Healthier Me: Alcohol & Diet Soda - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Healthier Me: Alcohol & Diet Soda

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In Thursday's Healthier Me, if you like sweet mixed drinks, a new study from the University of North Texas and published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research suggests that you might want to order regular soda instead of diet  the next time you're at a bar or party.


The reason? The study found that mixing alcohol with diet instead of regular soda gets you drunk more rapidly. Researchers recruited 16 college students and had them drink vodka with regular soda at a strength that was the equivalent of 4 mixed drinks.  Breathalyzer tests were then administered, and all students passed. However, when the same students were given the same amount of vodka but with diet soda, they failed the breathalyzer test; they were above the legal limit for alcohol and didn't know it.

So, why would alcohol with diet soda get you more drunk faster?

Diet drinks contain no sugar, so they go through the stomach much faster, and the diet mixture also has metabolism-boosting effect which sends the alcohol into the bloodstream at a higher rate compared to regular soda.

Is this cause for alarm? Not in moderation, but if left unchecked, the combination can compromise your health; high blood alcohol concentrations have detrimental effects on the brain and liver.

Here are some steps you can take to keep from getting too intoxicated:
  1. Drink in moderation.
  2. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
  3. Alternate non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
  4. Choose regular mixers, not diet.
  5. Don't forget to enlist a designated driver.   
Experts add that drinking diet soda pop with your booze is more harmful in the long run than the few extra calories of the regular.

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