Mixing alcohol and coffee pros and cons

Impact Of Alcohol & Coffee on Mind & Body

The idea of mixing coffee and alcohol is not some new idea. For example, Irish coffee has been warming many a tummy in the US since the 1950s. But as long as drinks like these have been around there has always been the question about any health risks there might be. The reason for the concern is how good or bad is it to combine a stimulant, caffeine from the coffee, with a depressant, the alcohol.

Mixing Alcohol & Coffee

what happens to your body when you mix alcohol and coffee

Irish Coffee Seems Like a Pussycat

Irish coffee has been popular for years and when compared to the newer alcohol/caffeine fusion cocktails that are popular today, Irish coffee seems pretty harmless. It has never been known to put people in the hospital for alcohol poisoning or rapid heartbeats. However, things like Red Bull and vodka or other malt liquors combined with some sort of stimulant juice blends have.

One brand name (Four Loko) that combines 12% alcohol or the equivalent of four to six beers and the amount of caffeine found in one cup of coffee has been known to send many to the ER with alcohol poisoning after drinking several of these at parties. This beverage has the nickname “blackout in a can” and for a good reason. The levels of caffeine and alcohol combined make for risky situations that can escalate to hospitalization. The question here is, why does mixing the caffeine of coffee and alcohol have these adverse effects on the body and mind?

effect of alcohol and coffee on your brain

Tends to Be a Bad Combination for the Brain and the Body

The main reason why large amounts of alcohol and caffeine can be a bad combination is that they have opposite effects on your body’s central nervous system. Caffeine in good amounts can make you energetic and for some even a little manic. Alcohol, on the other hand, can make you sleepy. Now combine the two and put both of them in your system at the same time and what you end up doing is confusing your system and it can throw your nerve messages totally out of whack. This can often lead to poorer coordination and motor skills than just alcohol alone. It can also cause dizziness, trouble breathing and even cardiovascular issues. This combination can be even more dangerous if the person already has existing heart problems.

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When you drink too much alcohol it always seems to impair your judgment and behavior. However, when you add large amounts of caffeine to it, this seems to even impair your judgment and behavior even more. A study done showed that people who drink combinations of caffeine and alcohol actually seem to be even more likely to leave a bar extremely intoxicated than those who drank just ordinary alcoholic beverages.

affects of mixing alcohol and coffee

False Confidence

It seems that when you drink beverages with high concentrations of both caffeine and alcohol it gives you the false confidence that you are more coordinated and more alert, when the truth is, you are even more impaired than you think you are.

benefits of drinking alcohol and coffee

Any Pros for Drinking Coffee with Alcohol?

To be honest with you, the cons really do outweigh the pros in this battle. However, if you drink these types of beverages in moderation there can be a few benefits that come from them.

  • The alcohol in the beverage can actually increase digestion if you drink it after a meal. This is because alcohol in the beverage can help to break down the food you’ve eaten which makes it easier for the material to move through the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The alcohol in the beverage can also help you feel more relaxed.
  • The coffee in the beverage, of course, has a variety of benefits especially the fact that it’s extremely high in antioxidants and is thought to help fight or prevent some cancers.
  • Makes for great after dinner cocktails when entertaining as long as they are consumed in moderation.

Why Mixing Alcohol & Coffee is So Bad – Video


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Ref: The Effects of Alcohol on Your Body – Caffeine for Your Health — Too Good to Be True?

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee When You’re Drunk

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