BAC myths, debunked
Eating fatty food will reduce BAC
There is not a lot of evidence showing that the type of food affects alcohol absorption. More important, Dr Benson says, is eating a substantial meal.
This why many people often crave a late-night snack.
"If all the alcohol hasn’t been absorbed in the stomach, [eating before bed] may slow that down, and if you haven’t had dinner and you’ve been drinking, eating before bed will probably help your blood sugar,” Dr Benson says. “But it won’t guarantee you’ll wake up hangover free.”
You can speed up how quickly your body processes a drink
Put simply, no, you can’t speed up how quickly your body processes alcohol. Some people think that exercising will help them sweat it out, or that going for a run will get their blood flowing, which will help them metabolise the alcohol quicker. But, Dr Benson assures, it won’t.
And sleeping on it isn't always the answer: depending on how many drinks you've had, you could still have a BAC reading of above 0.05 the following day.
Say you're having a dinner party and you drank two bottles of red wine with around 13.5 per cent of alcohol by volume (ABV) each. Over four hours, you will have consumed 16 standard drinks. If you started drinking at 7pm on Friday, you would still have alcohol in your system until at least 11am the following day.
Staying hydrated will reduce your BAC
While being hydrated is really important while drinking, Dr Benson says skolling a bottle of water before a big day will have no bearing on your BAC. “BAC comes down to how much alcohol you’re drinking,” she says. “Being hydrated might help with the hangover, but it won’t change your BAC.”
Drinking coffee will reduce BAC
Urban legend has it that there are hacks you can use to reduce your blood alcohol concentration, such as having a cold shower, drinking coffee or taking a nap. But, Dr Benson warns, none of it works. “Once alcohol is in the bloodstream, there is nothing you can do to lower it. You just have to wait it out. Some drugs might change your subjective feeling of intoxication, but nothing will change your actual BAC.”
You can cheat a breathalyser
Despite popular belief, when time comes to blow into the breathalyser there’s nothing you can do to mask your reading. When alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, Dr Benson explains, it goes through to the lungs, so you’re exhaling a bit of alcohol as well.
“There are so many stories I have heard of people trying to use tactics to trick the breathalyser,” she laughs. “Some people talk about using mouthwash, stuffing their mouths with cotton balls, breathing through the nose and exhaling through the mouth – not sure how this one is meant to work as the breath is still coming from your lungs – and even eating foods to mask the smell of alcohol in the mouth. But the reality is, the only way to get a lower BAC reading is to drink less alcohol.”