- Breath alcohol responses may be affected by the presence of carbohydrate (CHO) in a beverage.
- The study investigated the impact of consuming alcohol with water, sugar and sweetener on breath alcohol concentration (BrAC).
- Results showed that consuming alcohol with sugar lowers peak BrAC than mixers containing an artificial sweetener or water.
Women are seen to restrict food before and while drinking, quite possibly to compensate for alcohol-related calories.
Research suggests that this can result in a combined state of fasting or alcohol intake, which can lead to higher breath alcohol concentrations (BrACs).
‘Adding sugars to alcoholic beverages may reduce risk of harm, by facilitating alcohol metabolism and reducing the amount of alcohol that would enter the blood circulation.’
Breath alcohol responses may be affected by the presence of carbohydrate (CHO) in a beverage.
Artificially sweetened alcohol mixers are also a commonly reported weight-control strategy.
Aim of the study
The study investigated the impact of consuming alcohol with mixers containing various doses of carbohydrate or an artificial sweetener on breath alcohol concentration (BrAC), ratings of intoxication and impairment, and cognitive performance in females.
To determine whether artificial sweeteners accelerate alcohol responses or sugar dampens its effect (or a combination of both), this recruited a group of young women.
Study involving four Trials
Twenty-six females with mean age of 25 years completed a crossover study involving 4 trials, each trial separated by at least two days.
A dose of alcohol was consumed in each trial mixed with
Breath Alcohol Concentration Analysis
- artificial sweetener (150 ± 1 mg aspartame [AS]), or
- carbohydrate (15 g sucrose and 50 g sucrose ).
The BrAC was sampled over a 3½-hour period and analyzed for peak BrAC and other parameters using WinNonlin noncompartmental pharmacokinetic modeling
During this time, their cognitive performance, self-reported estimations of BrAC, ratings of intoxication, and willingness to drive a motor vehicle were recorded.
Results of BrAC Analysis
Results showed that consuming alcohol with carbohydrates like sugar-containing mixers yielded lower peak BrAC than mixers containing an artificial sweetener or water.
Greater reductions were observed with the higher dose of sugar (37% lower with 50 g compared to 8% lower with 15 g of sugar).
The authors speculated that adding sugar to alcoholic beverages may significantly decrease the rate of gastric emptying (nutrients passing from the stomach to the upper intestine, the main site of alcohol absorption).
This effect would facilitate alcohol metabolism, so that less alcohol would enter the blood circulation.
A reduction in BrAC may help reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm.
Consuming alcohol with sugar-containing mixers attenuates peak BrAC and reduces total alcohol exposure in a dose-response manner compared to drinks containing artificial sweetener or no additives.
The effect of adding sugars to alcoholic beverages may translate to reduced risk of alcohol-related harms.
- The Influence of Mixers Containing Artificial Sweetener or Different Doses of Carbohydrate on Breath Alcohol Responses in Females - (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.13264/full)