You mixed your drink with diet soda
Your blood alcohol level will spike faster if your cocktail contains diet soda compared to regular soda, according to a small study recently published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. In two different sessions, study participants drank the equivalent of three to four mixed drinks in a short period of time. When they drank vodka mixed with regular soda, their peak blood alcohol level measured 0.077, just under the legal limit of 0.08. But when they drank vodka mixed with diet soda? Their blood alcohol measured 0.091. Their perception was altered, too: After drinking diet drinks, people performed statistically worse on computer tests compared to how they did after sipping the regular version, even though they reported no noticeable change in how they felt or performed. Exactly why this occurs is not fully understood, but the stomach may treat sugar-sweetened beverages like food, which delays the stomach from emptying. “The best way to think about these effects is that sugar-sweetened alcohol mixers slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream,” explains Dennis L. Thombs, PhD, professor and chair of the department of behavioral and community health at UNT Health Science Center. “Artificially sweetened alcohol mixers do not really elevate alcohol intoxication. Rather, the lack of sugar simply allows the rate of alcohol absorption to occur without hindrance.”
You chose a curvy glass
How well you “pace yourself” during a cocktail party may have to do with your glass. Study participants drank twice as slowly when their lager was in a typical “straight-sided” glass compared to when it was an angled “beer flute,” researchers at the University of Bristol report in PLOS One. “People often talk of ‘pacing themselves’ when drinking alcohol as a means of controlling levels of drunkenness, and I think the important point to take from our research is that the ability to pace effectively may be compromised when drinking from certain types of glasses,” says lead study author Angela S. Attwood, PhD, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychological Science at England’s University of Bristol. Check out how you can get drunk without taking a sip of alcohol.