Does carbonation slow the rate of alcohol absorption?

Short Answer:

No, the Carbonation of an alcoholic drink actually increases the rate of alcohol absorption. The carbonated drinks increase the pressure inside the stomach, and small intestine which forces alcohol to get absorbed more quickly in the bloodstreams. This increase in the absorption rate increases the concentration of alcohol quickly in the blood and hence, we feel drunk quickly.

Have you ever wondered why you get drunk faster when you drink alcohol with carbonated drinks?

Most people believe that carbonated drinks dilute the concentration of alcohol and hence, the carbonation slows down the rate of alcohol absorption in the body. But actually it is a myth.

Actually carbonation increases the rate of alcohol absorption. Yes, you heard that right!

Scientific research also proved that the rate of alcohol absorption gets accelerated inside our body when alcohol is mixed with carbonated drinks.

Let’s find out what happens inside our body when you mix alcohol with carbonated drinks.

When we drink alcohol with carbonated drinks, the pressure inside our stomach increases. This pressure increases the absorption of alcohol by forcing more alcohol into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine linings. Due to this increase in alcohol absorption, we will feel drunk quickly. So even if we compare alcohol served neat and the alcohol served with carbonated drinks, the rate of alcohol absorption will be high and will get drunk faster in the second drink in which alcohol is served with carbonated drinks.

A scientific study conducted by Roberts C & Robinson S.P, also found that alcohol with carbonated water gets absorbed at a faster rate than the neat concentrated alcohol. In this research, scientists prepared three solutions, a) Neat Vodka (37.5 vol %) b) Vodka with water (18.75 vol %) c) Vodka with carbonated water (18.75 vol %) and found a significant difference in absorption rate of these solutions. The solution C containing alcohol with carbonated water had the highest absorption rate (4.39 mg/100ml/min).

This is the reason why we feel the effect of alcohol quickly when our drink is carbonated. Drinks such as beer will make you feel drunk faster than the drinks without carbonation.

Apart from carbonation, there are several factors that affect the absorption of alcohol in the body.

  • The rate of alcohol absorption also depends on how much food you have eaten. A body with an empty stomach can process alcohol 45 times faster than a full stomach because when we eat food, the pyloric valve at the bottom of the stomach will close in order to hold and digest food. Due to this alcohol won’t be able to reach the small intestine and hence the absorption of alcohol will slow down.
  •  Bodyweight also plays a significant role. A large person has more water and blood which dilutes the alcohol concentration and therefore, people with large bodies usually have high alcohol capacity.
  • Your stress level also affects how fast you can get drunk. High stress causes the stomach to directly empties into the small intestine which increases the absorption of alcohol in the linings of the small intestine.
  • We all know the quickly drinking alcohol one after the other will make us drunk faster.
  • It is found that males have the ability to effectively break down alcohol as compared to females. Due to this, women get drunk faster than men.  

Professor Atom

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Professor Atom is a science enthusiast and alumni of IIT Bombay. According to him, every question can be solved with curiosity and mind mapping. ( Curiosity = Asking Questions = Learning )

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