Comparison of Blood Alcohol Concentrations After Beer and Whiskey

Authors

  • Risto P. Roine,

    1. Section of Liver Diseases and Nutrition and Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
    2. Research Unit of Alcohol Diseases, University of P Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
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  • R. Thomas Gentry,

    1. Section of Liver Diseases and Nutrition and Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
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  • Robert T. Lim Jr,

    1. Section of Liver Diseases and Nutrition and Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
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  • Erkki Helkkonen,

    1. Research Unit of Alcohol Diseases, University of P Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
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  • Mikko Salaspuro,

    1. Research Unit of Alcohol Diseases, University of P Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
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  • Charles S. Lieber

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Liver Diseases and Nutrition and Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
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  • This study was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Grant AA 3508 and by a grant from the Yrjo Jahnsson Foundation (Finland).

Charles S. Lieber, M.D., Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, 151G, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10468.

Abstract

To determine whether blood alcohol concentrations achieved by ingestion of various alcoholic beverages differ as a function of prandial state, healthy male volunteers, aged 24 to 48 years, were given the same amount of alcohol (0.3 g/kg) as different beverages. The alcohol was consumed in three prandial states: postprandial (1 hr after a meal, n= 10), prandial (during the meal, n= 10), and preprandial (after an overnight fast, n= 9). Each subject was tested with both beer and whiskey, and in the postprandial state also with wine and sherry, in a within-subjects design. Blood alcohol concentrations were estimated by breath analysis for 4 hr or until concentrations reached zero. Peak blood alcohol levels were higher with beer than with whiskey in the postprandial and prandial conditions (p < 0.01), whereas the opposite was true in the preprandial state (p < 0.05). Similarly, the area under the blood alcohol curve was higher with beer in the prandial state (p < 0.05), and higher with whiskey in the preprandial condition (p < 0.01). Wine and sherry yielded peak concentrations intermediate between those of beer and whiskey in the postprandial state. The results indicate that a dilute alcoholic drink can yield either higher or lower blood alcohol levels than a concentrated beverage, depending on the prandial state.

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