The effect of food on alcohol absorption and elimination patterns

J Forensic Sci. 1993 Mar;38(2):285-91.


The same nine subjects (six male, three female) were given near bolus doses of alcohol (0.69 g/kg) on two occasions separated by one week. They were instructed to consume the alcohol as rapidly as possible (12.1 min average). The alcohol was consumed after dilution to 15% with fruit punch mix. Both phases of the experiment were conducted in a similar manner with the exception of stomach condition. In Phase I the alcohol was consumed immediately after a large meal. In Phase II, the alcohol was consumed after an approximate 6 h fast. An Intoxilyzer 4011A was used to measure Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC), beginning immediately after the alcohol was consumed and ending approximately 4 h after the end of drinking. The BrACs were measured in grams per 210 L of breath, at approximate 8 min intervals over the course of the experiment. The alcohol absorption and elimination curves were plotted and evaluated for each subject in both experiments. The average time required to reach maximum BrAC was 41 min for both empty and full stomach conditions. The average elimination rate of ethanol was found to be significantly lower after meal (0.017 BrAC/h compared to 0.020 BrAC/h) but the time required to reach zero BrAC was not significantly different (5.01 h full stomach, 5.05 h empty stomach).

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Breath Tests
  • Eating*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Ethanol