Don’t Drink Alcohol on an Empty Stomach

by David J. Hanson, Ph. D.

Most people realize that drinking alcohol on an empty stomach should be avoided because it leads more quickly to intoxication. But what most people don’t realize is what a big difference drinking with food in the stomach can really make.

For example, Swedish researchers had a group of people consume a few drinks after an overnight fast. The next day they had the group consume the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time after eating a modest breakfast. After having breakfast, the group had a much lower average blood alcohol level --- only 75% of the BAC reached when drinking on an empty stomach.

Things that slow down intoxication include drinking more slowly and eating food -- especially proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates. Things to be avoided  because they speed up alcohol absorption include carbonated drinks and warmer drinks, both of which are absorbed faster.

 

Reference:

  • O’Connor, Anahad. The claim: Never drink on an empty stomach. New York Times, December 6, 2005.

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