Estimates of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) typically are based on the amount of alcohol consumed per pound bodyweight. This method fails to consider food intake and body composition, which significantly affect BAC. A laboratory experiment was conducted to examine amount and type of food and time of food intake in relation to alcohol intake and BAC. Protein and carbohydrates were more effective than fatty food in reducing the BAC expected in a fasted state. Moderate to large amounts of food, such as a typical full meal, were more effective than lesser amounts, but a small amount of food had some effect. Time intervals of 1/2 to 4 hours between eating and drinking were studied; the 1/2 hour interval was most effective in an inverse relationship. At 4 hours there was no food effect. In a study of body composition and BAC, 20 men and women were subjects. Estimates of percent body fat were calculated using body circumferences or skinfolds. Subject were given .68 g alcohol/Kg bodyweight, and the relationship of BAC to body fat estimate was analyzed. The method of BAC estimates based on body fat estimates may be useful for scientific purposes but appears not to be feasible for widespread use. The data suggest that, compared to men, women will reach the same BAC with 15% less alcohol, based on ounces of alcohol per pound weight. The overweight person will reach the same BAC as an average weight person with 10% less alcohol. These findings reflect male-female differences in body composition and the higher percent fat in the obese body.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • See also report dated Aug 80, PB81-114761.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Southern California Research Institute

    2033 Pontius Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90025

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Burns, M
    • Moskowitz, H
  • Publication Date: 1980-12

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 103 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00329131
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Rpt., HS-805 727
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-8-01999
  • Created Date: Jun 12 1982 12:00AM