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Diet Mixers and Alcohol: Fewer Calories, Quicker Buzz

Substituting Diet Coca-Cola for regular to pair with rum for that classic cocktail? It could make you drunker.

An NPR blog on eating and health highlights a study set to be published in the April issue of the journal "Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental."

"Alcohol, consumed with a diet mixer, results in higher (BrAC) Breath Alcohol Concentrations as compared to the same amount of alcohol consumed with a sugar-sweetened mixer," the blog quotes Cecile Marczinski, a cognitive psychologist and the study's author, as saying.

The main takeaway? Diet soda could factor into whether you blow above or below the legal limit on a breath test. A previous and similar study showed the average BrAC was .091 at its peak when subjects drank alcohol mixed with a diet drink. By comparison, BrAC was .077 when the same subjects consumed the same amount of alcohol but with a sugary soda — an 18 percent difference. The sugar in regular sodas slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream, diet sodas offer no such benefit. Click here to read more. 

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