Why You Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol on an Empty Stomach

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol on an Empty Stomach

In some people, the blood sugar level can drop quickly when drinking alcohol.

Photo: Helena Lopes / Pexels

You may have noticed that when you drink alcohol on an empty stomach you get drunk faster. Food helps slow your body’s absorption of alcohol. Eating something before you drink can benefit you in a number of ways besides preventing you from getting drunk quickly.

Food changes the way alcohol processes in your body. According to a study published in 2005 in BMJ indicates that Food and carbohydrates in particular slow down the absorption of alcohol.

Reasons not to drink on an empty stomach

1. Higher blood alcohol level

Eating before drinking is recommended because it is difficult for the body to break down and remove alcohol from the bloodstream as quickly as it is drunk. The blood carries alcohol to different parts of the body, including the brain, liver, and kidneys.

When drinking on an empty stomach, alcohol passes quickly through the stomach and into the small intestine. This intensifies all the side effects of drinking, such as difficulty thinking clearly and moving with coordination.

2. Hypoglycemia

In people with diabetes, drinking alcohol can lower or raise blood sugar. When you drink alcohol, your liver needs to break it down. As the liver processes alcohol, it stops releasing glucose. As a result, your blood sugar level can drop rapidly.

Experts from the American Diabetes Association note that To prevent hypoglycemia, do not drink on an empty stomach. People should make sure they have food on hand while drinking and monitor their blood sugar frequently, up to 24 hours after they stop drinking.

3. Rescue

Among the recommendations to avoid hangovers shared by the UK National Health Service (NHS) is not to drink on an empty stomach. Before you start drinking, enjoy a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats to help slow the absorption of alcohol into the body.

4. Irritation in the stomach

Alcohol can gradually irritate, inflame, and erode the stomach lining. Increases stomach acid production, which can contribute to ulcer formation.

Eating before you drink can also help you drink less. Eating at least an hour before drinking is recommended if you plan to have more than one drink in a single sitting and not drink more than one standard drink per hour.

It may interest you: