Evaluation of How Food and Alcohol Consumption Affects Body and Mind

Pierce County DUI lawyer explains how food affects alcohol absorption

In my work as a Pierce County DUI lawyer, I have developed a strong working knowledge of the complex chemistry of alcohol absorption, distribution, and elimination. A number of genetic and environmental factors are involved, including gender, body composition, food consumption, liver volume, ethnicity, and the individual’s drinking pattern,. To some extent, the type of alcohol consumed also plays a role in the absorption rate. Let’s look more closely at one of these factors: food.  South King County DUI Lawyer


Food has a measurable impact on alcohol absorption

The amount and type of food present in the digestive tract will have a direct and measurable effect upon an individual’s alcohol absorption rate.

On an empty stomach, most people absorb alcohol within 15 minutes to 2.5 hours. When a moderate amount of food is consumed with the alcohol, the absorption time increases to anywhere from 30 minutes to 3.0 hours. On a full stomach, the typical range increases to 3 to 6 hours.

Any food in the stomach can slow the movement of alcohol into the small intestine, where the vast majority of absorption takes place. As the graph below illustrates, the net effect of food in the stomach on the typical blood-alcohol curve is

(1) a decreased area under the blood alcohol concentration curve;

(2) a lower peak concentration; and

(3) greater time to reach peak.

Since the maximum concentration reached is less, a person who has the lower peak alcohol level takes a shorter time to clear the alcohol from the body than one who has a higher peak level. Consumption of alcohol with food can increase the time it takes too clear the alcohol from the body =by 1 to 2 hours, and increase the alcohol metabolism rate by 36% to 50%, as compared to consumption on an empty stomach. The type of food consumed also appears to have an effect.


Contact an experienced Pierce County DUI lawyer

Although food clearly changes the shape of the blood-alcohol curve, it is difficult to predict the exact effect on a particular individual. If you would like me to review the facts of your case, please use the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to tell me about your situation, or call or email me directly.


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