Alcohol and energy drinks: a bad mix

October 1, 2012
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

Postmenopausal women should still steer clear of HRT: task force

December 12, 2017
(HealthDay)—Yet again, the nation's leading authority on preventive medicine says postmenopausal women should avoid hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Will 'AI' be part of your health-care team?

December 12, 2017
(HealthDay)—Artificial intelligence is assuming a greater role in many walks of life, with research suggesting it may even help doctors diagnose disease.

State-level disclosure laws affect patients' eagerness to have their DNA tested

December 12, 2017
Different types of privacy laws in U.S. states produce markedly different effects on the willingness of patients to have genetic testing done, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT professor.

Babies born during famine have lower cognition in midlife

December 12, 2017
Hunger and malnutrition in infancy may lead to poor cognitive performance in midlife, according to a new study.

Full moon linked to increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes

December 11, 2017
The full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, finds a study in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

'Man flu' may be real

December 11, 2017
The much-debated phenomenon of "man flu" may have some basis in fact, suggests an article published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

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.