Diet Mixers May Make You Drunker Faster

The sugar-free mixer on the left may be more dangerous.
The sugar-free mixer on the left may be more dangerous.
S. Bonar

You may get more drunk, and faster, if you mix alcohol with diet sodas rather than mixers containing sugar, according to a new study. And you would be about 20 percent more likely to blow a positive on a Breathalyzer test.

This could be particularly problematic for women, who are more inclined to use diet drinks as mixers in the first place, the Boston Globe reports.

The findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, show that just as food slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so too do beverages that contain calories.

However, somewhat alarmingly, the 16 study volunteers didn't feel any drunker after consuming the alcohol and diet soda compared with when they drank the alcohol and regular soda -- even though their breath alcohol levels were actually 20 percent higher.

While the study found diet drinks had the same effect in both men and women, the Northern Kentucky University researchers were particularly concerned about women, since they tend to be more likely to choose calorie-free mixers. Women also tend to wind up with higher blood alcohol levels than men, even when they drink and weigh the same amount, because their bodies have less water to dilute the alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

"I am really interested in drinking and driving as a problem, so I wanted to know if the simple choice of mixer could be the factor that puts a person above or below the legal limit," study author Cecile Marczinski said in a statement. "I also wanted to determine if any breath alcohol concentration difference would be something that subjects would notice, since this has implications for safe drinking practices, including decisions to drive."

If you don't want to switch to higher-calorie drink mixes, just sip that diet concoction slowly, and make sure it's out of your system before you get behind the wheel. Or hell, just eat some chips. Do you really want to be that skinny drunk girl?


Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, and follow Samantha Bonar at @samanthabonar.

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