Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Four Lokos Bad For You?



Short answer

Four Loko is a sugary, alcoholic beverage with no nutritional value. Even though the caffeine considered toxic by the FDA has been removed, Four Loko will still leave you with a wicked hangover at the very least.



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Long answer

Four Loko is a popular malt beverage offered in a variety of fruit flavors. The original Four Loko formulation was sold as an alcoholic energy drink, and by 2008 had gained popularity across the United States on college campuses. After its consumption led to several highly-publicized hospitalizations and deaths, the FDA released a statement late in 2010 citing caffeine in alcoholic beverages as a "public heath concern" and mandated the product be changed. Subsequently, all caffeine was removed from the drink. Even though the FDA doesn't consider the new Four Loko formula to be unsafe for human consumption, it still isn't good for you. Four Lokos contain between 6% and 14% alcohol by volume depending on the maximum allowed by local regulatory authorities. This alone indicates that Four Loko is a beverage exclusively aimed at helping consumers get as drunk as possible, which definitely isn't healthy. 

Furthermore, the high sugar content of Four Loko is also cause for concern. In addition to contributing to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, the sugar in Four Loko will exacerbate any hangover. Because alcohol is already very high in sugar, consuming alcoholic beverages with sugar added puts additional strain on the body. The other ingredients in Four Loko are Red 40, natural and artificial flavors, and carbonated water.  Red 40 is a petroleum or coal by-product and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. It is also believed by the Department of Health and Human Services to be carcinogenic to humans and contribute to cancer development. 

Drinking in excess is never safe, but indulging in even one Four Loko is a bad idea.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spike
  • impaired judgement
  • alcohol poinsoning

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Leah Bolton
Published on: 02-07-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Leah Bolton
Published on: 02-07-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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