How is Light Beer Light? Sugar & Drunkenness

By Mary Ann

Today’s college students are finding new ways to get drunk faster. Whether its drinking a beer with a straw to chugging sugary alcoholic drinks. But you should always watch your alcohol intake and the excessive drinking will always increase your blood alcohol content.

Check out how sugar plays a role in the drunkenness in this interactive infographic.

How is Light Beer Light?

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How is Light Beer LIGHT? Sugar & Drunkenness

Talk to any college student and you’ll hear a number of ways to get drunk faster, ranging from drinking your beer with a straw to chugging sugary mixed drinks. While some of these have absolutely no scientific proof, sugar certainly has its place when it comes to intoxication. But even drinking a light beer or diet mixed drink might not save you from a hangover and you should still monitor your alcohol intake.

Do Sweet Drinks Really Get You Drunk Faster?
This is where we dive into the science. Let’s take a look at how sugar and sweet drinks can affect your night out.

  • Carbonation may get you drunk faster
  • Technically, carbonated drinks may speed up the absorption of alcohol, so a rum and Coke may get you drunk faster than just a shot of rum.
  • Most carbonated drinks are sweet, but even a diet Coke may speed the process up.
  • Sweet drinks go down faster
  • Mixed or sweet drinks can be easier to drink than straight alcohol.
  • You may not notice the amount of alcohol that you’re drinking when you down several vodka cranberries, as opposed to doing shots.
  • Sugar slows the alcohol
  • Sugar in alcoholic drinks slows the digestive process and prevents the alcohol from moving into the small intestine as quickly, where it will be absorbed faster.
  • Be aware that drinking sweet drinks may make you feel less intoxicated in the beginning, but it will hit later.

Other Factors in Intoxication
The actual drinks aren’t the only factor when it comes to intoxication. You actually have a number of things to consider:

  • Gender
  • Women tend to be smaller than men and to have more fat, so the same drinks will usually result in a higher concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream of a female than in a male.
  • Body Size
  • The larger you are, the more blood you have, which means alcohol is more diluted in larger
  • Genetics
  • It would appear that different races absorb alcohol at different rates, so your genes may affect how drunk you get.
  • Age
  • Older and younger people seem to take longer to get drunk because their bodies may process alcohol slower.

Diet or Light Drinks
Most diet drinks are simply low-caloric forms of the regular ones. In the case of diet soda, which is frequently used in mixed drinks for those trying to watch their weight, the sugar is replaced by aspertame or sucralose, which have virtually no calories.

  • Drinks made with diet sodas still have calories from the alcohol.
  • Diet mixed drinks made with carbonated liquid may boost intoxication.

The Making of Light Beer
Light beer is legally defined as having 20% fewer calories than regular beer. This will vary from brewery to brewery, depending on how many calories they usually have in their beer. Rumors circulate about breweries simply adding water to their regular beer to make it light, but in most cases, it’s a little more complicated.

  • Light beers tend to have .5% less alcohol.
  • Some light beers are brewed to have a higher alcohol level, then diluted to reach the correct balance.
  • This method is more efficient because you can brew 10,000 barrels and get 13,000 barrels worth of light beer.
  • This is done by using rice or other grains that will ferment better, creating a higher alcohol content and turning more sugars into alcohol.
  • Some breweries simply add less “fuel” during the fermentation process, resulting in fewer carbs, and therefore fewer calories.
  • There are 1,545 breweries in the U.S.
  • That’s more breweries than any other country in the world.

Alcohol is always going to contain some calories, so it’s up to you to decide just how many are acceptable. Remember that sugary drinks can still make you drunk, though it may take longer, while carbonation may cause the alcohol to affect you sooner. Always note how much alcohol you are drinking, no matter how you feel and never drink and drive.

Provided by Total DUI.



Chicago Tribune Headline: “Tank Johnson wasn’t legally drunk”

By Mary Ann

The Chicago Tribune’s Headline that former Bears’ player “Tank Johnson wasn’t legally drunk” when he was arrested for DUI in Gilbert Arizona isn’t quite right. Johnson was waived by the Bears following his arrest. He has already served time in jail on gun charges and was suspended by the NFL for the first eight games of the upcoming season.

The Tribune reports that Johnson’s blood alcohol level was 0.072 percent, below the presumptive level of 0.08 percent. Charges have yet to be filed in the matter.

It is a common misunderstanding that a driver is only DUI if his BAC is at least 0.08 percent. This is untrue. Johnson was charged under Arizona’s DUI law which states that is unlawful for someone to drive “if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.” ARS 28-1381(A)(1).

Every state has a presumptive BAC of 0.08 percent. When a driver has a BAC above the presumptive level, the burden of proof switches from the government to the accused.

A judge or jury, in a DUI case, is instructed to take a BAC above 0.08 percent as proof that a driver was DUI. The defendant must prove something was wrong with the breath or blood test.

For the Tribune, and other media outlets, to indicate that Johnson was not DUI aids to the common misconception. If Johnson is not charged with DUI, it will be because the prosecutor believes the testimony of the arresting officer will not be enough, without a presumptive BAC, to convince a jury Johnson was DUI.