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25th Nov 2023

The serious side effects of mixing alcohol with cola

Charlie Herbert

Vodka cola side effects

We all know that alcohol isn’t great for us health-wise and should be consumed in moderation. But some alcoholic drinks are a bit more dangerous than others.

This includes a drink that we’ve probably all had at last once in our lives: spirit and Coca-Cola, or any cola for that matter.

Mixing the spirit with the caffeinated drink is bad news. A standard 330ml can of full fat cola contains around 34 milligrams of caffeine, with diet cola containing a slightly higher 46mg of caffeine in a can.

This isn’t anything to worry about on its own. A shot of espresso contains around 63mg of caffeine, and up to 400mg of caffeine a day is generally considered to be a safe amount for most adults.

But when caffeinated drinks are mixed with alcohol, the health risks increase.

If you think about how many drinks you’re having in one night, that’s probably quite a lot of caffeine. But the more serious factor is that alcohol is a depressant, meaning that the spirit and cola in your drink are doing two completely opposite things to your mind and body.

This can mask just how drunk you actually are, and encourage you to drink more than you otherwise would.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US explains: “The caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise.

“As a result, they may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realise, increasing the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.”

Meanwhile, a study by the University of Manchester in 2007 found that bubbles can make you absorb alcohol faster.

Researchers from the Department of Postgraduate Medicine and Dentistry compared the alcohol absorption time of neat vodka, vodka mixed with water and vodka mixed with sparkling water.

They found that the alcohol mixed with either the still or sparkling water had a faster absorption rate for almost all of the participants – and that two thirds “absorbed the alcohol with the carbonated mixer at a faster rate” than the still.

And according to the Princeton University, the carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks increases the pressure in the stomach for some people, forcing alcohol out through the stomach lining into the bloodstream.

Related links:

Bartender slams customer who asked for ‘no ice’ to get more alcohol in his drink

The six signs you’re a borderline alcoholic and should cut back

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