Who gets drunk and why

Consuming food along with alcohol causes it to be absorbed more slowly, since a valve at the base of the stomach closes to allow for digestion before sending it along. Without this stop, the alcohol travels to the small intestine and into the liver faster.

What you eat along with the alcohol doesn’t matter very much in terms of BAC. Fat, in, say, a marbled steak, slows the passage of food through the intestine, but only to a small extent. Likewise, drinking milk before consuming alcohol would have a negligible effect on blood levels.

Weight matters more than height, Dr. Zakhari says. A man who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 180 pounds will be as affected as a man who is 5-foot-4 and 180 pounds. But a man who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds will have a lower BAC after consuming the same amount. Women’s bodies also tend to have less water than men’s, which means the same amount of alcohol will yield an even higher BAC.