Mixing alcohol with diet beverages, as compared to mixing the same amount of alcohol with a regular beverage, is associated with greater intoxication. This may occur because diet mixers increase alcohol absorption rates. Thus, it is plausible that the use of diet mixers may increase the risk of alcohol-related harms. The current study sought to (1) determine the rate/frequency of use in among college students, (2) examine the relationship between mixing alcohol with diet beverages and alcohol-related problems, above typical alcohol use and sensation seeking, and (3) explore key traits (gender, restricting food while drinking, and body mass index [BMI]) that may characterize users. Participants were 686 (73% female) undergraduate students who completed self-reports of alcohol use (including diet mixer use), alcohol-related problems, eating behaviors while drinking, sensation seeking, and demographic information. Results revealed that about 36% of the sample reported consuming alcohol with diet mixers, and users typically consumed this beverage at least once a month. Students who reported mixing alcohol with diet beverages experienced more alcohol-related problems. And, the more frequently one consumed this beverage, the more problems were reported. These associations were found after controlling for typical level of alcohol use and sensation seeking. No differences were observed between user-status on gender, eating behaviors while drinking, and BMI. Our findings suggest that mixing alcohol with diet beverages could be a risk factor for experiencing more alcohol-related harms. Further research is needed to understand this relationship, as it may help guide intervening efforts aimed to reduce alcohol-related risks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health