Those sugary alcoholic beverages all the rage right now can be a pitfall among teens, according to new research.
As beachgoers and partiers rage on with spiked seltzers, teas, and other tasty adult beverages, a new study from the University of Guelph finds that these sweetened drinks can be harmful by way of increased alcohol consumption.
The study, published in the journal Alcohol, cautioned that sweetened drinks can promote increased consumption of other drinks that aren’t so sweet, with researchers even coining the sugary drinks as “a gateway” drug to other alcohol.
“The more sweetened drinks that an adolescent drinks, the more likely they are to drink alcohol that is not sweetened,” said University of Guelph psychology professor Francesco Leri in a statement.
Leri — along with Samantha Ayoub and psychology professor Linda Parker — used rats to test the different levels of consumption. What they noticed is that most rats didn’t voluntarily drink alcohol by itself, but when HFCS — or corn syrup — there was a massive spike.
The researchers noted that the rats would consume 10% alcohol and 25% corny syrup at the same rate it would take a human to down nearly five beers in a half-hour.
“Most people that don’t like the taste of alcohol in a drink will drink sweetened coolers. We think they get an introduction to alcohol via sweeteners,” Leri said.
“Because it’s sweet and tastes like pop doesn’t make it any safer than a straight can of beer or glass of wine. Alcohol is alcohol no matter what. Because alcohol is sweet, there’s a danger of over-drinking. It’s important to monitor the amount taken, especially when it’s mixed with other substances. It’s just another drug of addiction, that’s all it is.”