The Effects Artificial Sweeteners Have On Alcohol Consumption

When you’re out having fun, having a good meal, or celebrating mixed drinks are a common occurrence. With the calories contained in hard spirits such as rum and vodka its not an uncommon idea to used diet sodas when mixing your drinks simply to cut calories. This is also a common occurrence in some pre-made mixed drinks and certain types of alcopop products that also favor artificial sweeteners. The use of artificial sweeteners saves on unneeded calories and lowers overall sugar content. However, recent studies show an alarming side effect. Alcoholic drinks that use artificial sweetener in the place of sugar cause you to have a much higher spike in your overall blood alcohol content. This is important to know when consuming alcoholic beverages due to the fact most people only consider the amount of alcohol being consumed not how their bodies react to it. It is important to know both to assure responsible consumption.

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The Testing, Its Subjects, And Its Vairables

The tests were performed with the following criteria. The test group was composed of eight young men, all in good health. Each was served a mix of orange flavored drink with vodka added that was the equivalent of three drinks. These drinks were served on two different days. One day contained natural sugar, the other day made use of artificial sweetener. The variables tested were as follows. The first was how quickly the drink was processed from the drinker’s stomach. The second was a simple measure of blood alcohol content 180 minutes after consumption of the drink.

The Results

The test results noted the following. The drink containing artificial sweetener exited the subject’s stomach far more quickly than the one one containing natural sugar. It only took the artificial sweetener flavored drink 21 minutes to halfway exit the subject’s stomach. By contrast the drink containing natural sugar took 36 to halfway exit the stomach. Blood alcohol measurements also showed similar results. The highest recorded blood alcohol levels were 0.05 with artificial sweetener and 0.03 when compared to the drinks flavored with natural sugar. Lastly, the subjects reached their highest blood alcohol level 30 minutes after finishing the drink.

Conclusions Reached

The conclusions reached verified the testers initial hypothesis. While it was originally believed that drinks flavored with artificial sweeteners would cause a higher level of alcoholic response in test subjects the sheer difference between the two was surprising. Simply put test subjects reacted to the alcohol in the drinks far more noticeably when artificial sweetener replaced sugar. However, further testing will be required to come to a concrete hypothesis. Firstly, all the test subjects were men while women would likely have  similar response testing needs to be done to verify this. Secondly, the test subjects drunk on an empty stomach. This further enhanced the reaction to the drink alcoholic content. It is likely that the difference between the sugar and artificial sweetener based drinks (and the associated responses) would be less pronounced had the testers eaten first.

Summation

In closing further testing needs to be done to fully verify the effect artificial sweeteners have on the physical response to alcohol. Things such as gender and physical response when consumed in more common settings will have to be taken into consideration. Given that the target marketing for such products often market it to young women further testing is essential.

However, the following is already clear. You must be careful when consuming alcoholic beverages, pre-mixed drinks, or homemade mixed drinks that have artificial sweetener. Your normal measurement for your response to alcoholic beverages may underrate your response due to the effect the artificial sweetener has on your bodies response to alcohol. This is based on the fact that most people measure by the units of alcohol consumed and do not take into consideration other factors that may affect their physical response. Given the increased popularity of mixed drinks among young consumers you should always read the label before drinking any pre mixed alcoholic beverage.

17 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

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  10. Нати says:

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