Don't let the headlines scare you -- the malt beverage Four Loko _can_ be consumed responsibly. Here's how to get your Four Loko fix without endangering your health.
: Don't drink unless you're of legal age. Drink responsibly, and never drink and drive.
Step 1: Know Four Loko's contents Know what's in the original Four Loko. Each 23.5-ounce can is 12 percent alcohol; equivalent to about 6 cans of beer. Four Loko also contains caffeine along with guarana and taurine -- 2 common active ingredients in energy drinks. A can of Four Loko has the potency of a 12 oz. cup of very strong coffee and contains 660 calories and 60 grams of sugar.
TIP: Four Loko's manufacturer announced it would stop delivering its caffeinated version of the drink beginning in December 2010.
Step 2: Pace yourself Don't feel pressured to consume the entire can. 23.5 ounces of a beverage containing alcohol and caffeine isn't wise to drink in one sitting. Show self-restraint and pace yourself.
Step 3: Eat up Like all alcoholic beverages, Four Loko shouldn't be consumed on an empty stomach. Eating high-carb or fatty foods can help slow down the absorption of alcohol in your system.
TIP: If munching on salty snacks like pretzels or chips makes you thirsty, quench your thirst with water -- not more Four Loko.
Step 4: Dilute it If you crave the fruity Four Loko taste but worry about its potency, try serving it on ice and diluting it with seltzer water, soda, or juice.
Step 5: Try a Four-mosa Try a Four-mosa. Mix equal parts orange juice and any Four Loko flavor in a small glass. Stir gently and add a lime wedge for garnish. Enjoy!
FACT: Four Loko launched in 2008 and gets its name from its 4 main ingredients: caffeine, taurine, guarana and alcohol.