Drinking On An Empty Stomach

By James Madeiros


The human body is a wondrous and mysterious machine. But, modern science has solved many of these mysteries, some of which are easily digestible by the layperson … pun intended.

Simply put, the membrane lining the stomach is highly absorbent. And, alcohol is easily broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream when that stomach is empty. So, if there’s nothing else in there to absorb and so slow the otherwise immediate absorption process, a person will get drunk quicker than if she or he had eaten first.

The small intestine, though, usually absorbs more alcohol than the stomach. And, food interrupts the absorption of alcohol in the small intestine. But, this is only one of many factors that determine how fast a person loses the ability to walk a straight line.

Most notably, size and liver function control the rate of intoxication. A big person has more blood than a small person, and therefore has more blood needed to saturate with alcohol to cause intoxication. And, a high-functioning liver can metabolize alcohol more efficiently than one that has gone on an indefinite lunch break due to overwork.

The goal is to avoid putting your liver out of work in the first place. Help avoid liver damage by limiting alcohol intake (also know as moderation!), especially on an empty stomach. Having food in the stomach (especially fats, proteins, and dense carbohydrates) can slow the absorption process and give the liver more time to process the alcohol.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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