Q: I’ve recently heard that the bubbles in Champagne cause alcohol to be absorbed more rapidly. I doubt this is true. Do you have any information on this issue?-Howard G., Elmira, NY
A: It’s true, at least a little bit. There are all kinds of factors that affect how quickly the alcohol you consume is absorbed into your bloodstream from your stomach lining and intestines. As most people know, food in your system will delay absorption, especially carbs and fatty foods. Warm beverages are absorbed faster than cold ones, and certain medical conditions (like gastritis) will affect that process as well.
Carbon dioxide—the cause of the bubbles in sparkling wine—also plays a role. It moves alcohol at an accelerated place into the blood stream. The most extensive study I read on the subject compared the intoxication of people drinking Champagne vs. those drinking Champagne with the bubbles removed via a blender. In that study, the difference was only noticeable for the first 20 minutes or so. After the 20-minute mark, folks were equally tipsy.
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