What happens next - in detail
- the ability of the liver to metabolise alcohol (which varies due to genetic differences in the liver enzymes that break down alcohol)
- the presence or absence of food in the stomach (food dilutes the alcohol and dramatically slows its absorption into the bloodstream by preventing it from passing quickly into the small intestine)
- the concentration of alcohol in the beverage (highly concentrated beverages such as spirits are more quickly absorbed)
- how quickly alcohol is consumed
- body type (heavier and more muscular people have more fat and muscle to absorb the alcohol)
- age, sex, ethnicity (eg, women have a higher BAC after drinking the same amount of alcohol than men due to differences in metabolism and absorption – since men have, on average, more fluid in their body to distribute alcohol around than women do, some ethnic groups have different levels of a liver enzyme responsible for the break down of alcohol)
- how frequently a person drinks alcohol (someone who drinks often can tolerate the sedating effects of alcohol more than someone who does not regularly drink).