The presence of food in the stomach as compared with when alcohol is consumed alone can be so important that reductions in peak BrAC have been reported to be as much as 20 to 57%. Now a limited research conducted at Northern Kentucky University suggests that alcohol consumed with diet soft drink results in higher breath alcohol concentrations (BrACs) as compared to the same amount of alcohol consumed with a similar beverage containing sugar.

Northern Kentucky University researchers discovered that BrACs were significantly higher in the alcohol + diet beverage condition compared with the alcohol + regular beverage condition. The mean peak BrAC was 0.091 g/210 l in the alcohol + diet condition compared with 0.077 g/210 l in the alcohol + regular condition. The study concluded that mixing alcohol with a diet soft drink resulted in elevated BrACs, as compared with the same amount of alcohol mixed with a sugar-sweetened beverage. Individuals were unaware of these differences, a factor that may increase the safety risks associated with drinking alcohol.  According to the study, the higher BrACs associated with diet mixers warrants greater consideration, and consumers should be made aware of this phenomenon.

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