Who doesn’t love a good party? Okay, not everyone but that’s still a lot of people! And what are parties without alcohol? You’d have to live under a rock to have never seen a bottle or heard of the drinks before.
It only gets more interesting when you think of everything you can do with alcoholic beverages. Mix them with anything and you’ll get something worth remembering.
Unsurprisingly, energy drinks are a popular choice for what to mix with alcohol. Red Bull especially. The question now is: should you?
Here’s a short answer, Red Bull doesn’t have any alcohol in it. And it shouldn’t have any, or be consumed with alcohol in general. Doing so is detrimental to your well-being.
But why is it detrimental? Read on, and I’ll tell you exactly why.
Red Bull Ingredients
This is what you can find at the back of Red Bull’s can:
- Carbonated water
- Citric acid
- Sodium bicarbonate
- Magnesium carbonate
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
- Calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine HCl
- Vitamin B12
- Natural Flavors
- Artificial Flavors
- Food Coloring
Red Bull has caffeine, sugar, taurine, and many vitamins to keep you energized. None of those or any of the other ingredients are possible sources of alcohol.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at Red Bull and everything that goes inside it, have a look at my Red Bull Caffeine and Ingredients article for a deep dive.
Caffeine in Red Bull
Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl.oz can.
Considering how other popular brands have a lot more, that’s tame.
NOS has 160mg. G Fuel Powder has anywhere between 140-150mg depending on the flavor. 3D and C4 Energy have 300mg per serving. Safe to say you could do a lot worse if caffeine is what you’re worried about.
But why is this important?
First off, caffeine is a stimulant. A stimulant is a type of drug that promotes alertness and pushes your body to work faster while you’re experiencing its effects.
This property makes caffeine great for staying awake in class or while burning the midnight oil. It also means caffeine is an irreplaceable part of any energy drink formula.
However, it’s not without its side effects. Caffeine is known for disrupting sleep schedules as it is for the help it can give, after all.
Here are the common side effects of caffeine:
- Bad mood (irritability)
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- Frequent urination
- Palpitation (fast heartbeat)
- Muscle tremors
And that doesn’t even cover what could happen if you get a caffeine overdose.
However, there’s an easy way to avoid all that: stick to the daily caffeine limit.
According to the FDA, the average adult can safely drink up to 400mg of caffeine. Going beyond that makes you more likely to experience the downsides listed above.
With that in mind, I think it’s safe to conclude that a single can of Red Bull (250ml) is far from enough to hurt you. On its own anyway.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is also a depressant. That means it’s a kind of drug that slows essential functions when you’re under its effects.
Popular answer: the best thing that you could have at any party.
Anyway, alcohol is an ingredient you can find in wines, beers, and other types of liquor. It comes from the dissolved sugars in foods exposed to fermented yeast.
In practice, this is why drunk people have slurred speech, slow reaction times, distorted perceptions about their surroundings, and poor balance.
Either way, it’s a substance that typically reduces one’s ability to think rationally and exercise proper judgment.
Just like caffeine, consuming too much alcohol can cause an overdose. This will amplify alcohol’s depressant effects further and cause symptoms like:
- Inability to feel pain
- Toxicity, accompanied by vomiting
In the worst-case scenarios, you could end up in a coma or even die from an alcohol overdose.
To avoid situations like this, the CDC advises consumers to limit their drinks to 1-2 a day. Although drinking isn’t inherently bad for one’s health, it’s still better to drink less than more to stay healthy.
Who Can Drink Red Bull?
Anyone over the age of 18 can drink Red Bull.
Why? It’s simple: caffeine content. That, and energy drinks like Red Bull also have a lot of chemicals that could be bad for you in addition to sugar.
As mentioned, Red Bull doesn’t have as much caffeine as other energy drinks. It contains 80mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl.oz serving, whereas the recommended daily limit for a minor is 100mg.
That looks fine, but the thing to remember here is that minors are more sensitive to caffeine than the average adult. That means they don’t need to drink 400mg to experience the side effects.
If anything, they need a lot less to feel the side effects. And since most minors are also students, the possible lack of sleep can be especially detrimental to their well-being.
How Much Red Bull Can You Have In A Day?
Every 8.4 fl.oz of Red Bull can contain 80mg of caffeine. And that’s a little too much given the size.
But if you prefer to consume a higher amount of caffeine per day, then feel free to do so. Just remember the 400mg caffeine baseline.
