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New Jersey DWI Alcohol Absorption Rates

Each person’s ability to absorb, distribute and eliminate alcohol varies greatly. Factors such as body composition, gender, food consumption, liver volume, and even ethnicity all play a role.

The type of alcohol a person drinks is also a factor, along with the time of day the drinking occurred and the pattern of alcohol consumption.  But it is food that has the most direct measurable effect on the rate of alcohol consumption.

Food Is a Critical Factor

The amount of time it takes for the contents in the stomach to move to the small intestine is also an important factor in the absorption rate. Food can act like a sponge and delay alcohol’s movement into the small intestine, where the vast majority of absorption takes place, and decreases the amount of alcohol present in the blood stream.

The following are approximations of the time it takes a person to absorb alcohol based on the amount of food in his or her stomach:

  • No food: 15 minutes to 2.5 hours
  • Moderate amount of food: 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Full stomach: 3 to 6 hours

Consuming alcohol with food increases the rate of alcohol metabolism by as much as 36% to 50%, as compared to drinking on an empty stomach.