Diet drinks increase alcohol intoxication
Mixing alcohol with diet soda may actually make people get drunk faster, according to a new study from Northern Kentucky University. Though researchers previously had not associated the "mixer" with the amount of alcohol in a person's system, it appears that artificially sweetened beverages do make a difference. When compared to those who had mixed alcohol with regular soft drinks in the study, those who used diet drinks had higher breath alcohol concentration levels.
The research was born out of a drunk driving test, where researchers served participants alcohol and a regular soft drink, alcohol and a diet soft drink and a placebo. They then self-reported ratings of subjective intoxication, fatigue, impairment, and willingness to drive. The study found that those who had alcohol with the diet drink led to higher breath alcohol concentrations.
The theory presented by the researchers is that sugar takes longer to break down, delaying the effects of the alcohol. With artificially sweetened drinks, however, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream much more quickly.