Is Alcohol + Diet Soda a Recipe for Disaster?

How many of us have tried to skip the extra calories at the bar by using diet mixers instead of the classic soda? I know I have; a rum and diet with a twist of lime was always my drink of choice for a night out on the town with my lady friends.  No one wants the weekly gym routine and the clean eating to fall by the wayside due to a little indulging in a night out. I mean what is the harm in cocktails paired with diet soda right? Actually, the mixture is a little more harmful than you think!

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A study performed by Northern Kentucky University, as featured in the New York Daily NewsABC News, and NPR, revealed that mixing alcohol with diet soda speeds up the absorption of alcohol in your body [read: it gets you drunker faster].  When you combine alcohol with a mixer that is sugar sweetened your body processes almost like a meal, delaying the effect of the alcohol. Whereas if you mix alcohol with a mixer that is not sugar sweetened (ie: diet drinks) the body absorbs the alcohol much faster without the same delay because there is no sugar to process.

Now I’m sure some people are more excited about this than alarmed, but this isn’t a good thing. The diet soda mixed drink allows for a stronger concentration of alcohol to be processed by the body, which over the long term can negatively affect your health. It can also push you over that fine line between being drunk and being drunk. Participants who drank the non-sugary mixed drink’s Breath Alcohol Content were 18% more than those who drank the sugary counterpart. That is a significant difference between the two, and yet the participants didn’t “report feeling more impaired or intoxicated after drinking the diet soda mixture compared to the sugary soda” according to NPR. This could mean that by drinking a cocktail laden with diet soda you might pass your tipping point without even realizing it, which can be dangerous for many reasons if not at the very least the gateway to embarrassing moments.

I’ve personally felt a difference by switching my drink order from diet to regular. I feel that by drinking the sugar sweetened soda with my alcohol I am able to pace myself better and feel a buzz come on gradually than all of a sudden. I also feel more in control of myself and am better able to gauge my level of intoxication and say when is when. Don’t get me wrong, I am a diet soda fiend, and I am not saying stop drinking diet soda all together if you like it.

I’m just saying that the next time you do this:


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Consider changing up your order from diet to regular.


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1 Comment

  • Reply August 13, 2013

    Adair-Hayes Crane

    Great post! A lot of people don’t think about this type of thing when out drinking so it’s a good reminder. Energy drinks too… super dangerous to mix alcohol with!