Can Mixing Alcohol And Coffee Be Bad For You
You might have seen that La Colombe recently teamed up with MillerCoors to develop a Hard Cold Brew Coffee, while Café Agave has released an even harder (more alcohol), Spiked Cold Brew line. This bodes the question...is mixing caffeine and alcohol a bad idea?
You may recall Four Loko, the alcoholic energy drink linked to hospitalizations and even deaths, especially among college students; in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Phusion Projects, LLC, manufacturer of Four Loko, and similar companies to remove caffeine from their drinks or risk seizure of their products. Ultimately, what you're doing in all of these cases is mixing and "upper" with a "downer."
Alcohol depresses your nervous system, but caffeine stimulates it, making you feel more alert and allowing you to bypass the lethargy and other responses your body naturally has to booze.
“I would never recommend mixing caffeine or alcohol,” Alexa Mieses, a family physician and an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, tells Mic. “Just because a product is new doesn’t mean it’s safer.”
Alcohol depresses your nervous system, but caffeine stimulates it, making you feel more alert and allowing you to bypass the lethargy and other responses your body naturally has to alcohol, Mieses explains. In other words, the caffeine makes you feel less drunk — even when that's not the case, since caffeine doesn’t change the way your body metabolizes alcohol. Normally, you’d gauge how much more alcohol your body can handle based on how drunk you feel, but “now that feeling is dampened, and you’re increasing the risk of binge drinking,” Mieses says.
And again, since caffeine doesn’t change how drunk you are, consuming it with alcohol will still result in lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment, making you more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Best-case scenario if you add caffeine to the mix, you’ll just end up with a godawful hangover, and worst-case scenario, you’ll land in the ER, get alcohol poisoning, get a DUI, and/or harm someone else, Sparks says. Caffeine and alcohol may seem like the ultimate power duo, but it isn’t worth the slew of risks.