Do Diet Cocktails Get You Drunk Faster?

If your cocktail of choice includes diet soda or artificial sweeteners, you might be setting yourself for a quicker buzz than you expected.
97749346

97749346

different colored drinks in wineglasses

Photo by: Pumba1

Pumba1

Are you a rum and diet Coke drinker or do you prefer a calorie-free cocktail blend made with artificial sweeteners? Whichever is your poison, recent studies have found that consuming artificial sweeteners with your booze can make you tipsy faster.

The Research

A 2006 study found that mixing vodka with a diet beverage containing artificial sweetener verses a sugar-sweetened beverage got folks drunk 15 minutes faster. Those downing the cocktail with artificial sweeteners also had a higher blood alcohol concentration by 0.02.

Although the recent study conducted by Northern Kentucky University had a pretty small sample size (about 16 subjects), the results pointed to the same conclusion. Researchers determined that sugar-sweetened alcohol is absorbed slower into the blood while the artificial stuff doesn’t hinder alcohol absorption.

While you may think that sticking to calorie free mix-ins like seltzer may be a better option, a 2007 study found that carbonated drinks cause alcohol to be absorbed quicker compared with flat mixers like orange and cranberry juice.

Better Options for Booze

Drinking artificially sweetened cocktails will not only get you drunk faster, but they’ve also been associated with upset stomach, blood sugar control issues and an increased risk for certain types of cancer. Even if the calorie-free sugar is labeled as "natural," most have undergone some chemical manipulation before being bottled.

If you're looking for healthier options, mixers like 100% fruit juice -- pineapple, orange and cranberry -- may be your best choice, plus you can get a nice dose of vitamin C. Artisan cocktail bars are also popping up and making drinks with fresh herbs or infusing vodka or rum with wonderful flavors making them more natural, flavorful options.

No matter which mixer you choose sticking to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines of 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men is important in order to control calories and keep the negative impact on health at bay.

Bottom Line: Choosing alcohol made with or mixed with artificial sweeteners isn’t the healthiest choice and can make your drunk faster. Choose cocktails made with wholesome ingredients or use 100% juice as your mixer.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Diet 101: Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic eating is pretty much the opposite of a fad diet — it’s existed for some 5,000 years. Here’s what you need to know about doshas, kitchari bowls and eating mindfully.

Diet 101: OMAD Diet

We take a deep dive into intermittent fasting and what it means for your health.

Diet 101: DASH Diet

The DASH Diet was created for those with high blood pressure, but was recently voted Best Overall Diet for Healthy Eating by U.S. News. Find out what it's about.

Diet 101: Dukan Diet

Although the Dukan Diet has been a best seller for years in France, it’s been rapidly growing popularity since Kate Middleton announced that she’s on it in order to lose weight for her upcoming royal nuptials to Prince William. Other celebs like model Giselle Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez have also reportedly been on the diet to help them shed their post-baby pounds. But should you be following in the footsteps of these high profile celebs?

Diet 101: GAPS Diet

The GAPS Diet promises to improve digestion and psychological health. We investigate.

Diet 101: Flat Belly Diet

Seems like everyone has been asking me about losing belly fat lately. Is the Flat Belly Diet the way? Find out.

Diet 101: The Military Diet

A nutrition expert weighs in on the Military Diet.

Diet 101: The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet (a.k.a. the Hunter-Gatherer or Caveman diet) has been around for 40 years and has recently resurfaced with a vengeance. But should we be reverting back to what caveman ate thousands of years ago? Here’s the need-to-know about the oldest diet around.

Diet 101: Low-FODMAP Diet

Here's what to know about the new diet.

Diet 101: Wheat Belly Diet

Here’s a look at the newest popular fad diet: The Wheat Belly Diet. Is eliminating any and all wheat the healthiest way to lose weight?