The dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine have been apparent for quite a while, but now there’s some science behind it all to prove that mixing Red Bull with vodka is making you more susceptible to stupid behavior. The main risk behind mixing two of the most popular legal drugs on the market involves one masking how the other one is affecting you according to the study, leading to injury or stupidity.
The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in Canada reviewed a series of tests on the subject from between 1981 and 2016, finding that at least ten of the peer-reviewed studies show you’re more likely to get injured by mixing caffeine and alcohol than when you drink booze on its own. This has a definition according to Tonic:
“Usually when you’re drinking alcohol, you get tired and you go home,” Roermer said. “Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol, and engage in risky behavior and more hazardous drinking practices.” She described this as an “awake-drunk” state
If this all sounds familiar, you were paying attention in school or at least read about the Four Loko controversy around a decade ago. As The Atlantic points out, the trouble with Four Loko lies withthe “awake drunk” described above:
Though introduced into the marketplace in back in 2005, Four Loko gained notoriety in the fall of 2010 when it became popular among teenagers and on college campuses and led to reports of heightened binge drinking and dangerous consequences. Several states banned the drink as a result, and Phusion agreed to lower the level of caffeine in the drink.
So the next time you go to a bar and decide to judge your level of drunkenness based on how you feel, remember what you’re drinking and how much you’ve actually consumed. It could very well mean the difference between pretending you can fly off the bar’s balcony or just telling your friends you can fly before realizing you’re just drunk.