If You’re Going to Drink, Keep Your BAC Low


I understand that sometimes the lure of a frosty tall boy can conquer even the strongest of designated driver willpowers. Sometimes, you don’t anticipate becoming a designated driver after you’ve had a few. You’ve now got a bone to pick with your buddy who said he would be the designated driver but just accepted a challenge to a chugging contest. If you’re going to drink, regardless of scenario, keep your blood alcohol content low.

Are you really safer drinking that beer instead of a gin and tonic? The average beer is 12 ounces in volume and 5% of that volume is ethanol (alcohol). The math to determine how many ounces of alcohol you’re drinking is calculated by multiplying the number of ounces by the percentage of ethanol: 12 x .05 = .6 ounces. When you drink your average beer, you’re drinking .6 ounces of alcohol. Your average drink usually has between 1 and 2 ounces of alcohol. The rest of your drink is whatever mixer you prefer; coke, tonic, ginger ale, etc. The majority of spirits used for mixed drinks (gin, whiskey, vodka, rum, etc.) are 80 proof. This means that the majority of alcohol used for mixed drinks is 40%. Assuming that the bartender uses two ounces (two shots worth) of alcohol, the calculation to determine how many ounces of ethanol you’re drinking is: 2 x .4 = .8 ounces. When you drink your average well mixed drink, you’re drinking .8 ounces of alcohol. Now that you know that a beer and a mixed drink almost have the same amount of alcohol, stick with the beverage you’re less likely to drink quickly. Many people have different tolerances to alcohol. Know your limit. Don’t offer to be the designated driver if you haven’t had a drink since 2004, but want to try the fruity rum drink special. Eat. Eat. Eat. Yes, it’s true. Eating while you drink slows the absorption of alcohol in your body. Don’t think about how many hands have been dipped into that bowl of pretzels or peanuts.  Just put a handful in your mouth and start chewing. You’ll thank me later. Lastly, sip your drink. Your drunk friends aren’t going to know that you’ve fallen behind. If they ask, just tell them that you’ve lapped them.

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