Mixing alcohol with Diet Coke 'gets you drunk faster', research reveals

Mixing alcohol with Diet Coke 'gets you drunk faster', research reveals

While you'd assume that mixing spirits with a diet soft drink would be a healthier option, that appears not to be the case, according to US-based researchers.

Experts have now warned that mixing alcohol with artificially-sweetened drinks, such as Diet Coke, can actually get you intoxicated faster than sugary options. In fact, it may make you appear more drunk on a breathalyser test, per scientists from Northern Kentucky University.

The researchers breathalysed 20 men and women after drinking vodka mixed with lemonade or diet lemonade. They discovered that the amount of alcohol, while being the same in both instances, was actually up 25 per cent on a breathalyser reading with the low-calorie mixer.

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"Alcohol, consumed with a diet mixer, results in higher (BrAC) Breath Alcohol Concentrations as compared to the same amount of alcohol consumed with a sugar-sweetened mixer," said Cecile Marczinski, a cognitive psychologist who authored the study.

Dennis Thombs, a professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, also had similar findings. "It is not that diet soda accelerates intoxication," he explained. "Rather, the sugar in regular soda slows down the rate of alcohol absorption."

As Marczinski corroborated, it's believed that sugar slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream, similar to the way that food does.

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Other research, conducted by Thombs's scientists, revealed that just one diet drink mixer could be enough to take an individual over the drink-drive limit.

However, participants reported not feeling any more intoxicated than when drinking sugary soft drinks, and were prone to thinking they were fit enough to get behind the wheel. Researchers believe that this lack of awareness could lead people to unknowingly drink-drive.