Sara Bellum
August 26 2011

You may remember that a while back, SBB addressed an unhealthy new fad—energy drinks. We speculated that these drinks, although highly publicized in the coolest venues, were not safe even though they promised to deliver an extra dose of energy. Now, SBB confronts an even more dangerous issue: alcoholic energy drinks, like Four LOKO.

Double Trouble?

Why are alcoholic energy drinks so dangerous? They contain two main substances: alcohol and caffeine, the first a depressant and the second a stimulant. These two substances should never be consumed in large quantities and they should definitely never be mixed. Why? Because they have opposite effects on your body that can fool you into drinking more than you can handle.

Depressants like alcohol slow down the central nervous system. Drinking a lot of alcohol can affect your coordination and perception, and even make you pass out. Stimulants, meanwhile ,“wake up” the central nervous system and increase energy and alertness.

Opposites Do Not Attract

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the caffeine in alcoholic energy drinks masks alcohol's effects on the body, which motivates people to drink more. Worse, the average beer has 4 to 5 percent alcohol, while an alcoholic energy drink is 12 percent alcohol! So, people can get really drunk without realizing it, making them more vulnerable to overdose, alcohol poisoning, and even death.

In the past few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pulled alcoholic energy drinks like Four LOKO off store shelves, banning them in many states. Better to keep it natural: Go for a run or do some yoga to feel good.

-->