Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Have you ever considered the reason behind this? Most people are aware that drinking on an empty stomach isn’t recommended, but few people ever bother to take a closer look at the reason. Some of those people think it’s an urban legend like not swimming for a half hour after eating or you’ll get stomach cramps and potentially drown. Sometimes you just do something or don’t do something because you’ve been told your entire life not to.
It’s helpful to understand why not drinking on an empty stomach is a better idea. Drinking is a precarious situation when you let it get out of hand, and a better understanding of this is beneficial. Responsible drinking doesn’t stop at not getting behind the wheel of your vehicle after a cocktail or two. It also entails knowing when to drink, what to drink, and what not to do when you’re in the mood for a glass of vino, a beer, or a mixed drink at happy hour.
Reasons Not to Drink on an Empty Stomach
Drinking on an empty stomach isn’t something your mom told you because she wanted to scare you. Telling you you’ll go blind sitting so close to the television might have been a scare tactic, but there are medical reasons you should never drink on an empty stomach. Grab a burger, order a side of fries, or try a healthy meal prior to having a cocktail. The following five reasons will have you reaching for the menu before your drink comes, and all for very good reasons.
You Get Drunker Faster
The biggest reason you should not drink on an empty stomach is the timeframe in which you could become inebriated. Your body is built to break down alcohol and reduce the effects it has on your body prior to entering your bloodstream, but it doesn’t do that when your stomach is empty. Alcohol metabolizes in the liver, but it also happens in the stomach. Nearly 15% of your alcohol is metabolized in the stomach before it hits your bloodstream, which means you’re getting drunk faster.
You’re Drunk on Fewer Drinks
When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, you don’t need as much to get drunk. If you know for a fact, you can have two glasses of wine and not register as being drunk using a breathalyzer test, try drinking two glasses of wine on an empty stomach and see what the same breathalyzer says. You’re more likely to blow a higher blood alcohol content level than if you ate a meal before consuming your wine. You don’t need as many drinks, and you can make the mistake of thinking you feel just fine when you don’t eat, but you are far drunker than you realize.
You’re More Likely to Get a DUI
Driving under the influence is illegal in every state, and sometimes the limit is under .08 percent. For example, if you are under 21 in most states, blowing anything other than a 0.0 percent on a breathalyzer is considered drunk, and you will get a DUI. If you’re a person who carries a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit is .04 percent in many states. Just because you think you are okay to drive, you are not. You could end up with a DUI when you drink on an empty stomach. It makes you drunker faster, which impairs your judgment faster, which makes you more likely to make a driving mistake and put people’s lives in danger. This includes your life.
You’re More Likely to End Up Sick
When you don’t eat and you drink on an empty stomach, you risk getting sick. No one wants to spend the night vomiting and feeling as if your head is spinning, and the following day is even worse. If you drink on an empty stomach, chances are high you will wake up ill the following day. Eating something like carbohydrates can help speed up the processing of alcohol in your body to leave you feeling better the following day. Eat something and don’t get sick.
You’re More Likely to Suffer from Alcohol Poisoning
If you are a binge drinker, you could end up with something far worse than a hangover. You could end up with alcohol poisoning if you drink on an empty stomach. If your go-to drinking method is to throw back shots and drink a lot of alcohol in a short period of time, you’re more likely to end up with alcohol poisoning on an empty stomach. You must eat to stay healthy.
Health Risks of Drinking on an Empty Stomach
Drinking on an empty stomach is fraught with health risks if you overdo it. It’s important you understand how drinking affects your health and then understand how drinking without food to slow down the travel of alcohol to your bloodstream can further affect your health. To start, you must learn what moderate drinking means. Moderate drinking is approximately one to two 12-ounce beers or 5-ounce glasses of wine per day. The exact amount is unknown, but typically men can drink two drinks per day moderately while women are more likely to only handle one drink per day as a moderate drinker. Anything more than this is heavy drinking.
Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Medical professionals agree that one to two glasses of wine or beer per day can benefit your overall health. Your heart benefits most from moderate drinking, but anything more than this can cause more problems with your heart than it does benefits. Moderate drinking daily can reduce your risk of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and even reduces your risk of stroke and diabetes.
Health Risks of Drinking Too Much
If you drink moderately on an empty stomach, your body feels drunker faster. However, if you drink more than a moderate amount, it doesn’t matter if your stomach is empty or not. You increase your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and you affect your mood. Your sleep suffers, which can cause you to feel depressed. When you don’t sleep well and when you drink too much, you’re more likely to make poor eating choices. You’re more inclined to reach for unhealthy food, which can cause you to gain weight.
You don’t have energy; you feel sick, and you don’t sleep well. This all leads to feelings of depression, fatigue, and a decreased performance throughout the day. You’ll lack motivation, you won’t perform well at work, and you’ll find yourself more inclined to snap at people than you normally do. These feelings can make you want to drink more, which can cause you to become addicted to alcohol. Finally, you put your life and the lives of everyone else on the road at risk if you drink and drive whether you’re drinking on an empty stomach or not.
The Importance of Responsible Drinking
If you will consume alcohol, it’s imperative you learn how to drink responsibly. Not only can this help you financially by allowing you to avoid an expensive DUI conviction, it can benefit your overall health and it can save lives.
No two people are the same which means everyone has a different definition of responsible drinking. One person might not handle liquor at all, but can drink a few beers and be just fine. Another person might never get sick when drinking liquor but cannot stop the illness from coming on when drinking beer. You must know yourself and your alcohol tolerance, and you must never drive even after one drink. That’s the safest way to be responsible.
Eat a meal. Do not drink on an empty stomach. Never get in the car to drive or ride with someone who has been drinking. Either choose a designated driver or call a cab or ride share service. Do not go home with someone you don’t know and do not go out and drink alone without someone you know with you. These are always to stay safe, to avoid illness, and to protect yourself and others. Drinking responsibly is not only safer at the moment, it's better the following day. You always want to wake up feeling good, and that's only possible if you don't overdo it the night before.
Besides learning not to go out drinking on an empty stomach, it’s also helpful to avoid binge drinking. These are serious problems that can cause health issues, danger, and death. Use your best judgment when you drink and know the warning signs of alcohol abuse. If you ever hide your alcohol consumption, drinking alone, a change in your lifestyle or your friends and family are asking you about your alcohol consumption with concern, seek help.