Why diet mixers get you drunk FASTER: Artificial sweeteners increase how quickly alcohol gets into the blood stream
Alcohol readings up to 25% higher when drank with low-calorie mixer
Sugar in full-fat versions thought to slow alcohol getting into blood stream
Diet drinks have also been linked to putting people over drink-drive limit
Those tested did not feel more inebriated but had higher alcohol readings
Source: Daily Mail
By Fiona Macrae
24 November 2015
If you feel the worse for wear after a big night out, it might not just be booze that’s to blame.
Research shows that a person’s choice of mixer affects how quickly they get drunk, with diet soft drinks more intoxicating than the sugary versions.
While the finding may seem odd, the effect is big enough to take someone over the drink-drive limit.
The US researchers said the bar staff and revellers should be alerted to problem.
Women should be particularly aware because they are more likely to order a diet mixer to save on calories.
Twenty men and women were breathalysed after drinking vodka mixed with lemonade or with diet lemonade.
The amount of alcohol was the same in both cases but readings were up to 25 per cent higher with the low-calorie mixer.
It is thought that, like food, sugary drinks slow the passage of alcohol into the bloodstream.
In contrast, the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks do nothing to dull booze’s effect, the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence reports.
Previous research by the same team, at Northern Kentucky University, has that people who tend to opt for diet mixers have more problems at work and are more prone to blackouts.
Another of their studies found that opting for a diet, rather than sugary, mixer, could take someone over the drink-drive limit.
Despite this, those taking part in the experiment did not feel any more inebriated and were just as likely to think they were fit to get behind the wheel.
The researchers said that lack of awareness about the effect could lead to people unwittingly drink-driving.
They are particularly concerned about female drinkers.
Not only does their biology mean they get drunk faster than men but women are more likely to order diet mixers.
Study author Cecile Marczinski said: ‘While all alcohol consumers should be aware of this phenomenon, it appears more likely that women would select alcohol beverages with a diet mixer given that they are more likely to be conscious of calories in their drinks.
‘Young women may be particularly vulnerable as they frequently use diet mixers with alcohol and they also restrict food intake when drinking to control calorie consumption and, ultimately, body weight.’
Female drinkers also risk unplanned pregnancies and harming their unborn child.
Co-author Amy Stamates said that it is also a ‘real concern’ that alcohol may do more damage to the liver and rest of the body when diet mixers are used.
Overall, the harm done by diet mixers may outweigh the benefits of saving a few calories.
The researchers concluded: ‘Alcohol prevention materials should inform customers that the health harms associated with higher breath alcohol concentrations may outweigh the benefits of saving some calories with diet mixers.’