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Are energy drinks unique mixers in terms of their effects on alcohol consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences?

Johnson, Sean J; Alford, Chris; Stewart, Karina; Verster, Joris C


Joris C Verster


© 2018 Johnson et al. Introduction: Previous research has suggested that consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AMED) increases overall alcohol consumption. However, there is limited research examining whether energy drinks are unique in their effects when mixed with alcohol, when compared with alcohol mixed with other caffeinated mixers (AOCM). Therefore, the aim of this survey was to investigate alcohol consumption on AMED occasions, to that on other occasions when the same individuals consumed AOCM or alcohol only (AO). Methods: A UK-wide online student survey collected data on the frequency of alcohol consumption and quantity consumed, as well as the number of negative alcohol-related consequences reported on AO, AMED and AOCM occasions (N=250). Results: Within-subjects analysis revealed that there were no significant differences in the number of alcoholic drinks consumed on a standard and a heavy drinking session between AMED and AOCM drinking occasions. However, the number of standard mixers typically consumed was significantly lower on AMED occasions compared with AOCM occasions. In addition, when consuming AMED, students reported significantly fewer days consuming 5 or more alcohol drinks, fewer days mixing drinks, and fewer days being drunk, compared with when consuming AOCM. There were no significant differences in the number of reported negative alcohol-related consequences on AMED occasions to AOCM occasions. Of importance, alcohol consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences were significantly less on both AMED and AOCM occasions compared with AO occasions. Conclusion: The findings that heavy alcohol consumption occurs significantly less often on AMED occasions compared with AOCM occasions is in opposition to some earlier claims implying that greatest alcohol consumption occurs with AMED. The overall greatest alcohol consumption and associated negative consequences were clearly associated with AO occasions. Negative consequences for AMED and AOCM drinking occasions were similar, suggesting that energy drink was comparable with AOCM in this regard.


Johnson, S. J., Alford, C., Stewart, K., & Verster, J. C. (2018). Are energy drinks unique mixers in terms of their effects on alcohol consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences?. International Journal of General Medicine, 11(11), 15-23.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 8, 2017
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Journal International Journal of General Medicine
Electronic ISSN 1178-7074
Publisher Dove Medical Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 11
Pages 15-23
Keywords alcohol, energy drinks, caffeine, alcohol consumption, consequences
Public URL
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