PhotoIn the dog days of summer, it is important to stay hydrated. But what you drink is important. Replenishing your bodily fluids with water is best.

The American Heart Association notes that sources of water also include foods, such as fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may help with high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.

In hot weather, or after strenuous exercise, sugary drinks, alcohol, and energy drinks are not recommended.

The energy drinks now available for purchase no longer contain alcohol, but they were popular items before 2010. Even though these beverages are off the market, health officials worry that consumers are making their own, combining alcohol with the energy drinks that are currently available.

Reduce feeling of intoxication

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say this practice can lead to problems. They say energy drinks will reduce the feeling of intoxication, meaning people drinking the beverages are prone to drinking too much.

To test this theory, researchers for the Research Society on Alcoholism selected 26 adults to participate in six double-blind sessions that involved drinking alcohol and energy drinks, alone and in combinations.

Over the course of the study, the subjects received one of six possible combinations:

  • Vodka mixed with a decaffeinated soft drink
  • Vodka mixed into a medium energy drink
  • Vodka mixed into a large energy drink
  • A decaffeinated soft drink
  • A medium energy drink
  • A large energy drink.

The findings

After consuming the beverages, each participant was checked for the concentration of alcohol in their breath and their desire to consume more alcohol.

Those who just drank alcohol wanted more alcohol, which was expected. But those who drank the alcohol-energy drink combination expressed an even greater desire for more alcohol.

The study provides laboratory evidence that mixing alcohol with energy drinks could lead someone to consume more alcohol than they would ordinarily.

The Mayo doctors say that for most people, an occasional energy drink is fine, but consumers should avoid spiking it with alcohol.

The Heart Association suggests avoiding energy drinks or beverages with caffeine during hot weather or exercise, noting that caffeine acts as a diuretic and causes you to lose more fluids.  

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