Will That Diet Coke Increase Your Chance of a DUI?

Last year, Coca-Cola proudly announced that its line of diet drinks had overtaken the classic soft drinks in popularity.  While this trend may be better for American’s waistlines, a new study suggests that diet drinks might just increase your odds of getting a DUI if you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving.  While the correlation still requires much research to determine why and how exactly diet drinks may make alcohol more potent, it is important for diet drink lovers to be aware of the risk. Our Phoenix, Arizona DUI defense lawyers discuss this new study published in Alcoholism journal and what it might mean for you.

Diet Drinks Increase BAC 18 Percent 

Researchers from Northern Kentucky University set out to study whether the type of mixer had an impact on blood alcohol content.  In their study, the researchers served participants one of three beverages: vodka with a diet drink, vodka with a regular soft drink, and a regular soft drink with vodka scent added.  They watched as the participants enjoyed their beverages then studied the results.  

It was discovered that the participants with the vodka-diet cocktails developed a significantly higher blood alcohol content and also behaved in the most intoxicated manner.  Researchers found that on average, the study participants who drank the alcohol with diet soda had an 18 percent higher blood alcohol content than those who consumed the alcohol with a full-sugar soda.  

Researchers have posited that the reason behind the correlation between sugar-free soft drinks and a higher BAC involves the stomach.  It is theorized that regular, sugar-containing drinks stimulate the stomach similar to a meal. As having food within your stomach delays the stomach from emptying, it, in turn, delays the increase in your blood alcohol content by slowing down the alcohol entering your bloodstream.  Diet sodas, with no or little sugar, do not have the same protective mechanism, resulting in the quicker entry of the alcohol into your bloodstream. 

While it is never advisable to drink and drive, should you elect to have a drink or two before getting behind the wheel, remember this study.  Consider the fact that selecting a diet drink as a mixer may raise your blood alcohol content significantly enough to result in a DUI. Always contact a DUI defense lawyer right away should you find yourself arrested for this serious crime.

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