Energy drinks combined with alcohol were once available for purchase as a pre-mixed beverage, until 2010 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that the combination was unsafe. A new study by the Research Society on Alcoholism found that despite what the FDA determined, mixing highly-caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol is still a popular binge drinking practice.
The study investigated whether consuming high-caffeine energy drinks mixed with alcohol results in a greater desire to drink alcohol than alcohol alone. Researchers invited 26 adult social drinkers (13 males, 13 females) to attend six double-blind sessions that involved drinking alcohol and energy drinks, alone and in combination. After each session, the participants rated their desire for alcohol and their breath alcohol concentration was measured.
This study provides laboratory evidence that these kinds of mixed beverages lead to greater desire to drink alcohol versus the same amount of alcohol consumed alone. The findings are consistent with results from animal studies indicating that caffeine increases the rewarding and reinforcing properties of alcohol.
The study, “Desire to Drink Alcohol is Enhanced with High Caffeine Energy Drink Mixers,” was published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.