Breaking News on Food, Beverage & Supplement Development - Asia PacificEU edition | US edition

Headlines > Policy


Study: Energy drinks increase the desire to drink longer and harder

Post a commentBy RJ Whitehead , 21-Jul-2014

Study: Energy drinks increase the desire to drink longer and harder

Australian academics have called for greater analysis of the potential harm caused by mixing energy drinks with alcohol after new research found the practice can turn a few quick drinks into a much longer session.

The new study, by researchers at Australian National University, identified that a combination of alcohol and energy drinks like Red Bull will often boost the desire to carry on drinking for longer than anticipated.

Increased risk of binge drinking

The study followed 75 participants aged between 18 and 30 years who were given either regular mixers or energy drinks with their liquor.

One group received a cocktail containing 60ml of vodka and a Red Bull Silver Edition energy drink, while the other received 60ml of vodka with soda water. Both cocktails also contained 200 ml of a fruit drink. 

They were also asked to fill in a questionnaire to ascertain their urge to continue drinking—one before the test and another 20 minutes after drinking. Other questionnaires were completed after the exercise.

A number of cross-sectional studies show that young adults who mix alcohol with energy drinks [A+EDs] have higher levels of alcohol consumption than their peers who don't mix energy drinks with alcohol, and some studies suggest that this practice increases the risk of binge drinking,” explained Dr Rebecca McKetin, who authored the paper.

If it is the case that energy drinks increase binge drinking, the popularity of A+EDs could exacerbate alcohol-related harm among young people, particularly harm related to intoxication, such as car accidents and injuries from fights or falls.”

Lawmakers have to ‘get serious’

The low quantities of alcohol involved in the tests were due to restraints placed on researchers by ethics committees, prompting the experts to warn the results could be much worse out of the lab in pubs and clubs.

Peter G Miller, associate professor of psychology at Deakin University, said the findings suggest the need for policymakers to “get serious about addressing this issue”.

"Along with other research released recently from Western Australia showing increased harm from nights when people consumed energy drinks, it is becoming more apparent about how associations between energy drink consumption and greater levels of intoxication and harm can be explained

The concerns of researchers regarding social order and public health appear to be warranted, despite industry lobbying to the contrary." 

Miller also noted the recent ban by Lithuania on the sale of energy drinks to anyone under 18 years of age.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Related products

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...