Have you ever noticed how some nights it seems like you can drink all night long and never feel completely plastered? Other nights, it’s two drinks and you are done. Why is this? Does your tolerance just randomly decide to man-up on some nights and show that bottle of tequila who’s boss and then on other nights, does it just decide to lay low?
Your tolerance does not have a mind of its own, but there is a science to the study of how to drink wisely and not end up sloshed. Keep in mind that the number of drinks you have is not the only factor in this equation.
The Chugging Factor
The first factor is how quickly you drink. If you chug your beer or take a shot of hard liquor, the alcohol will be absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream and make you feel more intoxicated more quickly. However, the opposite is also true. If you sip a strong rum drink over the course of an hour, you are much less likely to feel as buzzed as soon. You are still drinking one standard drink, but since you are spacing it out, your body has more time to absorb the liquor and you will not feel as intoxicated.
The Fizz Factor
If your drink has bubbles, it will be absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream. This is why many mixed drinks have a splash of soda water in them. The soda water is not added for flavor, but to increase the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol. Take a glass of white wine versus a glass of champagne: They both have relatively low percentages of alcohol, but most people usually feel tipsier after a glass of champagne. The reason is the carbonation in the champagne. Interesting, huh?
The Food Factor
I’m not advocating driving through a fast-food restaurant every night before you start drinking, but I do suggest eating something. When you have something in your stomach, your blood has more than just alcohol to absorb. Try eating something with some oils or fats in it, because oils and fats slow the rate your body absorbs the alcohol. A handful of mixed nuts, some cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich are all good options.
The Diet Soda Factor
Mixed drinks made with diet soda are more easily absorbed into the blood stream than drinks made with regular soda. This probably has to do with the calories from the sugar in regular drinks. Your body has to absorb these calories at the same time it is trying to absorb the alcohol; the result is that less alcohol can be consumed at once.
Having a social drink can be fun. It gives you a chance to unwind after a stressful week of class and it allows you to reconnect with your friends. But before a little fun turns into a night of debauchery, keep these tips in mind for how to drink wisely and avoid overdoing it.
Here’s to a safe weekend of fun!