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Faux sugar cocktails speed effects of alcohol

Artificially sweetened cocktails aren’t just lower in calories, they also make you a cheaper date.

A new study shows that drinks with artificial sweeteners make you drunk faster. When drinking cocktails with artificial sweeteners your stomach empties nearly 30 percent faster. That means, your blood-alcohol level is significantly higher because your body absorbs the alcohol more quickly.

Australian doctors at the Royal Adelaide Hospital studied eight adult male volunteers for two days, giving them sugar drinks one day and faux sugar drinks the next. For three hours, doctors measured the rate of stomach emptying via ultrasound and blood-alcohol level.

"People tend to consume more because of the lower calorie content," Dr. Chris Rayner, who reported his findings at Digestive Disease Week 2006, told Reuters Health. "These drinks also tend to be consumed at times other than meal times, when food would slow gastric emptying."

Rayner and colleagues urge label warnings on artificially sweetened alcohol mixers, in addition to warning consumers to take precautions when drinking low-calorie cocktails and driving.