Food and Alcohol Absorption
Many factors affect alcohol absorption and, as an Orange County DUI lawyer can confirm, food has a major impact. The police officers that test for BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) for a suspected DUI might not be fully aware of the way that food interferes with an accurate BAC reading.
Food or drink passes from the stomach to the small intestine. When food and drink are combined, the stomach empties more slowly, decreasing alcohol availability in the bloodstream. So food acts like a sponge in the stomach that delays the absorption time in the small intestine. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream much faster on an empty stomach. Looking at averages, it takes about 15 minutes to 2.5 hours for the body to absorb alcohol without eating. But the range is from 3 to 6 hours on a full stomach.
In other words, if you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you could have been tested for BAC long after you finished drinking, but your slowed rate of absorption (if you consumed alcohol with a full stomach) could have caused a higher result.
An Orange County DUI lawyer will have access to the latest scientific findings about BAC testing. The following chart shows lower peak concentrations of blood alcohol and a delay in reaching peak levels with food in the stomach.
The blood alcohol peak is shown as lower with food. In addition, alcohol is cleared from the body faster with food in the stomach; alcohol clearance is increased by 1 to 2 hours. The alcohol metabolism rate is increased up to 50% compared to the rate on an empty stomach.
So the cliché is true that the impacts of alcohol are mitigated with food. However, the findings are generalized and the exact impact of food and alcohol in specific people is unpredictable. Blood alcohol levels with food vary by individual, by type of food, genetic factors, environment, body type, liver volume and by the type of food and alcohol. Even the time of day, drinking pattern and other factors play a role.
Every person is different and every case is different. One certainty is that if you have been arrested for DUI, you need an expert local lawyer who knows about blood chemistry, DUI tests, the state laws and local courts. Call an Orange County DUI lawyer from the offices of Coffey & Coffey at (800) 706-7888 today.