The most effective means of measuring a person’s alcohol metabolism rate is not necessarily the matter of time by which they take in alcohol, but rather their gender and body type. Men process alcohol around twice as fast as women, making it easier for women to feel the effects without heavy drinking. Lighter bodies have more difficulty processing alcohol, while the alcohol metabolism rate of heavier bodies works faster and comes to a peak sooner. All alcohol must be removed from the body by an extensive system of digestion; while it may take only minutes to register a blood alcohol content that is low, it takes nearly twenty four hours for it to completely leave the body.
When beer, wine, or liquor is ingested, the enzymes within the human stomach can only metabolize a certain part of it. No other form of food or beverage packs as much calories into a small area as alcohol, making it difficult for the body to process it quickly. Your liver operates as a filter in which the separate components of alcohol will be weeded out into water and sucrose (the fermented sucrose in fruit or grain provides the alcoholic content of drinks). Sucrose is then broken down into carbon dioxide. This process can be completed in as little as thirty minutes, if a small amount of alcohol is consumed; by this point, most of the substance will have been filtered out of the blood and a person will feel normal. When you take more than one drink, however, it can take as long as an hour and a half for the peak metabolism to occur, meaning that your bloodstream will still be strongly alcoholic long after you have finished drinking.
Your alcohol metabolism rate depends upon several other factors. If you have the ability to drink and flush large quantities of water (by sweat or urine), you can reduce the blood rate by as much as twenty percent. Likewise, you can slow down the process of metabolism by eating large amounts of high-fat foods, which take the longest for the digestive system to process. Alcoholic beverages consumed alongside food may take three hours to fully process, while persons drinking on an empty stomach will feel the effects of their drinks faster, they can also eliminate it from their body twice as quickly. Certain prescription medications can also render your digestive system less capable of processing nutrients and calories.