Diet Soda May Increase BAC Levels

How much might a diet soda with alcohol raise my blood alcohol content?

Sodas like Coke and Sprite have long been regarded as staple mixers with liquor.  Since the mid-1980s, diet beverages have become more popular than the traditional version of these soft drinks.  Nearly any bar that serves liquor will no doubt churn out many a beverage that includes a diet drink, from rum and Diet Coke to vodka and Sprite.  Unfortunately, what many people don’t realize is that by attempting to order a lower calorie alcohol beverage, you may be increasing your risk of a DUI.  Our Atlanta DUI lawyers explore the little know link between diet sodas and BAC below.

Diet Soda May Raise BAC 18 Percent

Researchers at Northern Kentucky University set out to test a previously discovered link between diet soda and higher blood alcohol levels.  They gathered 16 participants, eight men and eight women, who rated themselves as casual drinkers.  They then gave participants one of three possible drinks.  The first option was a vodka drink with a regular, full calorie soda. The second was a vodka drink with a diet, zero calorie soda.  Lastly, the remaining participants received a placebo drink.

Participants took the test three times.  After each time a drink was consumed, the participant was given a breathalyzer test.  Additionally, researchers tested the participant’s reaction time and asked them to rank their own drunkenness, fatigue, and ability to drive.

The results of the study were alarming.  The average BAC of the group that drank alcohol mixed with diet soda was .092 at the peak, while the subjects that drank alcohol with regular soda displayed a BAC of just .077.  This represents an 18 percent increase in BAC levels, which could be the difference between a DUI arrest or release for someone stopped on suspicion of drunk driving.  Additionally, participants who consumed the diet soda did not feel any more intoxicated than the other similarly impaired individuals, which could put them at an increased risk of drinking and driving.

Georgia drivers should keep this study in mind next time they consume an alcoholic beverage and consider getting behind the wheel.  Know the risks of a DUI and instead plan ahead for a safe ride.  If you are arrested and believe the breathalyzer results that form the basis for your conviction are artificially inflated, your DUI defense lawyer can assist you in fighting the charges you face.

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Carter Pilgrim
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