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Blood Alcohol Concentration

In this section you will learn about: What is a standard drink? What is B.A.C.? What CAN affect your BAC? What does NOT affect your BAC?

What is a drink?


What is B.A.C.?

B.A.C. stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration. It is the amount of alcohol in the blood. Absolute BAC’s can only be obtained by drawing a sample of blood. The best way to determine a reliable estimate is by using a breathalyzer.

What CAN affect your BAC?
  • Number of standard drinks - the more you drink, the higher the BAC
  • How fast you drink - consume quickly, the higher the BAC
  • Gender - females have less water and more body fat so more alcohol remains in the blood meaning women will always have a higher BAC
  • Body weight -the more you weigh, the more water in your body to dilute the alcohol which lowers the BAC
  • Food in your stomach - eating slows alcohol absorption for a lower BAC
  • Body type - alcohol is absorbed by muscle tissue, not fat, the more body fat the higher the BAC will be
  • Fatigue - when tired, the liver is less efficient resulting in a higher BAC
  • Hydration - when the body is dehydrated, BAC rises quicker and for longer
  • Mixer - water and juice mixed with alcohol slows absorption for a lower BAC, carbonated beverages speed up absorption for a higher BAC

What does NOT affect your BAC?
  • Tolerance - tolerance affects HOW you feel, BAC is simply the amount of alcohol in your body; therefore, the more tolerance you have, the harder it is to judge your BAC
  • Type of drink - a standard drink is 1 shot of liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of wine. A drink is a drink, is a drink . . . the quantity not the type of drink affects your BAC
  • Emotions - while they can affect the way you feel from alcohol, it does not effect on your actual BAC
  • Sobering Up Techniques - coffee, cold shower, and exercise do not affect your BAC, only TIME decreases your BAC