The claim: Beware of drink mixers based on diet soda.
The facts: Usually it is solely the liquor component of a cocktail – not the mixer – that determines its inebriating effects. However, some people contend that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda speed up the absorption of alcohol.
Odd, perhaps, but research has suggested it’s true. In a 2006 study, a team of scientists recruited healthy subjects and had them consume vodka cocktails. On some occasions, it was a 20-ounce drink mixed with a sugar-sweetened beverage, and on others it was a nearly identical drink mixed instead with a diet beverage.
In the diet-mixer conditions, the alcohol entered the bloodstream about 15 minutes faster, and their blood-alcohol concentration was higher, peaking at 0.05 percent, compared with 0.03 percent with the regular mixer.
One theory is that the alcohol is absorbed more quickly because there is no sugar to slow it down.
A second study last year showed that alcohol was absorbed far more quickly when mixed with carbonated beverages than with flat mixers, possible because of the effervescence. As a result, experts say it’s best to choose flat mixers like orange or cranberry juice over diet sodas or juices.
The bottom line: Compared with sugar-sweetened drinks, artificial sweeteners can speed up inebriation.
- The New York Times