A new study found that mixing alcohol with a diet soda results in higher (BrAC) Breath Alcohol Concentrations than mixing it with normal soda. Allison Aubrey spoke to the author of the study, Cecile Marczinski:
“I wanted to know if the choice of a mixer could be the factor that puts a person above or below the legal limit,” writes Marczinski, who’s a professor at Northern Kentucky University. And it turns out, diet soda might just push you past that tipping point. Marczinski’s study found that 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.
Joseph Stromberg highlights the reason why:
The researchers believe it’s because the body recognizes regular sodas (which include sugar) as food, which slows down the rate of alcohol absorption into the blood. Diet sodas, on the other hand, only include aspartame, which the body doesn’t treat as food, so the alcohol mixed in gets absorbed much more quickly.