Melinda Beck asks “How much alcohol does it take to get intoxicated?” for the Wall Street Journal:
Many people figure a few beers at a ballgame or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner won’t put them over the legal limit for driving. But how alcohol affects people is highly individual, with a number of factors in the mix.
Quick shots of liquor hit the bloodstream faster than slow sips of wine. Drinking on an empty stomach impairs reflexes more than consuming alcohol with food. And women and older drinkers generally hit legal intoxication levels sooner than men and younger people.
Carbonated beverages raise alcohol levels faster, because the gas irritates the stomach lining, causing alcohol to be absorbed faster. (Sweet or caffeinated alcoholic drinks aren’t absorbed any faster, it just seems that way because people often consume more of them than they realize.)
Many Asians have a genetic variation that gives them a flush and a very rapid heartbeat from even a small amount of alcohol.
And factors like fatigue, stress, illness and depression can magnify alcohol’s impact…
[continues in the Wall Street Journal]