Mixing Alcohol with Diet Drinks Leads to Higher BAC Readings

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Opting for the weight-conscious mixer? It could land you a Californian DUI.

Researchers in Australia studying the metabolism of soft drinks have found that mixing alcohol with artificially sweetened soft drinks leads to higher blood alcohol content readings.

PhD candidate at Griffith University, Chris Irwin, found that people who mixed alcohol with diet soda showed a blood alcohol content of 0.02 higher than those who mixed alcohol with the conventional sugary carbohydrate-laden drinks. In his study of 16 people, those who mixed their drinks with artificially sweetened showed an average blood alcohol content of 0.065 percent whereas those who mixed their drinks with regular soda showed an average blood alcohol content of 0.045 percent.

“There are implications for people that might go and have one or two drinks and if they’re choosing drinks that have diet mixers, it might put them over the limit,” Irwin said. “It may make a big difference in their blood alcohol limit and put them at risk of driving under the influence, while if they have a carbohydrate based drink with alcohol they could be under the limit.”

The reason for the difference? It has to do with how the body processes soda. Diet soda passes through our stomach quicker than regular soda. When this happens, the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Regular soda takes longer to break down, which slows the release of alcohol into the blood stream.

So next time you’re out getting drinks while trying to lose a few pounds, remember that the diet soda you’re mixing your booze with is actually increasing your chances of landing a California DUI charge.

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