Responsible Service of Alcohol Update: Is Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks a Problem?

There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks but is there any truth or even proof to these allegations?

Energy drinks have taken off on the market since 1997 and now we can find them everywhere from supermarkets to petrol stations. It is estimated that the market for energy drinks is around $9 billion American dollars each year (around $8.6 billion Australian dollars).

One of the risks associated with energy drinks especially for alcohol drinkers is that energy drinks contain an exceptionally large amount of caffeine. For this reason drinkers can stay awake longer and continue drinking even well beyond legal and safe limits, thereafter they begin to jeopardise their health and the present a risk to others if they become violent.

A standard cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine, a cup of tea 50 milligrams and a can of cola 35-55 milligrams. Energy drinks usually have more. A single serving of an energy drink can have anywhere from 50 to 500 milligrams of caffeine and the addition of Guarana (a South American plant extract that contains additional caffeine) ups the caffeine dose even more.

Caffeine is a stimulant and massive caffeine overdoses can cause reduced blood flow to the heart and abnormal heart rhythms, whereas alcohol is a relaxant and is meant to do the opposite of what caffeine does, this is dangerous for the body.

Also most energy drinks also contain sugar which the body uses to fuel work but can also mean extra calories which if not used will be stored and result in weight gain.

Every drink alcoholic or not, energy drinks or just sodas should be consumed in moderation. Anything consumed in excess is bad for human health and normally results in complications. The same goes for alcohol, it can be an excellent relaxer but consumed in excess it can present a very real danger to health and safety and when combined with energy drinks the consequences can be even worse.