How to drink within your limits

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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Man with alcoholic beverage
You have a drink. You worry about driving, passing out or just about stumbling around and you want to avoid that
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Learn how to keep your blood alcohol concentration low.

If you enjoy a drink from time to time or maybe more frequently, the question always arises, how much is enough and how long does alcohol stay in your system?

What is Absorbed?

You have a drink. You worry about driving, passing out or just about stumbling around and you want to avoid that. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, but after it is absorbed into the bloodstream there are only two ways in which it leaves the system. First, about 10 percent of it leaves through external means:  Breath, urine and perspiration. The rest is broken down through the process of metabolism.

Alcohol Levels

Beer, wine and liquor can have the same level of alcohol content. A 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 1.5-ounce glass of sprits and a 5-ounce glass of wine each contain about .6 ounces of alcohol, so how many drinks you have does not necessarily affect how much alcohol you will absorb. To get the equivalent amount of drink that is provided by a 12-ounce bottle of beer you would need 8 shots of liquor, but that would give you 4.8 ounces of alcohol versus the .6 ounces in the one bottle of beer.

Blood Alcohol Concentration

How long does alcohol stay in your system? The answer depends on your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Alcohol is typically metabolized into your system at the rate of .015 of  BAC per hour. If you have a high BAC - say .15 - then divide .15 by .015 and you get 10 hours. This means that it will take 10 hours for the alcohol to be broken down in your system.

If your blood alcohol rate is low - say.02 - then it will take about an hour and 20 minutes for your system to break down the alcohol. If you are trying to get sober, then the faster the breakdown rate takes place, the sooner you will get sober. A slow breakdown means inebriation.

Keeping the Alcohol Level Down

You want to drink, but you want to do it within bounds. How to do that? Eat protein laden foods while drinking. Also, have a non-alcoholic drink between drinks. Limit your drinks per hour and move around. Remember, too, that your body will produce ethanol (an alcohol) to the tune of about an ounce, but that is partly determined by the type of food you eat and your physical constitution.

How Long Will it Take?

Perhaps you don't know what your BAC is, so how do you know how long the alcohol will stay in your system? For each half pint of beer or 25 ml of spirits, it is going to take one hour to burn it out of your body. For every pint of beer you drink, that's two hours before it will wear off. With mixed drinks, it will be an hour for every shot that goes into the drink.

For doubles or drinks based on some heavy pouring, you might want to add at least an hour onto the clock for each one you drink. Suppose you drink one half pint of vodka. How long will that stay in your system? There are approximately 280 ml in one half pint. That means that it will be take more than 10 hours before the alcohol is removed from your body.

So the upshot is to drink responsibly or, as the ad says, not at all.

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