Blood Alcohol Content

Once you know the definition of one standard drink, you can estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (a.k.a. blood alcohol level; BAL). BAC levels represent the percent of your blood that is concentrated with alcohol. A BAC of .10 means that .1% of your bloodstream is composed of alcohol.

Click on the link below and enter your name, weight, and gender. The printout will give you your BAC level by drinks consumed per hour. Print out your personalized chart and return to this page.

See your personalized BAC chart

Explanation of BAC levels:

  • .020 Light to moderate drinkers begin to feel some effects.
  • .040 Most people begin to feel relaxed.
  • .060 Judgment is somewhat impaired.
  • .080 Definite impairment of muscle coordination and driving skills. This is the legal intoxication level in most states (including California).
  • .100 Clear deterioration of reaction time and control. This is legally drunk in all states.
  • .120 Vomiting usually occurs (unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance to alcohol).
  • .150 Balance and movement are impaired. At this BAC. level an equivalent of 1/2 pint of whiskey is circulating in the blood stream.
  • .150-.25 Most people begin to experience blackouts
  • .300 Many people lose consciousness.
  • .400 Most people lose consciousness and some die.
  • .450 Breathing stops. This is a fatal dose for most people.

You can also check out the Drink Wheel HERE

Some factors that affect BAC:

  • How many standard drinks you drink
  • Remember different drinks have different strengths either because of differences in proofs of hard liquor or because some drinks contain more than one shot
  • Food eaten along with drinking alcohol will result in a lower, delayed BAC because the alcohol enters the bloodstream at a lower rate
  • Alcohol is attracted to areas of the body with a lot of water. Fat contains very little water, and allows more alcohol to enter the blood stream.
    • Therefore, a person with lower percent of body fat will generally have lower BACs than people with a higher percent of body fat
    • Women tend to have a higher percentage of fat and lower percentage of body water. Therefore, if a man and a woman of the same weight ingest the same amount of alcohol the women will tend to have a higher BAC.
    • Muscle contains a good amount of water. People who are more muscular tend to achieve lower BACs
  • Drinking when you are tired can lead to a higher BAC because your liver does not function as well when you are tired.
  • When you’ve been sick or are currently sick, you will be dehydrated. Dehydration has a number of effects that cause greater intoxication. Dehydration can also be a factor in how bad a hangover may be.
  • Most people can eliminate (metabolize) an average of one standard drink per hour.
  • Only time can lower your BAC. Coffee, cold showers, and runs around the block will just leave you alert, wet, and out of breath.

Have you ever wondered how many cheeseburgers worth of calories you drink each month? Click on the link below and take the e-CHUG. The survey is completely confidential and will take less than 5 minutes!

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The Biphasic Effect of Alcohol

Have you ever tried to get your buzz back after you lost it? Were you successful?

Most people expect to get their buzz back if they continue drinking because of a cultural myth that when you continue to consume alcohol, you continue to experience the good things about alcohol.


However, most people are not successful in getting their buzz back after it’s gone because of something called the Biphasic Response of alcohol.

Biphasic refers to the two phases or effects of alcohol on the body.

The first phase consists of feeling stimulated, excited, and euphoric.

The other phase consists of depressant effects, such as slowed down body processes and depressed feelings.

The good feelings are typically associated with the rise in your BAC level. Thus, as you begin consuming alcohol you feel good effects. However, as your BAC rises above .05-.06, you are more likely to experience the not so good effects of alcohol.

At a BAC of about .05-.06% most people begin to feel more not so good effects of alcohol as compared to the good effects of alcohol.

This point is called the Point of Diminishing Returns, meaning that it is difficult to get those good feelings, or buzz, back the way that it felt best if you drink too much and thus are more likely to experience the depressant effects of alcohol.

For most people, having one drink an hour will maintain their current level of intoxication (peak buzz). Since alcohol is a depressant, at a BAC of .05 - .06 most people begin to feel the negative/depressant effects of alcohol.

Drinking slowly and moderately will increase your chances to maintain your buzz and not dramatically feel the negative/depressant effects of alcohol.