From a purely economic standpoint, this could be good news. Just hear us out; according to a study conducted by a cognitive psychologist at Northern Kentucky University, "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." Translation: Mixing your rum with Diet Coke gets you to sloppytown faster than stirring it up with the original formula. As we said, great for cheap thrills, but potentially very bad if you want to imbibe responsibly.
Now, you ask, what sort of spell has been cast on diet soda to transform it into a magical alcohol-enhancing elixir? Well, none. Since diet soda lacks the added sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup) of the regular variety, you'd be metabolizing only the alcohol in your drink. Basically there's nothing else in your cocktail to slow down its punch. Notice how a glass of beer or a rounded red wine makes you feel fuller than a belt of tequila, but the shot hits you so much harder, even though they all contain about the same amount of alcohol? It's the same concept with diet soda.
The danger here is that, by choosing a diet mixer, you don't feel any more drunk than you would have with a normal drink, but — believe it or not — you actually are. As anyone who has ever been between the ages of 18-22 can tell you, feeling sober isn't the same as being sober. Thinking yourself steady after three drinks, you might make dangerous decisions like driving, drinking more, getting a tattoo of a Smurf, and so on.
So, yes, for quick, fun, messy, cheap, potentially unsafe drinkytimes, diet soda works like gangbusters. But, as always, sip with caution, friends. (WNYC)
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