Alcohol absorption into the body is variable. What effects the rate of absorption? Could the use of diet mixers be a factor? There’s reason to think so. The answer could be important.
Sprits beverages are often mixed with non-alcoholic beverages. Rum and coke, gin and tonic, and many other examples come to mind. Some mixers are regular and some are diet.
The body absorbs alcohol faster in an effervescent drink. See Health and Safety.
Could the use of artificially sweetened mixers effect the rate of alcohol absorption? To answer this question, ten male and ten female social drinkers were tested. They consumed different amounts of vodka. It was served in either regular or diet soda. There was also a placebo soda. The volunteers were tested periodically for three hours after each test.
Consuming any level of vodka with a diet soda consistently led to much higher breath alcohol test results compared to regular soda. There were no differences between males and females in the results.
Mixing spirits with diet drinks reduces caloric intake. That makes it a very popular choice. But drinkers should know that doing so may increase the rate of alcohol absorption into the body. This study used a small sample. And scientific findings are always subject to change. But at this point, there’s no reason to doubt this finding.
Researchers at Northern Kentucky University conducted the study. It appears in the journal, Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
Drinkers should also realize that drinking, at least in moderation, appears not to increase weight. There’s some evidence that women who begin to drink may actually lose weight. And people who drink gain less weight over time than alcohol abstainers. See Alcohol, Calories and Weight.
Source: Stamates, A., et al. Effects of artificial sweeteners breath alcohol concentration male and female social drinkers. Drug Alc. Depend., 2015. ePub. PMID: 26507176.
Carvey, P. M. Drug Action in the Central Nervous System. NY: Oxford U. Press, 1988.