Turns out a rum and Coke may actually be healthier than its sugar-free counterpart, as a new study suggests that diet-drink mixes could lead to higher intoxication levels.

Researchers out of Northern Kentucky University found that the sugar in mixed drinks slows the passage of alcohol from being absorbed in the bloodstream, similar to the effect that food has on blood alcohol levels.

Study volunteers -- eight men and eight women -- were given vodka mixed with a diet beverage, vodka mixed with a sugary drink, and a non-alcoholic placebo.

The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, showed that substituting sugar drinks with diet ones boosted blood alcohol levels by up to 18 per cent.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that the results pose a particular concern for young women.

“Young women often have a lower tolerance to alcohol to begin with, and they’re the mostly like to embrace diet Coke,” she said. “They may think they’re under the legal limit and they can drive, when they’d actually blow over on a breathalyzer.”

Daniluk said those looking for a sweeter cocktail should opt for juices instead of soda.

“Embrace cranberry and vodka versus rum and Coke,” she said. “Juices are naturally sweet and have some health benefits.”