If you’re planning on a cocktail or two, make sure that you don’t combine alcohol with a diet soda.
New research has found that the mixture – often the preference of the weight conscious – is likely to boost the effect of the alcohol and increase your breath alcohol content (BrAC), a tip-off that you’ve had too much, whether you know it or not. Researchers at Northern Kentucky University compared the effects of drinking alcohol mixed with an artificially sweetened beverage to one mixed with a “regular” one sweetened with sugar. They recruited 16 students for the study. On different days, the students imbibed alcohol mixed either with a diet drink, a sugar-sweetened beverage or a placebo. Results showed that after drinking alcohol mixed with a diet soda, the volunteers BrAC level was 18 percent higher than when the mixer was a sugar-sweetened drink. The students reported they didn’t notice any difference in the effects of the two drinks.
However, the researchers explained that the body processes the two drinks differently: the stomach treats sugary drinks like food and breaks it down more slowly, holding the alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract during the digestion process. That doesn’t happen with artificial sweeteners - the alcohol is delivered more immediately into the bloodstream.