On Thanksgiving I had my brother-in-law bring up the alcohol and caffeine drink that is all over the news: Four Loko. Apparently he got a can given to him by a co-worker of his. To my surprise he was afraid to drink it. This was partly due to the combination of the stimulant caffeine, and a depressant alcohol. He also mentioned that it cost only $2.50 for a 24 oz. can, the alcohol was probably one step up from rubbing alcohol.
My take on this combination is simple: these two ingredients are a bad combination. First of all caffeine is a stimulant that has been linked to high blood pressure, tachycardia (fast heart rate), urinary frequency and of course sleep issues. Now combine that with alcohol, which depresses reaction times, is an intoxicant, raises blood pressure amongst a slew of other things and can be the cause of many a stupid stunt. Many people would think, “hey, these will cancel each other out and thus party harty.” Not true. The two actually can impair you more than either alone.
In the above-named drink, the caffeine content is about 260mg, coffee about 100mg, and a Red Bull around 80mg. The same above-named drink also has 12% alcohol by volume. That’s equal to a bottle of wine. Now imagine drinking down an entire bottle of wine followed by and espresso or two. You will have a spike in your blood pressure, racing heart and a lack of coordination. Good luck sleeping that one off especially if you had to “break your seal.”
Many people drink combinations of alcohol and caffeine, often as Red Bull and vodka as the infamous jagerbomb (jagermeister and Red Bull). But these mixed drinks at least have both a lower caffeine level as well as alcohol content. However I still don’t get the jagerbomb thing. I mean separately they both have a nasty taste, I can’t imagine them mixed together.
The FDA has sent a warning letter to the makers of the pre-packaged combos to stop mixing the two together. Some states have outright banned them. I think that people who drink this concoction are in for a rude awakening. The caffeine will pep them up only so long before they know it they end up legally intoxicated and dangerously impaired. If you want to have a night out, stick to a few drinks and save the coffee for the potential rough morning ahead.