If you are planning on mixing diet soda with your cocktail, you may want to think again. Liquor mixed with diet soda gets you drunker, faster, according to a study out of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia. The study revealed that sugar-free mixers allow liquor to enter your bloodstream much quicker than those with sugar. The study demonstrates that on average individuals who consume diet soda with their alcohol have a higher blood alcohol content, on average 18% higher than those who drink regular soda with their liquor. That’s a difference of blowing a .066 or a .08, or the difference of getting a DUI or not getting one.
Further, even if you are well above the legal limit of .08, diet soda could also affect what penalties you receive. Pennsylvania currently has a three tier system with respect to DUI charges. The legal limit for driving under the influence is .08 percent, and would constitute a tier one offense. A blood alcohol level between .10 percent and .159 percent would constitute a tier two offense. A tier three charge, that is a blood alcohol level in excess of .159 percent, carries the most severe penalties and fines. Consuming diet soda with your liquor could cause a jump from one tier to the next.
The scariest part of the study may be that the participants consuming diet soda indicated that they felt no difference in their levels of impairment. So an individual might feel completely capable of driving when driving should really be avoided. As always when drinking, you should drink responsibly and think twice about driving.