You can read about this study in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research.
The researchers studied the reactions and behaviour of 26 men during three drinking sessions. The men were given either:
1. An alcoholic drink (without Red Bull)
2. Red bull (without an alcoholic drink)
3. Red Bull mixed with alcohol.
The men who had the Red Bull with alcohol said they felt less impaired than when they drank alcohol without Red Bull. But tests proved this 'feeling' was an illusion.
According to team leader, Professor Maria Lucia Souza-Formigoni, the men experienced a feeling of pleasure and heightened alertness (less sleepy) when taking Red Bull with alcohol. They reported fewer headaches, less weakness, their mouths did not feel so dry. They also said they experienced fewer problems with motor coordination.
However, the team noticed that the men's perceptions were completely unrelated to their abilities after objective tests were carried out.
Prof. Souza-Formigoni said "In Brazil, as in other countries, people believe that Red Bull and other energy drinks avoid the sleepiness caused by alcoholic beverages and increase their capacity to dance all night. Many nightclubs offer this mix among their cocktails."
The team noticed that the men (on Red Bull plus alcohol) did not have fewer of the negative effects of alcohol on coordination or visual reaction times. They concluded that the men were more drunk than they thought they were.
This could be dangerous as the consumer of Red Bull plus alcohol may feel he/she is able to undertake such tasks as driving a car or handling heavy machinery.
A spokesperson for Red Bull stressed that the danger was not with the consumption of Red Bull alone, but rather with the consumption of alcohol.
Red Bull Contains:
- B-Group Vitamins
- Acesulfame K (in the sugar-free version)
- Aspartma/Sucralose (in the sugar-free version)