If you drive, you’ve probably heard at least a little about the infamous blood alcohol content standard. The magic number these days for using it to determine whether a person is driving drunk is .08. That being said, the issue of how consuming alcohol results in such a measurement over time is very misunderstood.
Let’s say you go to a swinging party. Your friends have already been going at it and the place is a bit wild. You do two shots and drink two mixed drinks in one hour. You are a male. Is your blood alcohol content over .08 or is it not? The answer is highly dependent on time.
The stomach and intestines are the primary absorption organs in the body. They break down materials into usable substances and move them into the body. It is a rather obvious thing to say that this process happens much quicker when consuming pure alcohol versus consuming alcohol with food. Food simply is going to take longer to break down.
So, what impact does all this have on your blood alcohol content level? Well, you are not going to be over .08 blood alcohol level if you do two shots in five minutes. It takes longer for the alcohol to enter your system. Two shots and two mixed drinks in an hour may do it, but you might need more time. What if we measure your blood alcohol content two hours later? You’ll definitely be over the limit because sufficient time will have passed for the alcohol to be consumed.
What about the notion that eating while drinking will slow things down? Well, it is true. A person drinking just plain alcohol might not reach their highest blood alcohol level until a whopping 3 hours after they finish drinking. Add food to the process and that time range can be extended to five or six hours.
This should make you think. How many times have you gone to a party and then reasoned that you were okay to drive because you had not had a drink in two hours? While you might have felt okay, your blood alcohol level would have been through the roof! If pulled over, you would’ve blown a number on a breathalyzer that would have caused you a host of problems and a night in the pokey.