Energy drink consumption linked to increased risk of alcoholism

Illustration for article titled Energy drink consumption linked to increased risk of alcoholism

With the recent ban on alcohol/caffeine combo drink Four Loko in five states, the war on booze-filled energy drinks continues, bolstered by new research showing that heavy consumers are more likely to become alcoholics.

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Research published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research surveyed more than 1,000 students at a public university about their alcohol and energy drink consumption over the past 12 months. Those who drank more than one energy drink a week were more likely to start drinking at an earlier age, drink more per session, and develop alcohol dependence.

Alternatively, they just might be doing CS degrees.

I hate to pull out this hoary chestnut, but correlation ≠ causation. I'd be curious to see if there was a similar link to other binging/over-indulgence related activities, like junk food eating, or high-intensity smoking. Perhaps people addicted to energy drinks were just more likely to have "addictive personalities."

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Until the news items regarding banning the drinks, I had never heard of - or seen - them. Just curious if there is a difference (other than taste) between drinking these and drinking Red Bull & Jager, or Red Bull & vodka? I guess my question is aren't these drinks just a way to market a pre-packaged versions of the various Red Bull & alcohol combinations?