Should a woman make an effort to drink as the boys do at a party? The perception that women and men have the same drinking tolerance is false.
When compared to men of the same weight, women have a greater increase in intoxication and a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) after consuming an equivalent amount of alcohol.
Medical Support for the Statement
A woman’s body reacts differently to alcohol than a man’s for a number of physiological reasons. Women often have a lower blood volume than men, therefore if they drink the same quantity as a larger guy, they will have a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
If a guy and a woman of equal weight both consume the same amount of alcohol, the lady will experience a greater degree of intoxication. There are a number of good reasons for this:
- In contrast to men, whose bodies are composed of 61% water, women’s bodies contain only 52% water. Therefore, alcohol is diluted more in a man’s body and retained for longer in a woman’s (increasing BAC).
- Women tend to have a higher amount of body fat than men of the same weight, and this impacts how the body processes alcohol. Because fat prevents the dissolution of alcohol, a woman’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises to a higher level after consuming the same amount of alcohol as a guy of a similar weight.
- Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) is an enzyme found in the liver and stomach that aids in the breakdown of alcoholic beverages, and women tend to have lower levels of this enzyme than men. A woman’s BAC rises when she drinks because alcohol isn’t metabolised as efficiently in her body as it is in a man’s.
- Alcohol metabolism may also be affected by the hormonal differences between sexes. The rate at which a woman becomes intoxicated is affected by fluctuations in hormone levels that occur during the menstrual cycle. When a woman is in the premenstrual phase of her cycle (the days leading up to the start of her period), her metabolism of alcohol slows, allowing more of it to reach her system and hastening her inebriation. The oestrogen in birth control tablets and other drugs also slows women’s alcohol metabolism.
Consistent Contrary Evidence to the Health Statement
There are those who are aware that the liver has a limit to the amount of alcohol it can handle in an hour, but who wrongly assume that this limit applies to both sexes equally.
Actually, the claim that women become intoxicated quicker than males is supported by more research than it is refuted by.
Regardless of body size, when men and women consume the same amount of alcohol, the woman will have a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and a more severe intoxication effect.
Differences in hormones, metabolism, and body composition play a role in this. Don’t challenge the guys to a beer pong match because they have a biological advantage.