Alcohol affects everyone differently, but there are some general guidelines to be aware of that might help you decide how much you want to drink on a certain occasion.
Firstly, the body metabolizes alcohol at a rate of about 1 drink per hour. What counts as one drink?
- 5 oz or 120 mL of wine (assuming 12%)
- 12 oz or 355 mL of beer (assuming 5%)
- 1.5 oz or 45 mL of liquor (assuming 40%)
This means your body’s metabolism won’t be able to keep up if you are consuming alcohol at a rate faster than one drink an hour. This will cause blood alcohol content to increase and alcohol will start causing its effects on the body. Keep in mind that all types of alcohol vary in alcohol content percentage. For more info on standard drink sizes and low risk drinking guidelines check out the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse’s website here.
It’s also important to consider that there are many things that can speed up or slow down how fast alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and affect your blood alcohol content once you start drinking, such as:
- Eating food before and while drinking will slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream
- Carbonation speeds up the rate at which alcohol is absorbed
- Alcohol can be absorbed by all the body’s tissues except for fat, so individuals with more fat tissue will have a higher concentration of alcohol in their bloodstream
- Low levels of hydration will cause the concentration of alcohol to be greater in the bloodstream
- Individual differences in metabolism speed
Keeping these things in mind while enjoying your night out can help you minimize harm and reduce alcohol related risks.
For more information, check out our video "Blood Alcohol Concentration".