If you’ve been drinking, you’re probably asking yourself one of two questions right now: When will the alcohol leave my system? or How do I get it out of my system faster?
This blog post will answer both of those questions and more. Keep reading to find out about how long does alcohol stay in your system, and how you can shorten the process by which it leaves your body.
The Three Stages of Alcohol Elimination
Elimination occurs in three stages. When you drink alcohol your body goes through a process to turn it into waste. First comes absorption, then distribution and finally elimination.
Although not everyone’s body processes alcohol at exactly the same rate, as a general rule of thumb there are two times that are particularly important to know when trying to gauge how long alcohol has been in your system.
Fasted vs Ate
The general rule is that if you’ve consumed alcohol within three hours of a workout, it will be out of your system completely by your next work out. If you’ve eaten food prior to drinking, alcohol will stay in your system a bit longer.
The good news is that since alcohol is mostly water-based and contains few calories (7 per gram), its effects on performance are small—so even if you drank last night and then hit it hard in the gym today (it happens), chances are you won’t see much of a difference.
The other good news is that blood levels don’t really matter at all when it comes to being fit and healthy.
The role of body fat
The amount of body fat you have plays a major role in how quickly alcohol is processed by your body. Generally speaking, people with more body fat will be less sensitive to alcohol’s effects. If you are overweight or obese (30%+ for women; 25%+ for men), it may take your body longer to process alcohol since it is working harder to metabolize other substances.
Weight gain can also lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels—risk factors that play a key role in heart disease development and progression. If you’re overweight, regular exercise and healthier eating habits can help lower blood pressure levels and prevent an accumulation of fat around your heart. This can make it easier for your heart to pump blood through your system without resistance.
How much do you drink?
While there is no clear answer to how long alcohol stays in your system, scientists have a very detailed idea of how much you need to drink for it to start clearing from your bloodstream.
In general, it takes about an hour for 10 grams of alcohol (or 10 milliliters of alcohol) to leave your blood stream. This is about two drinks’ worth for women and three or four drinks’ worth for men; drinking more will obviously slow down the rate at which it leaves.
In terms of time, that means a person who has been drinking can expect their blood-alcohol level to be nearly back down to zero 12 hours after their last drink—which would be a morning after hangover if one were having them in moderation or on occasion.
Factors influencing how quickly you eliminate alcohol
Your age – Young people tend to have larger bodies and less developed livers. Women are smaller than men and have a lower percentage of body fat (more water weight) but also tend to have smaller livers. Your body type- If you’re leaner, you’ll process alcohol differently than someone who is overweight or obese. How much you weigh also affects how your liver metabolizes alcohol.
If your liver has a lot of fat in it because of overeating or obesity then that slows down how quickly it can eliminate alcohol; if you’re very underweight then your metabolism may be slower as well.