Why Do Carbonated Drinks Get You Drunk Faster?

If you have ever experienced feeling giggly and inebriated after only a few glasses of bubbly champagne on a New Year’s Eve, then that is not simply a case of your body specifically not being able to handle a glass of bubbly. There actually is a reason why carbonated drinks get you drunk faster!

There are several types of alcoholic drinks out there, with varying concentrations of alcohol. It is often assumed that since beer has the least concentration of alcohol, typically, it would be less potent than whiskey or liquor of other kinds. If that is true, then how is it that one starts feeling lightheaded on a single pint of beer?

The carbonated characteristic of alcoholic beverages also makes a huge difference to how potent they might be. The following sections will shed some light on why that might be.

How a Carbonated Drink Inebriates You Faster

The reason why a carbonated drink will get you drunk faster is simply that the drink contains bubbles. When you ingest the drink, the bubbles cause the alcohol to be absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream.

So, even if you are consuming an alcoholic beverage that is relatively less concentrated, if there are bubbles involved, it could cause you to feel drunk faster even if the concentration of alcohol is less. It simply absorbs into your bloodstream a lot quicker.

This is true not only of carbonated alcoholic drinks like beer and champagne but even if you chase liquors like whiskey with a clear soda, it may affect you sooner than if you took the drink with plain water.

Why Does This Happen?

The jury is still out on why exactly this may happen. One theory is that carbonation causes the stomach to distend. When you drink beer, for instance, you may feel bloated. That feeling of bloat probably means that your stomach is distended from the bubbles in the drink.

This may cause the alcohol to move from your stomach to the small intestine a lot quicker. This is often referred to as “gastric emptying”. When the alcohol moves to the small intestine, it is absorbed into the bloodstream from there.

Another theory also suggests that pressure in the stomach increases due to carbonation, which in turn accelerates the process of the alcohol being absorbed into your blood through your stomach lining.

The main process of digestion typically takes place in the small intestine after the stomach breaks the food and liquid down. The alcohol molecule is also often absorbed through the stomach lining, but it happens a lot slower compared to when the substance reaches the small intestine.

At times, the alcohol can also start breaking down in the stomach, depending on whether you have eaten before. When that happens, the potency of the alcohol may also become inactivated. So if the carbonation compels the alcohol to go into the small intestine faster, it will cause you to get drunk faster.

How to Prevent This from Happening?

Some people enjoy the lightheaded buzz they get from a pint of beer or a glass of champagne. But if getting drunk too quickly is not something you enjoy, there are a few things you can do to avoid it.

For starters, you can choose to take your liquor with plain water instead of soda. However, clear soda does make any drink much brighter and a lot more refreshing. So, giving up on soda seems to be like too much to give up only because it may make you feel drunk faster.

Instead, what might work better is to simply eat well before you start drinking. As explained above, if there is already food in your stomach, it will take some time to break down in the stomach before moving onto the small intestine.

So even if bubbles are what cause the carbonated alcohol to reach the small intestine quicker, if there is already food in the stomach, the liquid will not be able to pass through as quickly.

Thus, if you are at a party or if you do not want to dip out before midnight on New Year’s Eve only because you had one too many champagnes, then be sure to load up on the snacks and eat well while you are drinking as well.

Another way to keep things under control is that you should simply space your drinks out. If you find that you tend to get drunk faster on beer or champagne, then perhaps space the drinks out. Take it slow and do not knock back drinks too fast.

If the alcohol is being absorbed quickly anyway, you do not need to have as many drinks. Besides, getting drunk is not always the end result that one is looking for when they consume alcohol.

It can simply be a way to enjoy a social gathering. By spacing your drinks out, you may end up drinking two through dinner instead of four. It can make a huge difference to how you feel in the morning! After all, enjoying a night of partying only to feel terribly uncomfortable the morning after is hardly worth it.

Final Thoughts

There is certainly some evidence to show that carbonated drinks may get you drunk faster. Many of the theories out there are quite convincing and make sense that bubbles in the drink may cause you to feel lightheaded and drunk faster.

However, not all bodies are built the same. For some people, even a fourth glass of bubbly may not make them feel drunk. While others may feel drunk on even a single glass of champagne.

Besides, some people may even enjoy the feeling of being drunk sooner in the night than later. As long as you know when to stop and do not end up getting sick from drinking too much, it is completely alright.

Even what you ate before you started drinking could make a difference to how fast you feel drunk. So simply make smart choices and enjoy the alcohol responsibly!