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Alcohol
All the details
What is alcohol?
• A liquid, produced by the fermentation (aging) or
distillation (boiling/heating) of sugar or starch, that is
the intoxicating agent in fermented drinks.
• There are three different categories of alcohol: beer,
wine and liquor.
• The difference between the three is what sugar or
starch they are made from, as well as the concentration
of alcohol.
Three categories
• Liquor – includes alcohol such as whiskey, tequila,
rum, vodka and gin. Made by distilling sugars.
Highest alcohol concentration
• Wine – made from fermenting fruit and other sugars
over time. Medium alcohol concentration
• Beer – made from fermenting starches/wheat. Lowest
alcohol concentration
Path through the
body
• Mouth: alcohol enters the body.
• Stomach: some alcohol gets into the bloodstream in the stomach,
but most goes on to the small intestine.
• Small Intestine: alcohol enters the bloodstream through the walls
of the small intestine.
• Heart: pumps alcohol throughout the body.
• Brain: alcohol reaches the brain.
• Liver: finally, alcohol is oxidized by the liver at a rate of about 0.5
oz per hour.
• Alcohol is converted into water, carbon dioxide and energy.
Standard drink
• The serving size for “one standard drink” of alcohol is
different for each of our three categories, however
because of the difference in alcohol concentration, each
standard drink has about the same amount of alcohol.
One shot (1.5 oz) of liquor One glass (4 oz.) of wine
One can/bottle (12 oz.) of beer
Standard drinks
•
Concentration
• Alcohol concentration – the percentage of the entire fluid
that is made up of pure concentrated alcohol.
• Blood alcohol concentration – a comparison of the amount
of alcohol to the amount of blood in someone’s system.
• Typical alcohol concentrations:
Beer ~ 5%
Wine ~ 12%
• Legal B.A.C. limits for drivers in WA state
under 21 = 0%
21 and over = .08%
Liquor ~ 40%
B.a.c. factors
• Gender
• According to the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation, a man and a woman who consume the
same number of alcoholic beverages will normally
have different BAC levels. A woman's will be higher
because a female body contains less water and more fat
tissue, which is not as readily penetrated by alcohol.
b.a.c. factors
• Drinks per Hour
• When it comes to alcohol consumption and blood
alcohol concentration, every person is different. The
speed at which your body processes alcohol differs
from one person to the next. In general, any more than
one alcoholic drink per hour is too much for a liver to
metabolize (process). One drink is considered to be 12
ounces of beer, 4 to 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of
hard liquor.
b.a.c. factors
• Body weight
• The larger a person is, the more blood in his/her
system. It is easier to increase a smaller/lighter
person’s B.A.C. because of the fact there is less blood.
Women are generally smaller than men. It might take
only one drink for a woman (or man) who weighs less
than 120 pounds to fail a BAC test. Someone who
weighs many pounds more could consume slightly
more alcohol because of his/her larger blood volume.
b.a.c. factors
• Food
• According to the Mayo Clinic, if your stomach is
empty while you're drinking, approximately 20 percent
of the alcohol you consume can rush to your brain in
less than 60 seconds. When there is food in your
stomach, alcohol absorbs more gradually into the
blood stream.
• NOTE: this is food in the system BEFORE the person
drinks, eating afterwards is NOT going to sober a
person up faster.
b.a.c. myth
• Coffee Myth
• The Mayo Clinic says drinking coffee will in no way
help sober you up faster. Time is the only thing that
will lower blood alcohol level. There is nothing to do
but wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol.