Drinking On An Empty Stomach Is Riskier Than You Think

While it may not seem like it, drinking on an empty stomach can actually affect the way your body processes alcohol. In fact, not having any food in your stomach can speed up the rate at which alcohol is absorbed in your body (via HuffPost). That's because 80 percent of the alcohol you consume is most quickly absorbed in the bloodstream through the small intestine. However, it is up to your stomach to determine how quickly or slowly that process will play out.

Since any alcohol you consume goes to your stomach before it can enter your small intestine, food plays an important role in how your body processes alcohol. Eating a meal before drinking slows down the absorption of alcohol in your body (via Healthline). While everyone absorbs alcohol differently, a full stomach can prevent alcohol from passing into the small intestine too quickly. When alcohol is absorbed too fast, it amplifies the side effects of drinking, impairing your judgement and coordination. In other words, drinking on an empty stomach can make you feel buzzed or drunk more quickly.

How to recover from drinking on an empty stomach

If you know you're going to be in a social situation where there will be alcohol but no food, you might want to eat an hour beforehand, or sip your drink over a lengthy period of time. While the general rule of thumb is to not drink more than one alcoholic beverage per hour, it's important to keep in mind that different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol. A glass of wine will have a stronger effect than most cans or bottles of beer, and mixed drinks will likely have a higher alcohol content than a glass of wine.

Regardless of what you choose to drink, consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can often result in a hangover. While hangovers are typically harmless, they can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. Common symptoms of an average hangover include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sensitivity to light and sound, headaches, and excessive thirst.

If you think you have a hangover and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should stay hydrated and get some rest. If you're not too nauseous to eat, you can try eating plain foods like dry toast or crackers to help settle your stomach. You can also take over the counter pain relievers to help ease your headache.