Mixing alcohol with diet beverages may result in higher breath and blood concentrations compared to the same dose of alcohol mixed with a sweetened mixer.
On 5 occasions, 20 study participants received in a double-blind manner 1 to 5 doses of either alcohol and diet soda and alcohol and regular soda. The results from both alcohol doses showed that the breath alcohol concentration was elevated when a diet mixer was used compared to a sweetened mixer in men and women. This phenomenon was not only statistically significant but had also practical significance and it appears more likely that women would select alcoholic beverages with a diet mixer since they are more likely to be conscious of calories in their drinks. The authors conclude that alcohol prevention materials should include this information to inform consumers that the harms associated with higher BACs may outweigh the benefits of saving some calories in diet mixers.
Stamates AL, Maloney SF, Marcinski CA, Effects of artificial sweeteners on breath alcohol concentrations in male and female social drinkers, Drug and Alcohol Dependence 157, 2015:197-199.
For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.