It’s too early to tell whether blood alcohol content is really higher or whether the result is simply skewed – either way, using diet soda in your mixed drink rather than regular seems to change things for the worse.
Admittedly, the study Rachael Rettner cites is very small (just eight men and eight women), but the results were very interesting. Blood alcohol content in study participants who had drinks mixed with diet soda was 18 percent higher after 40 minutes.
And they were also above the legal limit to drive, according to Rettner’s report, whereas study participants who had drinks mixed with regular sugar-filled soda weren’t over the legal limit in the same time frame.
Researchers speculated that the difference was in how the human body processes the sugar and the alcohol.
With a diet drink, which does not contain the same sugars, the alcohol could be going straight to the bloodstream. But the regular drink delays the process. So if you’re out drinking with friends and you’re concerned about going over the legal limit, consider using regular sugar-filled soda or mixers rather than diet. It could be better for you – in terms of the consequences of drunk driving – than the supposed health benefits of diet.