Remember these 6 factors that can affect BAC when estimating a person’s intoxication levels.
We know that the amount of alcoholic drinks a person consumes directly impacts their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). But are there any other factors that can increase a person’s BAC?
We’ve outlined 6 additional factors for alcohol servers and bartenders to consider when keeping track of their customers’ level of intoxication.
A smaller person would have a higher BAC than a larger person who consumed an equal amount of alcohol in the same amount of time. This is because the larger person has more blood to dilute the alcohol, making their BAC lower.
People with more body fat would have a higher BAC than those with lower body fat if they drank the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time. Body fat can’t absorb alcohol, making alcohol stay in the bloodstream until the liver can break it down. In people with less body fat, alcohol can pass through muscle and spread throughout the body.
Typically, a woman’s BAC would be higher than a man’s after consuming the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time, due to several factors:
- Women generally have more body fat than men.
- They have a smaller amount of a specific enzyme that helps break down alcohol.
- Women are usually smaller than men, meaning they have less blood to dilute the alcohol.
4. Type of drink
The type of alcoholic drink a person is consuming can affect their BAC. Mixed drinks and cocktails might have a higher alcohol content than a beer if the cocktail recipe calls for more than one standard serving of liquor. This means more alcohol will end up in the bloodstream, raising the person’s BAC.
Have you ever noticed that drinking carbonated alcoholic drinks like champagne makes you feel more intoxicated, faster? That’s because carbonated alcoholic drinks can also affect BAC levels. Carbonation increases the rate at which alcohol passes from the stomach to the small intestine, making a person’s BAC go higher, faster.
The enzymes that help break down alcohol tend to slow down as we get older. Body fat also typically increases with age. That means an older person would generally have a higher BAC than a younger person if they consumed the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time.
6. Food consumed while drinking
A person who doesn’t have any food in their stomach or intestines would have a higher BAC than a similar person who has eaten. This is because the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream slows down when there is food in a person’s digestive system. The effects of alcohol are also delayed when alcohol absorption is slowed. However, the liver will continue to metabolize alcohol at the same rate, meaning that eating food will not help a person get sober any quicker.
There are a lot of different factors to keep in mind when trying to estimate a person’s BAC. These factors, combined with behavioral and physical signs, can help you determine whether or not it’s time to stop service to a customer.
By taking Userve’s Alcohol Server Course, you can be confident that you have the right tools and knowledge to empower you to connect with your customers while still serving alcohol responsibly.