Girl, 15, Dies After Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

The tragic death of a 15-year-old Australian girl who mixed alcohol with energy drinks is being reported in the Daily Mail. The teenager allegedly found a recipe online that included a guarana stimulant, which contains about twice as much caffeine as coffee. Police, who seized alcohol and energy drinks containing guarana from her home, called the concoction “a toxic brew.”

In the U.S., energy drinks of all kinds have been under fire for several years, with probes into marketing and advertising practices of these beverages. While they’re promoted as fun, uplifting and just another way to quench your thirst while boosting your energy, the truth is that the concentrated caffeine can have devastating effects on your body, including heart arrhythmia that can lead to death.

Alcohol in itself comes with its own set of dangers, from damaging your DNA and causing systemic inflammation to causing increased stress on your heart — just like caffeine, only in a different way. So, it stands to reason that adding caffeine to alcohol is a tragedy waiting to happen. But before you opt for a sugary soda instead, it too comes with side effects, such as sleeplessness (from the caffeine) and metabolic disorders.

Sports drinks, which are hard to miss on store shelves because they usually come in neon-colored bottles, are also not a good choice. Although they have a vast popular appeal, most of them contain too much sugar and toxic ingredients like artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup to be considered a “health” drink.

The best advice I can give is to avoid soda, sports and energy drinks altogether and limit your alcohol consumption to a single drink, unadulterated by additives. If you’re at a party or other special occasion where alcohol is served, check ahead to see if pure clean water will also be available — which you can flavor with a lemon slice or other fruit — and sip on that.
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