DUI News | Alcohol and Diet Soda may make you Drunker

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There is a new study that was down by author Allison Aubrey who has posted some of her findings on NPR’s insider blog. The reason we post this to our website is the hope that more people will be educated on the issues surrounding drinking and driving and the laws. If you have any questions feel free to contact one of our DUI attorneys in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“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,” says Cecile Marczinski, a cognitive psychologist who authored the new study.

Why? Turns out that sugar slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream.

“In other words, it is not that diet soda accelerates intoxication. Rather, the sugar in regular soda slows down the rate of alcohol absorption,” explains Dennis Thombs, a professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. He published a paper with similar findings.

So what was the motivation for the new study? “I wanted to know if the choice of a mixer could be the factor that puts a person above or below the legal limit,” writes Marczinski, who’s a professor at Northern Kentucky University.

And it turns out, diet soda might just push you over the legal limit in your state. Marczinski’s study found that the average BrAC was .091 (at its peak) when subjects drank alcohol mixed with a diet drink such as soda. By comparison, BrAC was .077 when the same subjects consumed the same amount of alcohol but with a sugary soda.

“I was a little surprised by the findings, since the 18% increase in BrAC was a fairly large difference,” Marczinski stated in an email.

Marczinski says she also wanted to determine if the volunteers in her study (eight women, eight men) would notice any differences between the two mixers. Not so much, it turns out.

The subjects did not report feeling more impaired or intoxicated after drinking the diet soda mixer, compared to the sugary soda. Experts say this may put them at an increased risk of drinking and driving. Therefore, if you are mixing a diet soda with alcohol you need to be aware that such could cause your Blood Alcohol level to be higher and therefore you could be charged with a DUI.

The study is being published in the April issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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