Report: Four Loko Still Has 'Extraordinary Intoxicating Effects'
HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - The manufacturer of Four Loko may have removed caffeine from the drink in advance of a Food and Drug Administration crackdown on caffeinated alcoholic beverages last fall, but a new report suggests that the canned cocktail may still have hyper-intoxicating effects -- regardless of the reformulation.
In an article for the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, Dr. Shepard Siegel of McMaster University in Canada said Four Loko -- and other similarly sweet alcoholic beverages -- may be particularly "effective intoxicants." The reason? They provide a novel flavor context for the alcohol.
Siegel claimed that flavor cues help the body prepare for the effects of alcohol on the system. But when that alcohol is masked by sweet flavors, drinkers' bodies cannot partake in what he dubs "anticipatory responding." That, in turn, leads them to experience the full response to the alcohol.
"You can have a similar experience where you might typically have a cocktail in the evening, but if you decide instead to drink the same amount in the afternoon, you could feel more intoxicated," he said in a phone interview Monday. "When you consume a drug in circumstances not previously associated with the drug, it can have a more profound effect."
The issue is particularly timely given Four Loko has just released a new flavor -- Blueberry Lemonade -- as part of its line of limited edition flavors. Siegel says that it could become more difficult for people to build up tolerances to the new flavors, which means the beverages could have what he calls "extraordinary intoxicating effects."
In the article, Siegel also acknowledged that Four Loko has an alcohol content of 12 percent, which could account for its intoxicating effects. "Based strictly on pharmacology," he wrote, "Four Loko should have about the same effect as a bottle of wine."
For its part, Phusion Projects, which manufactures the drink, dismissed the researcher's claims, saying that Four Loko is hardly the only drink of its kind and associating fruity flavors with alcohol is nothing new.
"There are many other malt beverages with flavors similar to our products on the market, as well as sweetened and fruit flavored vodkas and rums," a company spokesperson wrote in an email. "Like our peers in the industry, we introduce new flavors for the same reason clothing and car designers introduce new colors -- our consumers want and enjoy them."
Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>
RIVERDALE, Utah (AP) - A 39-year-old Utah woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her two young children in her car's trunk while she went inside a Wal-Mart store to shop. Riverdale police say witnesses heard the children ages 2 and 5 making noise and saw the car shaking, got the older child to pull the emergency latch and called 911.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Jack Stockton, the former owner of Jack and Dan's Bar and Grill, and father of Hall of Fame basketball player John Stockton, passed away Saturday at the age of 89. Hennessey Funeral Home will be handling the funeral arrangements.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - We've told you of counterfeit money being used to buy Girl Scout cookies, and movie money used at a gas station. Now a Spokane bank teller tells KHQ some counterfeiters are getting more advanced with their forgeries. "The first time it came to us as a local business who received two of them and they were just making a regular deposit," she said.>>
MANCHESTER, England - Manchester Police have released a new photo of the man suspected of killing 22 people in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert on Monday. In the photo released Saturday shows 22-year-old suspect Salman Abedi in a brown hat, jeans, glasses and a black Hollister vest. The background is blacked out.>>
POST FALLS, Idaho - Hometown Heroes. Every week, we highlight someone who works in public safety for all the good work they do. Tonight is a bit of a change from the typical Hometown Hero. It's the story of a little girl who suddenly became public enemy number one. Pat Eismann was patrolling the area in Post Falls when he noticed something a bit out of the ordinary. "I saw a little girl driving a power wheels jeep down the street," Officer Eismann said....>>
BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) - Authorities say a shooting spree that left eight people dead in Mississippi began with a call regarding a domestic dispute. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Sunday that three female victims and a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy were killed.>>