Why You Should Never Mix Coffee And Alcohol

If you're a young adult who loves the feeling that you get from combining coffee or other caffeinated beverages with alcohol, you're part of a sizable group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017, 31% of adults aged 19-28 reported consuming an energy drink with alcohol 1 or more times that year. As the experts at the CDC remind us, energy drinks — like coffee — usually contain caffeine. However, combining coffee or other caffeinated beverages with alcohol is not the best idea.

According to Healthline, when you combine the 2, you will maintain a more energized feeling than you would if you were only drinking alcohol. This is because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. As a result, 1 of the biggest risks you run when you combine the 2 is drinking too much alcohol, as caffeine masks alcohol's effects. This can put you at risk of driving under the influence, injury, or worse.

However, there are plenty of other reasons why you should limit how often you mix caffeine with alcohol.

How mixing coffee and alcohol puts your health at risk

Given that caffeine and alcohol have very different effects on the body, mixing the 2 is not great for your heart. Because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a sedative, you may find that your heart flutters when you combine the 2. Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix tells Livestrong that mixing coffee and alcohol can be potentially dangerous, especially if you have a heart condition.

Because mixing caffeine and alcohol may encourage you to drink too much alcohol, it can also lead to high blood pressure. This is because consuming a lot of alcohol can increase a hormone called renin to an extent that it can constrict your blood vessels and lead to fluid retention. Taub-Dix also cautions against combining caffeine and alcohol because they can exacerbate anxiety and depression. For example, when combined with alcohol, excess caffeine intake can cause sleep problems, which can lead to repercussions the following day and beyond. Dietitian and personal trainer Nicole Rodriguez tells Livestrong that consuming too many drinks with caffeine and alcohol can also lead to dehydration and do a number on your gastrointestinal tract.

Bottom line: Go ahead and treat yourself to a delicious espresso martini every once in a while. Just make sure it doesn't become a habit.