By Kirk Hemans
A medical study found weekly or daily energy drink consumption
is strongly associated with alcohol dependency.
Some might be JOLT-ed and say this is a bold statement for a
university medical research team to make. They might even say the
study is full of Red Bull. But people should sit down and read the
entire study before they let their MONSTER-sized opinions take
It is a gateway fallacy that energy drinks lead to a higher risk
of alcohol dependency, the mixture of both beverages might.
The study was completed by the University of Maryland School of
Public Health, and its research was founded on previous studies
showing the effects that energy drink consumption has on those who
regularly consume alcohol.
One such study conducted by the Federal University of Sao Paulo
in Brazil, observed that energy drinks can reduce the feeling of
The study observed that the perception of drunkenness was
significantly reduced in those who consumed alcoholic beverages
mixed with energy drinks than in those who only ingested
The Maryland study said this effect could lead one to drink more
A study by Dennis Thombs validated that assumption. In it, he
observed higher blood alcohol concentrations in drinkers who
consumed alcoholic beverages mixed with energy drinks as compared
to those who only drank alcohol.
The Maryland study interviewed over a thousand college students
from one university to investigate the effects that consumption of
energy drinks has on alcohol dependency.
Based on these interviews, the researchers found those who
consumed energy drinks were “at increased risk for alcohol
The study clearly highlighted the dangers associated with the
combination of alcohol and energy drinks, and it drew associations
between the two beverages, but I feel this study opens the door for
In the study’s discussion, the researchers said parents should
view frequent energy drink consumption as a “red flag” for heavy
drinking in their college-aged children.
This is similiar to saying, parents should regard frequent trips
to Vegas as a red flag for gambling problems, or frequent trips to
fast food restaurants as a red flag for obesity.
People go to Vegas without gambling and many people are able to
eat at fast food restaurants and maintain their fit figures.
This brings the age-old question to mind, which came first, the
chicken or the egg?
Which comes first, the alcohol dependency or the energy drinks
consumption? The study recognizes that college students who
consume heavy amounts of alcohol may depend on energy drinks to get
them through the day.
Though there is a relationship between the two beverages, to say
the consumption of one leads to the dependency of another is
The Maryland study recognizes its limitations and states that
further studies should be completed on the risks of mixing energy
drinks with alcohol.
Though energy drinks, when consumed in combination with
alcoholic beverages can lead to alcohol dependency, it does not
mean people who drink energy drinks are going to become
Do seek help if you rely on either one of them to get you
through the day.
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