Diet soda and alcohol don’t mix!  That’s the upshot of the latest research in the journal Alcoholism. 

A lot of people think diet soda is a healthy mixer because it has zero calories, but a new study found that it’ll speed alcohol into your system – making you more impaired and more likely to make risky decisions. 

For the study, Northern Kentucky University researchers had test subjects drink vodka mixed with diet or regular soda, then, measured their blood alcohol level and had them complete a questionnaire asking them things like, “Do you feel too drunk to drive?” The results were shocking. Those who used diet soda as a mixer were much more intoxicated than people who used regular soda as a mixer – even though they consumed the exact same amount of alcohol. In fact, their blood alcohol levels were as much as 18-percent higher.

And even scarier, the diet soda mixers didn’t realize how drunk they were! Even though their alcohol level readings were over the legal driving limit, they thought they were OK to drive.

So, why does diet soda make you drunker? 

Experts say that your stomach treats regular soda like food, and digests the sugary calories, which delays alcohol from hitting your bloodstream. But calorie-free diet soda flies through your empty stomach, and hits your bloodstream, making you intoxicated much more quickly.

And doctors say that in the long run, being exposed to a higher concentration of alcohol is more harmful to your health than ingesting a few extra calories.

Experts say that if you’re concerned about calories, drink less alcohol. Don’t use a calorie-free mixer.