Diet Mixers Get You Drunk Faster

Illustration for article titled Diet Mixers Get You Drunk Faster

You might think that if you're mixing a cocktail it's only the liquor you should worry about. But new research suggests that the type of mixer you use also plays a role in how the booze affects your body.


A new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows that drinking diet soda with liquor causes breath alcohol concentration to rise quicker than the exact same drink made with regular soda instead. Among participants, those drinking diet soda had peak breath alcohol concentration 18 percent higher than those on regular soda.

The participants were given 0.03 ounces of vodka per pound of body weight—which for a 140 pound person is about 4.2 ounces of vodka—mixed with either Squirt or Diet Squirt. Then, their breath alcohol concentration was tested over time. The results show the peak happened sooner, and was higher, for those suppin' diet mixers. The researchers also tested the participants' reaction times, using simple computer-based tests, and found that the diet soda drinkers' times were notably slower. So, diet soda gets you more drunk.

Illustration for article titled Diet Mixers Get You Drunk Faster

Admittedly it was a small study— just 8 men and 8 women—but the results, shown in the graph above, still seem significant. But why the hell does it happen? At the moment, researchers think that the body recognizes full-sugar soda as food, which slows down alcohol absorption. Diet soda gets no such special treatment, so the body lets the booze pass into your system much quicker. Use this information wisely. [Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research via Smithsonian]

Image by cyclonebill under Creative Commons license; graph from Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research


This is actually bugging me for three reasons: 1) small study, like extremely small which means statistically it's BS. 2.) Is there any discussion in here about controlling what the subjects ate throughout the day or how much they slept or how stressed they were? You know, actual experimental control. and 3) the presented theory that regular soda is recognized as food contradicts research that shows that diet beverages have the same effect on blood sugar as non diet beverages which means they should theoretically be processed by the body at about the same rate. This whole thing reads less like science and more like something crafted to generated a Wolf Blitzer special report (which is exactly what happened the other night).