Eat before Drinking or Drink before Eating…


The age old question of eating before drinking or after drinking still bugs people when they go to a pub or sit to drink at a house party. In India, all my friends swear by eating after drinking and the food delivery services are busy on a Saturday night post 11 when most people start thinking about eating. Whereas living outside India, we would meet for dinner first at about 6 and then start drinking after dinner. The question now arises, when should one really eat, before drinking or after drinking?

Well, this depends on two things. Alcohol Absorption and Alcohol Metabolism (Breaking down and excretion)


Alcohol Absorption

Absorption of alcohol depends on a lot of factors like, size (weight, height etc ), gender and the rate at which you drink. It is not affected by the type of alcoholic beverage, alcohol from beer and whisky will be absorbed in the same rate. If you eat before drinking, especially fatty food, then the rate at which alcohol reaches intestine (where it is absorbed) is slowed down.

Vomiting: Eating before drinking can make you throw up as it keeps alcohol in the stomach for longer and that irritates the lining of your stomach which makes you throw up.

Getting drunk: As eating before slows down the absorption of alcohol, it takes you longer to get drunk and chances are you may stop drinking at a good time and avoid damage to your body.


Alcohol Metabolism

Alcohol is metabolised ( broken down and excreted ) by the liver and for most of us, it happens at a constant rate which is roughly 15 ml of pure alcohol per hour. This is equal to a 30 ml drink of 40 % proof spirit or a small bottle of beer with 5% alcohol. Eating before drinking increases enzyme activity in the liver and it is able to process alcohol slightly faster.


The crux of it!

Eat before drinking, if you want a steady night and enjoy moderate drinking, while looking after your liver and not get a big hangover the next day. If you over do you may risk vomiting so control that rate.


Eat after drinking, if you want to get drunk quickly and don’t want to throw up. You may have a big hangover the next morning + a restless night sleep on a full stomach for eating late.


Alcohol should be enjoyed responsibly, we recommend not binging, drinking in moderation and keeping at least 4 days alcohol-free every week. Drinking slows down your reaction time and makes you dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water, especially in summers with a pinch of salt to replenish lost salts in your body.