Diet Soda Sweetened with Aspartame may Increase Blood Alcohol Content

cocktail mixed with aspartame sweetened diet sodaWe ran across an interesting article about the effect of artificially sweetened diet soda combined with alcohol.  According to researchers from Northern Kentucky University, alcohol consumed with a diet soda mixer results in higher breath alcohol concentrations (BrACs) compared with the same amount of alcohol consumed with a similar beverage containing sugar.

The researchers created a test where they created three different drinks:

  • vodka mixed with sugar sweetened regular Squirt soda
  • vodka mixed with diet Squirt
  • a placebo drink

Breath alcohol concentrations were significantly higher for test subjects who consumed the diet soda/vodka mix than for subjects who consumed the regular soda/vodka mix.   Interestingly, however, test subjects did not report any significant subjective differences – in other words, they did not feel any more or less intoxicated.

The test results were consistent regardless of whether the subject was male or female.  According to study author Professor Cecile Marczinski:  in this study, subjects felt the same whether they drank the diet or regular mixed alcoholic beverage, however, they were above the limit of .08 when they consumed the diet mixer, and below it when they drank the regular mixed beverage.

The study’s conclusion:  mixing alcohol with a diet soft drink resulted in elevated BrACs, as compared with the same amount of alcohol mixed with a sugar-sweetened beverage.  Individuals were unaware of these differences, a factor that may increase the safety risks associated with drinking alcohol.

View Professor Marczinski’s bio from Western Kentucky University web site – click here

Prof. Marczinski’s Alcohol and Energy Drink Research lab web site – click here


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