink they were receiving.
They answered questions before and after they drank the cocktail. Those who drank the mix of vodka and energy drink had a greater urge to drink alcohol afterwards, compared with those who drank vodka and soda water, the researchers report in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Participants who drank the mix of vodka and energy drink also said they liked their drink more than those who had the vodka and soda water.
Energy drink manufacturers in the United States are no longer allowed to make high-caffeine drinks with alcohol, but young people are mixing their own drinks, such as combining Red Bull and Jägermeister liquor.
A study published in 2013 concluded drinking alcohol with an energy drink is more dangerous than drinking alcohol alone. Researchers found college students tended to drink more heavily, and become more intoxicated, on days they used both energy drinks and alcohol, compared with days when they only drank alcohol.