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Author Topic: How quickly does the body break down alcohol?  (Read 1236 times)

Jim Sheehan

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How quickly does the body break down alcohol?
« on: 31/10/2010 09:30:10 »
Jim Sheehan  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi all
 
We hear a lot about suitable/desirable levels of alcohol in the blood for drivers but I don't remember anything about how quickly the body reduces these levels. If I consumed one unit of alcohol more than the limit how long would I have to wait before it was legal to drive? Does eating a meal help? Would it take twice as long to absorb 2 units?
 
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Jim Sheehan

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 31/10/2010 09:30:10 by _system »


 

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How quickly does the body break down alcohol?
« Reply #1 on: 31/10/2010 14:43:23 »
It's a complicated question.
Generally, people metabolise about 1 unit per hour. There's nothing you can do to speed it up significantly. Drinking coffee just gets makes you a wide awake drunk.
Eating a meal may help since it slows down the absorption of the alcohol- on the other hand it may mean that at the end of the evening, just as you are planning to set out, the alcohol is just getting started.
Even below the "limit" it may be legal to drive but the alcohol will still slow your reflexes. If you hit someone you might be in the clear legally but you may find that you spend the rest of your life thinking "If I hadn't had that glass of wine...".

Simple answer? Don't drink or get someone else to drive.
 

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How quickly does the body break down alcohol?
« Reply #1 on: 31/10/2010 14:43:23 »

 

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