Alcohol and Nutrition

Are the drinks with caffeine and alcohol safe?

Alcoholic energy drinks are a popular drink among younger drinkers. The trend began when energy drinks were mixed with alcohol. The reason for the popularity is that caffeine reduces the sedative effect of alcohol. This prevents people from getting tired and makes it easier to drink for longer periods of time. The sedative effect of alcohol can be beneficial when it helps someone cut back on how much they are drinking. There is also evidence that by combining caffeine with alcohol there is an increase in dopamine levels, which makes it even more enjoyable and more addicting.

The combination of caffeine and alcohol can be lethal because the caffeine can cause people to feel more sober than they are. A study done on 26 young people consuming an energy drink and vodka showed that they reported feeling less headache, dry mouth, and impairment after this drink than they did after drinking alcohol alone. One study done on the effect that this combination has on automobile driving showed that caffeine may increase alertness and improve reaction time after alcohol use but will not completely counteract alcohol impairment in a driver. In November 2010, the FDA issued warning letters to four makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. In the letter, they stated that "the FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is 'generally recognized as safe,' which is the legal standard .To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern." This letter did get products removed from the shelves, but it did not stop the combining of caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 3/31/2014
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