In a two-part crossover study, ten healthy men drank a moderate dose of ethanol (0.80 g/kg) in the morning after an overnight fast or immediately after breakfast. The breakfast consisted of orange juice (150 mL), fruit yogurt (250 mL), two cheese sandwiches, one boiled egg, and one cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Ethanol was determined in venous blood at various times after the start of drinking by headspace gas chromatography. All subjects felt less intoxicated when alcohol was ingested after breakfast compared with drinking on an empty stomach. The peak BAC (± SD) was 67 ± 9.5 mg/dL (ethanol + food) compared with 104 ± 16.5 mg/dL when the drinking occurred after an overnight fast (P < 0.001). The mean area under the alcohol concentration-time profile (0→6h) was 398 ± 56 mg/dL × h in the fasting state compared with 241 ± 34 mg/dL × h when subjects drank alcohol after the meal (P < 0.001). The time required to metabolize the dose of ethanol was approximately two hours shorter after the subjects had eaten breakfast. These results suggest that food in the stomach before drinking not only leads to a lowering of the peak BAC and diminishes the feelings of intoxication, but also boosts the rate of ethanol metabolism. A food-induced increase in the rate of disposal of ethanol was also confirmed when subjects ate a meal 5 h after drinking, that is, when the postabsorptive phase of ethanol metabolism was well established. The mean rate of disappearance of alcohol from blood was increased by between 36 and 50%.
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