A massive handbag, face-swamping sunglasses and a can of sugar-free redbull have become the staple requirements of any young wannabe out on the town in recent years.

But as energy drinks have become increasingly popular, so too has mixing and drinking them with alcohol -- and that could be causing health problems, suggests a new study.


According to an Australian study that compared the outcomes of alcohol/energy drinks with alcohol-only drinks, those who drink the latter are more like to experience heart-related health problems.

"Alcohol-energy drink consumers were less likely to experience several psychological and physiological sedation side-effects, such as speech and walking difficulties, nausea, slurred speech, confusion, and exhaustion, when drinking alcohol/energy drinks compared to alcohol," said study author Amy Peacock from the University of Tasmania, in a statement.

"However, they also had a greater chance in alcohol/energy drink sessions of experiencing several side-effects related to over-stimulation, including heart palpitations, increased speech speed, sleeping difficulties, agitation and tremors, jolt and crash episodes, and irritability and tension."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Foods That Ward Off Heart Disease

    Eat yourself to a healthy heart with these cardiovascular-friendly foods.

  • Oats

    Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre that helps reduce cholesterol levels, especially LDL (bad cholesterol), which damage the heart.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables

    Green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, pak choy, radish leaves, lettuce are known to reduce the risk of heart disease as they are rich sources of folic acid, magnesium, calcium and potassium - the essential minerals for keeping the heart functioning properly. Studies have shown that one daily serving of green leafy vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease by 11%.

  • Tofu

    Soy is a healthy protein alternative to red meat, as it has a low saturated fat content, no cholesterol and even increases your HDL 'good' cholesterol, which is good news for your heart.

  • Tomato

    Regular consumption of tomatoes is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, as they contain a rich source of vitamin K, which help prevent hemorrhages.

  • Wholegrains

    Wholegrains contain high levels of vitamin E, iron, magnesium and a host of anti-oxidants, which are all beneficial to the heart as they help reduce blood pressure.

  • Apples

    Apples contain guercetin, a photochemical containing anti-inflammatory properties, vital for keeping blood clots at bay, which can lead to heart attacks.

  • Almonds

    Almonds, when eaten in moderation, are known to lower cholesterol levels as they contain monosaturate fats (the 'good' fats), as well as vitamin B17, vitamin E and minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.

  • Red Wine

    Red wine (when drank in moderation) can be good for the heart as it contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol, which helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots.

Energy drinks have grown in popularity since being linked with stars such as Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.

Peacock and her colleagues collected data from 403 Australians (159 males, 244 females), 18 to 35 years of age, who completed a 10- to 30-minute online survey between May and June 2011.

All participants had consumed alcohol/energy and alcohol-only drinks in the preceding six months, and retrospectively responded to questions regarding the occurrence of 17 physiological and 21 mood states as well as 26 risk behaviors in drinking sessions during the preceding six months when they had consumed alcohol/energy drinks versus alcohol only.

"The reported side-effects of energy drink/alcohol consumption are similar to those reported by consumers of caffeine," said Andrea Carr, associate lecturer in psychology at the University of Tasmania, in a statement.

Have You Tried The Heart Attack Burger?

"To avoid these, consumers of energy drinks alone or combined with alcohol should be aware of the caffeine content of their drinks and any additional caffeine that they may have consumed that will contribute to an exacerbation of these effects."

In addition, more than half of those surveyed reported exceeding the Australian national guidelines for alcohol intake.

"This finding raises serious concern regarding the general alcohol consumption habits of alcohol/energy drink consumers," said Peacock, in a statement.