Effects of drinking on an empty Stomach

THE CLAIM — Never drink on an empty stomach.

THE FACTS — It’s an age-old rule about drinking, one that everyone knows and most people have broken: always fill up on food before filling up on alcohol.

Common wisdom, of course, suggests a simple reason, that drinking on an empty stomach will lead to intoxication more quickly. But just how much of a difference does eating before imbibing really make?

According to several studies and experts on alcohol, a lot. In 1994, one team of Swedish researchers set out to answer the question by having a group of 10 people consume a few drinks on two separate days.

In one case they drank after an overnight fast, and in the other, they drank after they ate a modest breakfast.

On the day the subjects ate, the rate of intoxication was slower, even though the amount of alcohol had not changed. But the subjects also reached significantly lower blood-alcohol levels over all — on average about 70 percent of what they were on the day they skipped breakfast.

In some cases, the study found, having a meal before drinking kept a person from climbing over the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in most states.

Dr. Harris B. Stratyner, an addiction specialist and associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said it all had to do with metabolism.

As soon as alcohol is consumed, he said, the body starts to break it down, but some is always absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Having food in the stomach — particularly proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates — slows that absorption process.

The things that speed it up are carbonated mixers, like soda, and higher temperatures. (Warm drinks are absorbed faster.) Once alcohol is in your blood, Dr. Stratyner said, neither coffee nor a cold shower will get it out any faster.

THE BOTTOM LINE — Drinking on an empty stomach makes you drunk faster.- ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Things to consider eating before drinking bedsides Nyama Choma




Alcohol changes your body’s stores of glycogen, a quick energy source stored in the liver Carbs help your glycogen levels stay full, as well as your stomach. This is something that can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and meat eaters




Protein-rich foods take longer to digest, which slows how fast your blood alcohol level goes up. So next time you go out drinking with friends you may want to consider ordering a chicken choma before drinking or even a chicken sandwich.



Alcohol depletes your body’s vitamin B-12 levels, but salmon has super-high levels of said vitamin (and omega 3’s, because this piece of fish is a gosh darn overachiever). Nutritionist Marina Chaparro, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD says that those B-vitamins “have many physiological functions in the body,” that include the promotion of short-term memory and general neurological function




The incredible, edible food that definitely came before the chicken is not only one of the best foods to cure your hangover, it’s also one of the best foods to eat before you do things that cause you to get one in the first place. That’s due to its “essential amino acids needed to help break down some of the alcohol,” according to King.