Jägerbombs – How many is too many?

Ah, Jägerbombs – the best way to start a good night out, and often the sure-fire way to end that same night out throwing up into a sink. For many of us, these intoxicating bundles of joy have become the main event of the alcoholic line up we consume at bars and clubs. Some Nottingham venues have embraced the trend and started to add ‘Jäger Pints’ to their menus – a classy cocktail consisting of 5 Jäger shots poured into a pint glass filled with Red Bull. These high caffeine, high sugar, alcoholic bombers are a triple win, right? Maybe not.

Recently, reports broke out about Jayde Dinsdale, an 18 year old girl who had 3 cardiac arrests after having 10 Jägerbombs over the course of a night. She was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma after being saved from death by her father who happened to know CPR. Despite all this, she claimed that she didn’t even feel that drunk.

Jägerbombs have a strange effect on the central nervous system.

The energy drink is a stimulant which masks the depressing effect of the alcohol, making it hard to tell how drunk you are actually getting. This makes excess drinking all the more likely, and when you’re taking in excess levels of sugar and caffeine, the consequences can be dangerous. But how much sugar and caffeine is actually in these drinks?

Let’s start with the sugar content. A standard Jägerbomb consists of one 25ml shot of Jägermeister mixed into half a can of Red Bull, although many bars substitute the Red Bull for a cheaper alternative. Half a can of Red Bull contains 14g of sugar, and a shot of Jäger contains 11g. This means that for every Jägerbomb you drink you’re taking in 25g of sugar – 2 grams more than a standard milk chocolate bar.

The sugar found in fizzy drinks such as Red Bull is classed as added sugar. The maximum amount of added sugars you should consume within a day, according to the both American Heart Association (AHA) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), is 37.5g (9 teaspoons) for men and 25g (6 teaspoons) for women.

For women, every J-bomb you drink is the same as taking in your full daily maximum of added sugar in one gulp, and for men just two J-bombs is enough to take you to your daily maximum and beyond.

This means that when Jayde Dinsdale drank 10 Jägerbombs, she would have taken in 1000% of her daily maximum (63 teaspoons of sugar!) in one evening. This 250g dose would be the same weight in grams as a fully grown adult stoat burrowing its way through her bloodstream.

Next, let’s have a look at the caffeine content. A can of Red Bull contains 82mg of caffeine, so one Jägerbomb will typically contain 41mg. This is just over 10% of the recommended daily caffeine intake (400mg) which Red Bull officially advertises; however, many people’s caffeine tolerance is lower than this, as it varies depending on your age, body size and mental health.

If an average person were to exceed this 400mg limit and knock back 10 or more Jägerbombs in a night, they would be prone to insomnia, anxiety, muscle tremors and heart palpitations amongst other nasty side effects from the caffeine. The heart rate would also be elevated; however this would initially be masked by the alcohol, and would only reveal itself the following day.

But Jägerbombs aren’t the only high caffeine culprits. Vodka Red Bulls and anything served with a mixer such as Coca-cola will also contain high levels; so going over the limit in the course of a night may not be as hard as it sounds. As for sugar, there are high levels in various other popular bar drinks, including many cocktails, ciders, and anything served with coke or lemonade.

Finally, let’s look at ‘Jäger pints’. How much caffeine and sugar is in one of those bad boys? Too much would be the short answer.

With a grand total of 145mg of caffeine and 104g of sugar, one Jäger pint is the equivalent of a pint glass of coffee with 26 sugar cubes thrown in.

More sugar than you’d get from eating 3 whole Mars bars in one go.

Ingesting high levels of these substances on their own would provide individual risks, but when combined, excessive consumption of caffeine, sugar and alcohol can lead to rapid or irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, sleep trouble, weight gain, vomiting – and even sudden death.

So next time you’re at a bar and you see an offer on two-for-one Jäger pints, maybe think twice before potentially landing yourself in A&E for the night. The amount you choose to drink is up to you, but, like with many things in life, the key is moderation.

Matty Geeleher

Image courtesy of Darren Cox via Flickr

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