Skinny sorority girls finally can blame science. According to a new study, mixing alcohol and diet drinks can get you drunker. The study, set to be published in the April issue of the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found that people who drank their booze with diet mixers had higher breath alcohol content that those who drank with non-diet drinks.
So, what's a health-conscious imbiber to do? Grant Park-based registered dietitian Marisa Moore says there are some ways to drink (relatively) healthy.
Was this a surprise?
No. If you don't have anything in your stomach or your blood sugar is low because you haven’t eaten, then absolutely you get drunk faster.
What's the science behind it?
Sugar acts as a buffer in the body and it slows down alcohol absorption. So when you take that out, the alcohol gets to the blood stream a lot quicker.
Is there a way to drink, yet drink healthy?
Alcohol in and of itself is not the healthiest. Practice moderation. That means one drink per day for women, two per men. And one drink equals five ounces of wine, 1 1/2 ounces of liquor, or a 12-ounce beer. And, no, you can't save them all up for the weekend.
What else can you do?
Make sure you have water in between any drinks. It's to help you pace yourself as well as for hydration. If you're having a glass of water after a drink and mingling a little bit, then you're less likely to overindulge.
Is an extra drink or two really all that bad, health-wise?
One thing to remember, especially for people trying to manage their weight, alcohol is a sneaky source of calories. One shot has 90-100 calories. The mixers that go into mixed drinks are full of calories. One pina cola can run 350 calories. Long Island iced teas are on the higher side, too. In addition to the calories, you're less inhibited so you're more likely to eat a little more.
So you just shouldn't drink?
Sure you can. If you enjoy wine, do a wine spritzer by adding seltzer or sparkling water. That cuts the calories in half.
What about fruity drinks? Aren't you just drinking fruit?
Hardly. Maybe you're getting 1/4 of a serving. Maybe if you're having a daiquiri and using real fruit for all of it. But most people are using a mix.