Posted On: February 13, 2013

Massachusetts DUI Warning: Diet Mixers Can Spike Blood Alcohol Levels

Getting arrested on a Massachusetts DUI charge is costly on many levels: Legal, financial, social, professional, and personal. No one wants to go through this. Trust me.

To avoid a situation where you might get behind the wheel after having a drink, innocently thinking that you are nowhere near the ".08 limit" that applies here in Massachusetts, here's an interesting piece of medical news that anyone who drinks mixed cocktails should know about. Before discussing this news, the ".08 limit" refers to the concentration of a person's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC.) Blood Alcohol Content is measured by either a Breathalyzer, or a serum blood test. When a person's Massachusetts Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)reaches .08, he or she is legally presumed to be impaired, and thus illegally driving under the influence of alcohol.

A recent study has suggested, though, that using diet mixers in cocktails – such as diet (sugar-free) sodas or diet cranberry juice – may cause a person to unknowingly become intoxicated faster than if the mixer was a full-calorie (sugar-sweetened) brand. Why? The medical theory is that drinks (cocktails) that contain sugar in them stimulate the stomach to delay emptying in much the same way that a meal does. Having some food in your stomach delays stomach emptying, and as a result, the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream is also delayed. That is why someone who eats when drinking alcohol doesn’t appear as intoxicated as might someone who drinks on an empty stomach.

But because diet beverages contain no sugar, they do not signal the stomach to delay emptying, and this allows alcohol to enter the bloodstream more quickly. The take-away message? Mixing your cocktail with a diet soda or diet juice may save a lot of calories but you are likely to become intoxicated faster than you think – and you may not even know it. As a Boston, Massachusetts OUI lawyer, I can assure you: Saving a few calories is not worth it to risk a Massachusetts OUI/DUI arrest. If weight loss or weight control is your goal, you’d be far better off spending more time in the gym.