Don’t pick the diet soda if you’re planning to mix it with alcohol, a new study says. The study found that cutting alcohol with diet soda makes the alcoholic drink much more potent and leads to a higher blood alcohol content. Researchers served study participants one of three drinks: vodka with diet soda, vodka with regular soda, and a regular soda with a vodka scent added. They noted “significant differences” in the blood alcohol content and behavioral impairment of the diet drinkers, whose blood alcohol content was 18 percent higher than those who drank non-diet drinks. This is likely because sugary drinks delay stomach emptying and thus make alcohol absorb into the bloodstream more slowly.
However, one expert–Boris Tabakoff, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine—noted that the study created a setup that didn’t accurately reflect the typical drinking experience. Researchers had people drink the equivalent of three to four drinks within five minutes, and few bars will serve drinks that strong. Calorie-conscious people would do better to limit their alcohol intake altogether, he noted.
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