Copyright: Andriy Popov

Why Gender Affects BAC Levels

When drinking alcohol, gender is one important factor that determines how much alcohol winds up in your bloodstream. When a man and a woman weigh the same, the woman will raise her blood alcohol content (BAC) faster. This is because women generally have less water and more body fat per pound of body weight. Fat does not absorb alcohol as easily as other cells, so more alcohol remains in the bloodstream of women.

In addition, women generally have less of the enzyme dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the stomach. Hormone levels also affect the body’s ability to process alcohol.

The Difference

When a man who weighs 140 lb. drinks two drinks in one hour, he will reach a BAC of approximately .038. A woman weighing the same and drinking the same amount of alcohol will end up with a BAC of approximately .048.

Body Weight

Remember, this does not mean that the more you weigh, the more you will be affected by a given amount of alcohol. It is the opposite. The more you weigh, the less you will be affected. But when two people weigh the same, the percentage of body fat will make a difference.