October 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Diet drinks can make Missouri drivers unwittingly drive intoxicated
Resources like online blood alcohol calculators have made it easier for drivers in St. Louis, Missouri, to understand what their limits are and plan their nights responsibly. However, one surprising factor can contribute to drivers exceeding the legal breath alcohol content or BAC limit
despite their best intentions: whether or not diet drinks are used as mixers. Diet drinks allow people to get more intoxicated more quickly, and it is important for drivers to fully understand this risk.
The diet drink difference
The disparity in how diet drinks and regular drinks affect alcohol absorption is due to the type of sweetener these drinks contain. Science Daily explains that drinks containing natural sugars slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, much like food does. Drinking with diet drink mixers is more akin to drinking on an empty stomach.
Science Daily and Time magazine describe a pair of studies that investigated how both naturally and artificially sweetened drinks affect intoxication and BAC levels. Participants drank cocktails with an alcohol content that was adjusted for weight and gender to produce a set BAC level. Some of the surprising results were:
-Breath alcohol content measured in participants who consumed diet drinks was 18 percent higher than that of participants who drank a normal cocktail.
-Participants consuming diet cocktails ended up with a breath alcohol content over the legal limit, while those consuming naturally sweetened cocktails did not.
-Participants who drank diet drinks performed worse on computer tasks that tested errors and reaction time.
-Participants who drank diet cocktails during one session and regular cocktails during another did not perceive a difference in how impaired they felt, even though their breath alcohol content was higher when they drank the diet cocktails.
The implications of this study are important for anyone who believes that they can have just a few drinks and drive home safely.
Tips for drinking safely
Drivers should be careful with diet drink cocktails, and especially wary of caffeinated diet drinks. The CDC reports that highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages hide certain effects of alcohol, even though caffeine does not reduce BAC or help the liver process alcohol more efficiently. People who have consumed these beverages may drink past their normal limits and not recognize their level of intoxication.
Anyone planning to drive home should take precautions against becoming intoxicated too quickly. It is possible to slow alcohol absorption by eating a full meal with proteins and starches beforehand, snacking during the night, and drinking plenty of water. These actions do not counteract the effects of alcohol, but they spread out the absorption over a longer period.
There are many factors that can affect alcohol absorption, without even getting into individual disposition, and the possible consequences
of drinking and driving can be harsh. It's always best to have a designated driver or call a cab when in doubt.
If you do find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney about your options.
Article provided by St. Louis DWI lawyer
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