Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Loko

This week, Newsweek posted an article on high-alcohol, high-caffeine drinks like Joose and Four Loko.

photo credit: Newsweek
Nicknamed "blackout in a can," these fruit-flavored drinks in the tall 23.5 oz. cans contain as much alcohol as five to six cans of beer, and as much caffeine as four to five cans of cola.

The result? A quick, cheap, wide-awake intoxication that keeps users from realizing how drunk they are and overrides the body's natural inclination to sleep it off.

The punch-packing combination of a high dose of caffeine with several drinks' worth of alcohol in a fruity, kid-friendly package has huge implications for users' physical health and their decision-making ability.

The article quotes an emergency room physician who says he's seen "an increase in drunken kids 'coming in saying their hearts are pounding out of their chests.' To date, he adds, 'everyone I’ve seen drinking this stuff has been under 21.'” The article also cites studies finding users to be more likely to engage in "risky behavior, like drunk driving and sexual assaults.”

The drinks have been banned in several states, and others are pressing for similar actions.

Four Loko's manufacturer announced yesterday they would be removing caffeine (as well as energy-boosters guarana and taurine) from the recipe in an attempt "to navigate a difficult and politically-charged regulatory environment."

The company's statement goes on to compare their product to other caffeine/alcohol combinations, such as Irish coffee or rum & cola, which seems a little like comparing a chihuahua to a Great Dane. Are they similar? Sure. But way different impact.

Today, the FDA is expected to declare these beverages unsafe.

College Humor posted this satirical Four Loko commercial:



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