Alcohol and coffee don’t mix

If you want to rein in the blow of all those margaritas you ingested at the annual holiday party, don’t look to coffee, suggests a recent study in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience.

Drinking coffee won’t sober you up, the researchers found by examining the effects of alcohol and caffeine in young adult mice.

In fact, caffeine can make things worse. Ingesting the stimulant may make it harder to realize you’re drunk, the researchers said.

“The myth about coffee’s sobering powers is particularly important to debunk because the co-use of caffeine and alcohol could actually lead to poor decisions with disastrous outcomes,” said co-author Thomas Gould of Temple University. “People who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”

When the mice were given both caffeine and alcohol, the mice were more relaxed than those who ingested only caffeine – but the stimulant didn’t reverse negative cognitive effects of alcohol, the study said.

Gould warned that drinks that mix caffeine and alcohol have serious risks.

The study is in the December issue of Behavioural Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

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