Responsible Drinking

Get acquainted with how alcohol impacts your body and how to understand and calculate blood alcohol content (BAC) levels.

What Blood Alcohol Content Is and Why It Matters

Blood alcohol content is the percentage of alcohol in the blood. For example, a BAC of 0.10 means that 0.10% (one tenth of 1 percent) of a person's blood, breath or urine by volume is alcohol. In the U.S., having a BAC of 0.08 means you are legally intoxicated and it is illegal to drive a vehicle. If you’re going to be drinking, here are some suggestions:

  • Drink responsibly. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and alternate drinking alcohol with water or nonalcoholic beverages. Say "No" – alcohol is not for everyone, every time or every place.
  • Include food. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Know your drink. Not all drinks are the same (a 12-ounce beer does not equal a martini).
  • Plan ahead to get home safely. Designate a driver, take a cab, bus or train, stay overnight at a friend’s house or hotel, or simply walk home.
  • Keep it legal. Don’t provide alcohol to anyone under 21.

Take a quick self-assessment test to look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health.

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BACPlus Calculator

This web-based resource provides an estimate of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and the number of calories from pure ethanol. The user-friendly application is designed to raise awareness of the factors that affect the body’s metabolism of alcohol to assist individuals in responsibly consuming alcohol. BACPlus estimates the changing blood alcohol levels from the first drink until the alcohol is completely eliminated from the body. It also factors in the drinker’s sex, weight, time, and quantity of drinks being ingested.

A number of easy-to-use functionalities include:

  1. Intuitive functionality for BAC calculating and forecasting
  2. Convenient information on BAC/BrAC limits for over 120 countries
  3. Automatic calorie tracking
  4. Health information on drinking responsibly
Illustration with text: if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation, up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, only by adults of drinking age

Alcohol affects us all when we drink. But we don't all react in the same way.

Although we all metabolize alcohol differently, depending on things like how much and how quickly we drink, size, gender, whether we’re drinking on an empty stomach and other personal factors, the central processes are the same for everyone.

Alcohol is metabolized in the body in three stages: absorption, distribution and elimination.


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