The Science of Why You Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol on an Empty Stomach


Last Updated on 2023-03-16 , 9:22 am

How many times have you heard your friends telling you to have your dinner before heading out for drinks?

Why is that so?

The claim is that when you consume alcohol on an empty stomach, you will end up getting inebriated faster.

But how true is that saying?

What happens to our body when we consume alcohol

Once you’re done with your poison of choice, it flows down to your stomach and 25% of the alcohol is absorbed straight from your stomach into the bloodstream.

The rest of it is broken down in your small intestine by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) which breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde.

And then it is converted into acetate by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), and subsequently leaves your body.

Okay, now you what happens to your alcohol but what does that have to do with filling your stomach before drinking?

Never drink on an empty stomach?

Lets put this age-old question to a rest.

The New York Times reported on a study conducted by Swedish researchers circa 1994—a group of 10 consumed a few drinks on two separate occasions.

One right after breakfast and the other after an overnight fast.

The study revealed that the rate of intoxication was slower for the former as compared to the latter despite having consumed the same amount of alcohol in both situations.

Their blood-alcohol levels were higher by 30% on the day they fasted.

Why is that so?

According to Dr Harris B. Stratyner, an addiction specialist and associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center mentioned that having food in the stomach slows down the absorption process.

Remember, I told you that 25% of the alcohol is absorbed straight into the bloodstream via stomach—the food basically acts as a hindrance as the rate of absorption is reduced.


So if your stomach is empty, 25% of that alcohol goes straight to your blood post-haste which then goes to your brain and then you start doing stupid shit like hitting on a girl who is clearly out of your league.

Bottom line

If you want to have a good night with the right amount of buzz, please load up on some food coz’ I clearly don’t see why you would want to sabotage your night by puking and passing out.