More Drunk Using Diet Mixers?

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Story Updated: Feb 7, 2013

So you're out on a Saturday night...and order a rum and Diet Coke. While that diet drink may save you calories, it may also turn into trouble when it's time to drive home.

New research out of Texas suggests that diet mixers may make you seem like you've had more to drink than you really have.

The findings show that mixing alcohol with a diet soft drink rather than a regular one can make a person's "breath alcohol concentration"...something generally measured by a breathalyzer... higher.

In this small study...16 people - 8 men and 8 women - participated in three research sessions...Each time they were asked to drink a vodka with lemon lime soda, a vodka with diet lemon lime or a placebo drink without liquor.

They were then given a breathalyzer test and a series of tasks to determine their reaction time. They were also asked to rate their levels of intoxication, impairment, fatigue...and willingness to drive.

Mixing alcohol with a diet soft drink resulted in elevated breath alcohol levels in both the men and the women.

Participants who drank alcohol and diet beverages also exhibited the greatest impairment on the timed tasks.

Researchers theorize that the stomach may treat sugar-sweetened beverages like food, thus balancing out the liquor...but diet drinks don't have that same effect, so the alcohol absorbs faster.

The takeaway from this small study? You may want to consider your mixers when making your cocktail choices.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com