Study: Diet mixers make cocktails more potent
Calorie counters, beware: Drinking diet "mixers" with alcohol intensifies the effects of the booze, according to the findings of breathalyzer tests.Preliminary research on the use of different mixers, such as juice, soda or diet soda, suggests that diet soda might increase breath alcohol content more than higher calorie sugary beverages.
"The key thing is to be aware of this phenomenon," said study lead author Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor in the department of psychological science at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.
"People tend to think that cutting calories is important, but when you're drinking alcohol, calories help slow down the release of alcohol to your liver and brain," Marczinski said.
Breath alcohol concentration, which is what police measure to determine if someone has consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol, is affected by different factors. Food in the stomach can lower breath alcohol concentration by up to 57 percent compared to drinking on an empty stomach, according to background information in the study.
Because many people are concerned about their weight, particularly young women, the researchers wanted to see how a drink mixer might affect breath alcohol levels.
The bottom line is that people shouldn't drink on an empty stomach, and they may want to think twice about saving calories by using diet soda mixers, she said.