Magazine article Science News

Woman Drinking Alcohol: When Less Is More

Magazine article Science News

Woman Drinking Alcohol: When Less Is More

Article excerpt

Conventional wisdom holds that women who drink don't, as a group, down as much alcohol as men. The fact that women generally have smaller bodies than men, thus limiting their tolerance for alcohol, provides the most frequently given explanation for the difference.

A new study now challenges this view, suggesting that women consume nearly as much alcohol as men, relative to the volume of fluids in their bodies. Indeed, researchers find, it is the body's fluid content, rather than weight, that more accurately reflects one's drinking capacity.

Even for people of the same weight, men's bodies generally contain more fluids than women's. With less blood and other fluids in which the alcohol can dissolve, women may end up with the same or higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood as men, even if they have fewer alcoholic drinks.

"The brain doesn't count the number of drinks," explains James L. York, a pharmacologist at the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) in Buffalo, N.Y., who led the study. "The brain counts only the molecules of alcohol reaching it." York and his RIA colleague John W. Welte published their findings in the November JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL.

York and Welte interviewed 273 alcoholics who had stopped drinking. For comparison purposes, 133 moderate, or "social drinkers," served as a control group. The researchers asked participants about their drinking habits, including how often they drank, the type of alcohol consumed, and how much they drank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.