As recently as 2010, the FDA warned beverage producers that their caffeinated and alcoholic beverages were “unsafe.” An extraordinary number of reports that college students were getting blacked out drunk and suffering serious alcohol poisoning as a result of consuming them led to the government admonition. It’s a hazardous mix, according to the FDA and health experts; the beverages amplify individuals while diluting their sensation of drunkenness, leading to more drinking and riskier conduct.
New studies, however, suggest that drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages may put your health at jeopardy.
Non-alcoholic energy drinks have been linked to an increased risk of driving intoxicated in a study that followed 1,000 college students for six years. This conclusion is in line with previous research linking risky behaviours to alcoholic energy drinks. However, the study published Tuesday in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research is the first to separate the negative effects of alcohol from those of energy drinks alone.
According to the study’s authors, “[The] results shed light on the complicated link between energy drink use habits and an important public health problem: drunk driving,” they said.
It’s not yet apparent how a non-alcoholic beverage is linked to an increased risk of drunk driving, according to the survey results. Energy drinks may help people become “wide-awake drunk,” which might lead to greater drinking and unsafe behaviour like drunk driving, according to the study. Alternatively, it’s plausible that the students were nursing hangovers by downing energy drinks. When it comes to focused drunk driving prevention initiatives, energy drink intake might still be a relevant warning.
Additionally, the authors speculate that the results might be explained by psychological variables, such as the fact that persons who take energy drinks are more likely to admit to driving under the influence of alcohol. It is common for energy drink advertisements and marketing efforts to focus on people who are shown as having a “proudly carefree and unafraid attitude of ‘live for the now,'” writers noted. People who identify with a prototype like this may be more likely to engage in drunk driving, since they tend to discount the possibility of injury. Another possibility is that “the target-market for [energy drink] goods could be overrepresented among the readiness to admit to or even embrace a stigmatised conduct (i.e. drunk driving).”
Those aspects need to be studied further, according to academics.
Other potentially aggravating aspects were taken into account by the researchers in their study: family history of alcohol consumption; hazardous conduct; depression; and the usage of caffeinated beverages like coffee. For six years, the 1,000 students were subjected to yearly questionnaires probing their consumption of alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, and the frequency with which they were arrested for drunk driving.
When majority of the students were in their early twenties, they reported drinking at least once in the preceding year, driving under the influence of alcohol at least once, and using at least one energy drink. One in five people admitted to drinking energy drinks alone and combined with alcohol; another 15 percent admitted to solely consuming the drinks in this manner; and the last 27% admitted to drinking the beverages alone while also drinking alcohol.
Drunk driving reports were shown to be substantially associated with higher use of energy drinks, both with and without alcohol, as well as with higher and more frequent alcohol usage, according to the study’s findings.