Alcohol Caffine Drinks – Health Warnings

Jenson Button crawled in fifth place at the Brazilian Grand prix to take the Formula 1 World Title for 2009.  The only remaining race in the F1 season is  the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – then the rounds of who sponsors who will begin once again.

New to sports sponsorship are the latest group of drinks companies who are lobbying for acceptance with their latest blends of alcohol and caffine stimulation drinks – one up on poor relation taurine based Red Bull these turbo pops are fast growing in popularity.

So how is this different than a rum and coke? Irish cofee? etc. Drinkers have been mixing alcohol with caffiene forever. Now it’s wrong because the industry is doing it for us?

The drinks, which are sold under names such as Joose, Four Loko and Liquid Charge, typically combine malt liquor, vodka or another alcoholic beverage with caffeine or other stimulants.

liquid charge alcohol caffine drink

In the US health-advocacy groups are urging government to closely regulate caffeinated alcoholic drinks, a small but fast-growing category popular among younger drinkers.

Proponents of tougher regulation are calling for everything from outright bans to warning labels stating that mixing caffeine and alcohol could carry health or safety risks.

A primary concern of the groups is that caffeine and other stimulants may mask feelings of drunkenness, which could lead users to act recklessly, such as driving while intoxicated.

Some thoughts about the health effect of these drinks

An excellent example of how researchers can twist around correlation to show whatever causation they set out to prove. I would suggest that the type of people who drink red bull and vodka, instead of something a little less party-ish, are the type of people who are more likely to do stupid things in general, and probably are out to get smashed regardless of how much caffeine the government does or doesn’t allow them to mix with their liquor. You may as well come out with a study that shows people who drink jack daniels are more likely to gt in bar fights than people who drink johnny walker – that must mean that common whiskey gets you drunker than a good scotch, right?

Even if we did put labels on these drinks, there’s still millions of helpless consumers out there mixing jack and coke. Surely a major public health campaign would have to happen. How about: if some actual hard science comes out about this, we just wait and see if it gets around without the government having to do anything, much like the common knowledge that alcohol makes you drunk?

The long half-life of caffeine makes it a less than genius decision to consume at 9 pm (which only increases alcohol’s effect on sleep quality), the notion that it can sober you up is less than genius, and the the plan to be awake enough to get drunk and be an idiot all night is also, yep, less than genius. But an idiot with a pencil can cause harm to himself and others if motivated/bored enough, not a reason to get rid of pencils. Caffeine can increase respitory rate as well, allowing me to smoke more cigarettes on the patio Saturday morning, shall we have an article on that?

Sounds like these drinks are pretty much the same as a rum and Coke.

A better use of regulatory oversight would be in monitoring products like Red Bull that are marketed to kids. High school students with a backpacks full of sugar-caffine charged beverages seems to me to be the greater health risk.

  1 comment for “Alcohol Caffine Drinks – Health Warnings

  1. joey
    November 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    In trying to go after the “alcopops” they swept a lot of things into the dustbin which don’t ad caffeine. Things like p.i.n.k. Kahlua, Godiva chocolate liquor, tea flavored alcohols… all of these things have flavor additives that can break down into caffeine.

    The study used to justify the FDA’s action didn’t even deal with caffeinate alcohol drinks! It only looked at non-alcoholic energy drinks mixed with cheap alcohol on college campuses. Moreover, it didn’t show that mixing an energy drink resulted in “high-risk” behavior… only that students who drink and have high-risk behavior tried mixing alcohol and energy drinks in the past month.

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