Diet Soft Drinks + Alcohol = Whoa, Nelly!

A study finds that diet drinks could help determine whether a person blows above or below the legal limit on a breath test.


Substituting Diet Coca-Cola for regular to pair with rum for that classic cocktail? It could make you drunker. The sugar in regular sodas slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream.

An NPR blog on eating and health highlights a study set to be published in the April issue of the journal "Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental.

"Alcohol, consumed with a diet mixer, results in higher (BrAC) Breath Alcohol Concentrations as compared to the same amount of alcohol consumed with a sugar-sweetened mixer," the blog quotes Cecile Marczinski, a cognitive psychologist and the study's author, as saying.

The main takeaway? Diet soda could factor into whether you blow above or below the legal limit on a breath test. A previous and similar study showed the average BrAC was .091 at its peak when subjects drank alcohol mixed with a diet drink. By comparison, BrAC was .077 when the same subjects consumed the same amount of alcohol but with a sugary soda — and 18 percent difference. Click here to read more. 

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