Diet Mixers Get You Drunker

By Valerie Tejeda 02/06/13

The dangers of mixing booze with diet soda could outweigh the caloric benefits.

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When mixing drinks, choosing caloric sodas over diet beverages is the safer route, new research finds. According to a study published in the journal Alcoholism, drinking liquor mixed with diet soda vs. regular soda results in a much higher blood alcohol content. "We are talking about significant differences here," says Cecile A. Marczinski, one of the lead investigators of the study, and assistant professor of psychological science at Northern Kentucky University. "Participants who drank diet soda with vodka had blood alcohol contents as high as 18% more than when sugar-containing mixers were used." Researchers believe drinks containing sugar stimulate the stomach like food, resulting in a less potent hit of alcohol to the system. Diet drinks, however, do not trigger the stomach to delay emptying—so alcohol reaches the bloodstream faster. Marczinski adds that the dangers of mixing booze with diet drinks could outweigh the caloric benefits: "In the long run, it's more harmful for your body to be exposed to a higher alcohol concentration than a few extra calories.”

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.