It's a time of year when spirits flow freely and open bars are easy to find. But many partiers do not know why some among them will get more intoxicated, more quickly than others. Do you know what factors most affect your blood alcohol content, or BAC?
20/20 teamed up with Men's Health magazine to find out which of three men — varying in age, size, food intake and typical alcohol consumption — would get drunk first after consuming equal amounts of alcohol in the same time period.
The results of this supervised drinking "contest" prove that many factors are at work when alcohol goes into your body — some with more influence than others.
Three Men Belly Up to the Bar
Warren, an avid runner, is the skinniest of the trio. He's got a high tolerance for alcohol because he is a regular drinker. But he says he knows very little about how to keep from getting drunk.
Andrew has a medium build and rarely drinks. When he does, he avoids getting trashed by setting a limit on the amount he consumes. "I know if I have two or three drinks, I better start thinking about slowing down," he says.
A bartender turned businessman, Royal is the biggest of the three men. He considers himself a moderate social drinker and has seen his fair share of drunken behavior, but admits that what he knows about how not to get drunk is mostly hearsay.
All three men agree that a night "out with the boys" can often turn into a drinking contest. In our drinking game, however, the "winner" is actually the loser: the man who is most vulnerable to alcohol and its inebriating effects.
We won't tell you who won (just yet), but you can learn more about your own susceptibility to alcohol by taking the Men's Health Sobriety Test. Before you indulge in the seasonal spirits — and before you get behind the wheel of a car — make sure you know your limit.
This report originally ran on 20/20 in December 2000.