Mixing Alcohol and Diet Drinks Leads to Higher Breath Alcohol Concentration

Mixing alcohol and diet soda can lead to increased breath alcohol concentration, suggests a new study.

Researchers found people who drank vodka mixed with diet soda had higher breath alcohol levels, compared with those who drank vodka mixed with regular soda, according to Reuters.

The findings appear in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The study included 10 men and 10 men ages 21 to 30. They drank five different mixed beverage combinations over five sessions. The drinks contained varying amounts of vodka, and either diet or regular soda. The researchers then measured alcohol levels in participants’ breath for three hours.

When participants consumed drinks that contained diet soda and a low amount of alcohol, their breath alcohol levels were about 22 percent higher than when they drank low amounts of alcohol and regular soda. When they consumed drinks with diet soda and larger amounts of alcohol, their breath alcohol concentration was about 25 percent higher than when they consumed drinks made with regular soda.

The researchers said they found no differences in the results by gender. They note the findings may be especially important for young women, who are more likely to use diet beverages in their mixed drinks.

Dr. Chris Rayner, a gastroenterologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, found in a previous study that alcohol left the stomach and entered the bloodstream more quickly when people use diet drinks in their mixed beverages, compared with regular soda. He said sugar slows the entry of alcohol into the small intestine, where it is absorbed by the body.

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    December 3, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    This is akin to drinking on an empty stomach. The maximum blood alcohol level in the drink does not change, it just gets into the bloodstream faster.

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