When you mix your liquor with diet soda instead of regular soda, you might not be doing your body such a favor. Though you may be sparing a few calories by doing so, drinking mixed alcohol and diet soda results in higher intoxication than drinking alcohol and regular soda according to a recent study.
Researchers at Northern Kentucky University asked eight female and eight male college students to be subjects for a study on the effects of alcohol. The subjects were tested in two separate sessions. In one session, they drank vodka with diet soda and in the other they drank the vodka with regular soda. The researchers found that drinking the vodka-diet soda mix resulted in the subjects becoming 20% more intoxicated than drinking the vodka with regular soda. The diet soda also resulted in quicker intoxication. When students were asked to report their feelings of intoxication, impairment, and willingness to drive, they reported similar levels for each session despite being more intoxicated during the diet soda session.
So why does diet soda have these harmful effects when mixed with alcohol? Put simply, sugar slows down the effects of alcohol on your body. When you drink a mix of alcohol and regular soda, your stomach takes time digesting the combination. The sugar in the soda causes your stomach to recognize the liquid as food and its digestion of this “food” delays the entrance of alcohol into the bloodstream. Diet soda mixed drinks, however, pass quickly through the stomach, letting alcohol enter the bloodstream more rapidly.
One important thing to take note of is that participants were unable to recognize that the vodka-diet soda mix made them more intoxicated than the regular soda mix. This means that people need to be even more conscious of how much they’ve drank (and what they’ve drank it with) so that they can avoid making poor decisions (i.e. driving). Next time you go out drinking, be sure to have a sober friend keep tabs on your drinking and let him or her decide whether or not you’re capable of driving.