This mixture is a no-no

2011-11-26 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Mixing alcohol and energy drinks is not a good idea. These cocktails can leave tipplers in a half-awake, half-drunken state.

This warning comes from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (Adsa).

Adsa president Berna Harmse said people who mix the two types of drinks underestimate their level of intoxication.

They can find themselves in a condition that is known as “wide awake and drunk”, during which they think they are sober, but are not.

The condition is caused by the high caffeine levels of energy drinks, which make one feel awake.

People believe that caffeine cancels out the effects of alcohol, but that is not the case, Harmse explained.

People can feel awake, but the effect of the drink is still just as strong. This can lead them to drink more. They then become vulnerable to being sexually assaulted or driving while they are drunk.

According to Harmse, energy drinks (which are not the same as reputable sports drinks) are stimulants, while alcohol is a depressant.

The two together are not good for the heart.

Irene Labuschagne, a dietician with the Nutrition Information Centre of the University of Stellenbosch, said that mixing caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration. If someone is sensitive to caffeine the effect can be even greater and can cause anxiety.

The gas in energy drinks also accelerates the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Many people have another energy drink the next morning to pep them up, but this can lead to further dehydration.

Some energy drinks contain ingredients that can further stimulate one, as well as a lot of B vitamins.

Taking a large number of B vitamins all at one time is not necessarily a good thing and puts pressure on the person’s kidneys, Labuschagne explained.

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