Dennis L. Thombs, PhD, of the University of North Texas Health Science Center, found that bar patrons who drank alcohol with diet drinks left the bar more intoxicated than those who consumed full-calorie drinks. A study confirmed Thombs’ finding in a lab setting and was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & and Experimental Research. The study showed that drinking a low-calorie cocktail resulted in an 18 percent higher blood alcohol level.
Apparently, when you mix alcohol with regular soda, juice, or another mixer with sugar and calories, your body treats your drink more like food, and therefore, the drink stays in your stomach longer, and as a result, the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream more slowly. When you drink alcohol with a diet mixer, the drink flows through your digestive system faster, allowing your small intestine to release more alcohol into your bloodstream.
“Just as we’ve known for a long time that eating food with alcohol slows your body’s absorption of alcohol, sugary drinks also appear to keep alcohol in the stomach longer, which is a good thing,” Cecile A. Marczinski, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University, explains.
In the study, Marczinski gave participants with either vodka mixed with Squirt or diet Squirt. Researchers recorded the participants’ blood alcohol content and asked them to rate their level of intoxication, fatigue, impairment, and willingness to drive. Although the subjects had higher blood alcohol levels after drinking the diet drinks, they did not think they were more intoxicated.
“What we found was, when people consumed the same amount of alcohol with a diet drink instead of regular, their [blood alcohol levels] were 18 percent higher,” Marczinski said. “But I think probably nobody realizes that this is a concern, so awareness of this effect is the key thing.”
Marczinski’s safe drinking tip… Alternate between alcoholic drinks and something non-alcoholic to both limit calorie consumption and keep intoxication levels in check.
For the original article, including a video, view http://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/diet-drinks-plus-alcohol-make-you-drunker-6587.aspx.