Standardization of alcohol calculations in research

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Aug;30(8):1276-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2006.00155.x.


Background: Nonstandardized reporting of alcohol consumption, definitions of what constitutes a standard drink, and incomplete dosing or estimates of intoxication are common problems in many areas of alcohol research. To enhance communication among scientists and to make interpretation of results more accurate and meaningful, researchers need to apply systematically current scientific principles in calculating drinks, doses, and alcohol concentrations. Basic formulas are compiled and explained to assist alcohol researchers and standardize the reporting and interpretation of alcohol data.

Methods: Basic alcohol calculations are reviewed, and 20 mathematical calculations in alcohol pharmacokinetics and pharmacology are derived. Examples of how each calculation works are presented.

Results: The formulas presented enable researchers to calculate accurately and systematically the amount of alcohol in any beverage and estimate the blood alcohol concentration in a range of subjects with individual characteristics and drinking patterns.

Conclusions: Accurate estimates of alcohol use and intoxication are important in many areas of research. Applying standards to the way alcohol is measured and interpreted enables better communication, more accurate analyses, and, in some cases, may impact the interpretation of results. Regardless of the field of study, alcohol researchers are encouraged to and can apply uniform standards in measuring alcohol consumption and estimating the effects of alcohol using the scientific methodologies described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Animals
  • Ethanol / analysis
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / physiology
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Ethanol