Diet Mixers Get You Drunk Faster

By Jamie Condliffe on at

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 a regular soft drink instead. Among participants, those drinking diet soda had peak breath alcohol concentration 18 per cent higher than those on the full-fat stuff.

The participants were given 1.96ml of vodka per kg of body weight — which for a 64kg person is about 125ml 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 drinks gets you more drunk.

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 recognises full-sugar drinks 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