If you insist on ruining whatever liquor you're drinking by mixing it with something other than ice, then you might as well make it some sort of diet soda. Why? Because it will get you almost 20% drunker, according to a recently released study.
Before getting to the actual results, it's worth noting the scientists chose Squirt and Diet Squirt for the experiment, so, based on that decision alone, feel free to take the study with a grain of salt.
Moving on, the Squirt-loving scientists had 16 subjects drink one of three beverages: a placebo (the best sounding of the options, to be honest), regular Squirt with booze, and diet Squirt with booze. The scientists then asked questions like, "Do you feel drunk?" and measured their BrAC and reaction times on a computer.
According to the study, the Diet Squirt drinkers "averaged a peak BrAC level of 0.091 g/210 L, which was 18 percent higher than the sugary mixer group, which averaged 0.077 g/210 L." They also had slower reaction times. In other words, they were 18 percent drunker, though they didn't necessarily feel that way.
"One of the key things we found was that even though (BrAC) peaked 18 percent higher in the diet condition, [participants] didn't feel any more intoxicated and they didn't feel any different as to how willing they were to drive a car," lead author Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Ky.
But why were they drunker? Because your body has no idea how to process the chemicals in artificial sweeteners.
Researchers believe that because the stomach processes sugary drinks like food items, a sugary mixer could delay the stomach from emptying its contents. Digesting sugars allows the stomach to hold alcohol longer and delay it from entering the bloodstream. Solid food is known to lower BACs by as much as 20 to 57 percent, TIME reported. However, the body doesn't know how to process diet sugars, so it sends the alcohol out right away.