They stand—on wobbly legs—by their sweetener.

You know how to have your passion-pom-pom-tini and drink it, too—with diet mixers that have a fraction of the calories of the sugary stuff. But that "lite" cocktail packs a sneaky punch: A recent study from Northern Kentucky University found that men and women who drank vodka mixed with artificially sweetened mixers had higher breath-alcohol concentrations (about 18 percent higher) than those who drank the same amount of vodka with regular soda. It's not that the fake sugar speeds up the rate of alcohol absorption, explains Dennis Thombs, PhD, from the University of North Texas, whose research has shown similar results. "Instead, it 'allows' the alcohol to be absorbed at a normal rate—as if the mixer is simply water," he says. Sugar-based mixers like soda and juice slow alcohol absorption. So while that diet cocktail won't go straight to your hips, it may go straight to your head.

They "get happy" on the weekends.

Seven: That's the maximum recommended number of weekly drinks for women. Happily, it's the number of drinks you have in a typical week (when it's not vacation, holiday season, BBQ season, wedding season or friends-in-town season, of course). Unhappily, you’re packing them in over 72 hours (i.e., three cocktails at happy hour on Friday, one at brunch Saturday and three at a party on Saturday night). Turns out, it's better for our bodies to spread those seven drinks out over the course of a week, says Joseph Nowinski, PhD, a clinical psychologist affiliated with the University of Connecticut, and the author of Almost Alcoholic. One drink a day—or night—gives your liver ample time to neutralize any toxins, he says. When you have three or more in a row, multiple days in a row, your body may struggle to process the alcohol, and that type of overload has been shown to elevate the risk for colon, breast and liver cancer as well as diabetes.

Next: The times women tend to drink more


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