However, experts recommend drinking no more than one energy drink a day, and yes, that includes Red Bull. Caffeine isn’t the only ingredient in Red Bull that can cause worry. It also contains calories, sugar (artificial or natural, still, sugar is sugar), and sodium, that when taken too much can cause adverse effects to the body.
How Much Alcohol Can You Have A Day?
Experts recommend moderate alcohol consumption. And moderate means one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
Here’s the example of one drink per day:
- Beer: 12 fl.oz (355ml)
- Wine: 5 fl.oz (148ml)
- Distilled spirits: 1.5 fl.oz (44ml)
Overconsumption of alcohol can be associated with various health risks.
Is Red Bull Safe to Drink?
Yes, Red Bull is safe to drink.
Red Bull contains plenty of vitamins and other ingredients that can power you up, provide you with extra focus and alertness.
An 8.4 fl.oz of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, 110 calories, 28g of sugar, and 105mg of sodium.
Generally. a healthy adult can only consume 400mg of caffeine a day, 2,000 to 2,500 calories, 24-36g of sugar, and less than 2,300mg (one teaspoon of table salt) of sodium.
Experts recommend drinking energy drinks only once a day. So, as long as you do not exceed that number, consider Red Bull energy drink safe.
Effects of Mixing Energy Drinks and Alcohol
In reality, mixing alcohol with caffeine is known to create “wide-awake drunks”.
The depressant and stimulant effects of alcohol and caffeine respectively cancel each other out when mixed. That means the drinker is as intoxicated as they would be, but with all the energy to do whatever crosses their mind.
Why? Caffeine has nothing to do with how well your liver processes alcohol. Drinking caffeine with (or after) alcohol doesn’t reduce your blood alcohol levels or your breath concentration. So no, it won’t “sober you up” as some may believe.
Combining caffeine and alcohol also makes the consumer much less likely to notice the effects of alcohol. They might not even know they’re already drunk.
This tends to result in them drinking more than they otherwise would since they aren’t passing out from intoxication.
They could also end up engaging in more risky behaviors than they would normally. Examples of this include drunk driving, leaving the party with strangers, and binge drinking.
Alcohol-related injuries are also more common among people who mix energy drinks with liquor than those who don’t.
Which is Better: Red Bull or Alcohol?
Honestly, either. It depends on your preference and the situations you’re in. Both work better as long as taken in moderation.
As mentioned, you can never combine both Red Bull and alcohol in one drink if you still want to stay on the healthy side.
If you want to have another extra hour of energy and alertness then Red Bull can help you with that given its ingredients and other health supplements. Aside from being popular, Red Bull is also a go-to energy drink for those who want to stay fit, those who are working out, and even those with diabetes.
In addition, alcohol is another popular beverage worldwide. Parties, gatherings, lavish occasions, or even just a late-night dinner will never be complete without the presence of alcoholic beverages.
Almost everyone drinks, let’s admit that, so it’s okay to enjoy and drink alcohol but make sure to drink moderately and remember not to inflict any form of harm to anyone.
Does Red Bull Contain Alcohol?
Red Bull, for all intents and purposes, does not in any way contain alcohol or any amount of alcohol content, as it would have been legally required of them to state so on the can if it did.
Due to Red Bull often being used as a mixer for alcoholic beverages, it’s no wonder that there’s been an association between Red Bull and alcohol.
That being said, Red Bull, itself has never had any alcohol content present in the drink, as it’s nowhere stated on the back of the can nor any of its marketing material.
As such, we can be quite certain that Red Bull is indeed an alcohol-free beverage.
Alternatives to Red Bull
If you’re looking for something other than Red Bull, here are some notable energy drinks that might suit your palate, and rest assured, they don’t contain any alcohol in them either.
In summary, Red Bull doesn’t have alcohol in its formula. But even if that’s true, you really shouldn’t be mixing that or any other energy drink with any kind of liquor.
Doing that will make you more likely to end up in dangerous situations you could have otherwise avoided.
Red Bull is great for a lot of reasons, so it’s no surprise that it’s the go-to energy drink for many. It’s great for studying, gaming, and working through the night. But not for parties.
Similar to that, there’s nothing wrong with trying to find new ways to entertain your guests at a party or enjoy yourself as a guest. We all deserve to have fun after a long week (or month).
But the thing with being an adult is that it’s important to make responsible decisions even when having fun. Looking after your safety and being considerate of the well-being of others should always be the top priority when planning anything.
So, unfortunately, you’re going to have to find some other way to spice up your menu. It’s either Red Bull or alcohol. Never both.