Alcohol and energy drinks: a bad mix

October 1, 2012, Monash University
Alcohol and energy drinks: a bad mix
Young Australians are putting their health at risk by consuming amounts of AEDs beyond what is deemed safe. Credit: iStock.

(Medical Xpress)—Mixing energy drinks with alcohol (AEDs) as party beverages is a growing trend among young Australians, who are putting their health at risk by consuming amounts beyond what is deemed safe, according to new research.

An Australian first study examining the patterns of consumption and associated harms of AEDs among young Australians found most were unaware of recommended limits of daily consumption or related . It found some consumed in excess of eight AEDs on a typical night out with friends.

Dr Amy Pennay and Professor Dan Lubman, from Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and Monash University, surveyed Victorians aged 18 to 35 and documented patterns of consumption of AEDs over a six-month period.

The study found was considered the primary benefit of drinking AEDs and difficulty sleeping was the main concern. 

Dr Pennay said in the context of a big night out young people were combining energy drinks with vodka, Jagermeister and Cointreau, and sometimes concurrently with illicit .

"Energy drinks are concentrated with stimulants like caffeine, ginseng and taurine, while alcohol is a depressant. By mixing the two it confuses the nervous system which can often trigger ," Dr Pennay said.

"When people drink AEDs excessively, they're also at high risk of symptoms of over-stimulation including difficulty sleeping, severe hangovers, aggression, violence, , blackouts, vomiting and tremors."

The researchers found the perceived benefits of AEDs were similar to those identified in previous international research, which included alertness, energy, , taste, and increased intoxication.

In Australia, there is currently no information contained on energy drinks stating they should not be mixed with alcohol. Participants also reported they were unaware about recommendations related to consuming only two per day.

"A range of regulatory options such as the legislation of mandatory information about safe consumption practices on labels and implementing guidelines around marketing and promotions should be considered. Also awareness to ensure young people are making informed decisions about consumption is important," Professor Lubman said.

Professor Lubman said some individuals consumed AEDs to feel less drunk while others use AEDs to facilitate drunkenness through the faster paced consumption of party beverages such as 'Jager bombs'.

Explore further: Examining alcohol + energy drink consumption among the Australian public

Related Stories

Examining alcohol + energy drink consumption among the Australian public

August 15, 2012
Not only have energy drinks become increasingly popular among adolescents and young adults in recent years, so too has mixing and drinking them with alcohol. However, research on the subjective psychological, physiological, ...

Drinking energy beverages mixed with alcohol may be riskier than drinking alcohol alone

April 15, 2011
Energy drinks mixed with alcohol, such as Red Bull and vodka, have become trendy. While this consumption has been implicated in risky drinking practices and associated accidents and injuries, there is little laboratory research ...

Dual effects noted for alcohol and energy drink co-ingestion

August 29, 2012
(HealthDay)—Although consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) increases alertness and may negate some intoxication-related sedation effects, it can lead to negative physiological and psychological side effects ...

Energy drink abuse highest among teens

January 19, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A recent study has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of calls to a poisons hotline relating to caffeine toxicity from energy drink consumption.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.