There are a lot of myths out there about how to lower your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in order to sober up. Whether you’re planning to drive or having a drink at home, at some point you’ve probably considered a cup of coffee or a cold shower. But what affects Blood Alcohol Concentration, and how can you lower it?

A variety of alcohol bottles lined up on a shelf in a bar.

What Affects Blood Alcohol Concentration

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) refers to the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream. Your body metabolizes alcohol through the liver, but it takes time. There are several things that can impact your BAC. The first, as you might expect, is how much alcohol you consume (and how quickly). In addition, your size will impact your BAC, because a larger body has more blood, meaning that drink for drink the alcohol will be more “diluted” in the bloodstream.

There are also things that can impact how quickly your body absorbs alcohol, or how quickly it is metabolized out of your bloodstream. Drinking when there is food in your stomach will slow the body’s absorption of alcohol. Enzyme levels and medications can impact the way your body metabolizes alcohol.

Lowering your BAC

So once you’ve imbibed, how do you lower your BAC? There are lots of myths about BAC:

Myth: drinking black coffee will help you sober up

Myth: taking a cold shower will lower your BAC

Myth: drinking lots of water or eating greasy food will help

Truth: Unfortunately, once the alcohol is in your bloodstream, nothing can lower your BAC except time. Your body will metabolize the alcohol over time, and it’s just a waiting game.

However, drinking lots of water may prevent or minimize a hangover, so all is not lost!

How To Keep your BAC Low

The best approach is to keep your BAC from getting too high in the first place. Pay attention to how much you’re drinking. If you’re out at a bar, instead of opening a tab, pay for each drink as you order it. This will help keep you from ordering additional rounds without paying attention. And remember, while drinking more water or eating a meal may not lower your BAC, it will significantly slow the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol.

Most importantly, never drink and drive! Remember that when you are impaired by alcohol you are likely to overestimate your ability to drive and underestimate your level of impairment. Plan on a designated driver or plan to take a cab or public transportation.

Categories: DUI / DWI

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