By Leslie Goldman
Updated December 19, 2008

Kissing under the mistletoe after a glass of wine at a friends holiday party? Good. Making out in the supply closet after getting trashed on rum and Diet Coke at the office bash? Bad. Very bad.

Be careful when mixing hard alcohol with anything containing artificial sweeteners. A recent Australian study suggests liquor combined with an artificially sweetened mixer raises blood alcohol levels more—and hits you harder—than the same drink made with a regular mixer. Why? Sugar in a drink makes the liver get rid of alcohol faster, explains Robert Swift, MD, PhD, associate director of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. No sugar may save calories, but you wont care the morning after a drunken visit to the supply closet.

    3 more strategies for drinking without bombing
  • Sip in moderation. For a woman, Swift says, that means only one standard drink per hour if you dont want to get tipsy: 5 to 6 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or one mixed drink.
  • Switch off. If you have more than one drink, alternate alcohol with water or juice.
  • Drink on a full stomach. Eating slows alcohol absorption, Swift says. High-carb foods like pasta work best.

Did you overdo it? Here how to heal any type of hangover.