Which is higher in oxidative stress, drinking alcohol in one gulp or drinking it slowly?

April 9, 2021

Which is higher in oxidative stress, drinking alcohol in one gulp or drinking it slowly?

In this article, I talk about how to drink alcohol.

Drinking a large amount of alcohol all at once, so-called “chugging”, is very dangerous because it can lead to acute alcohol poisoning. For this reason, you should not chug alcohol, nor should you encourage others to do so.

Acetaldehyde, which is produced in the process of alcohol decomposition, is a poison that can cause the body to rust. Whenever you drink alcohol, this acetaldehyde is produced in your body.

When this acetaldehyde is not broken down and remains in the body, it causes sluggishness and headaches. Acetaldehyde is also the cause of the hangover that lasts until the next day.

So, is there a difference in the oxidative stress between drinking the same amount of alcohol in a short time and drinking it over time?

Drinking alcohol in a short time or in a long time

You may think that if you drink the same amount of alcohol all at once or slowly over a long period of time, the amount of alcohol entering your body will be the same, and therefore the oxidative stress level in your body will also be the same, but there is a big difference.

If you drink a large amount of alcohol in one gulp, your stomach and small intestine will absorb a large amount of alcohol.

When you do this, acetaldehyde, which is formed when alcohol is metabolized, rises in your body. The higher the concentration of acetaldehyde in the body, the more it causes the body to rust in various parts of the body.

Unfortunately, some people have died from acute alcohol poisoning caused by chugging. In this case, the amount of unmetabolized alcohol and metabolized acetaldehyde became very high, causing damage to various cells. In extreme cases, for example, if the brain nerves that drive breathing and the heart are damaged, the person will not be able to breathe or the heart will stop beating, and he or she will die.

However, even if the amount of alcohol that can cause acute alcohol poisoning if drunk all at once is drunk slowly over time, acetaldehyde will slowly rise and be metabolized into something non-toxic. This is because the body has the ability to render acetaldehyde harmless.

Chugging obviously raises the level of acetaldehyde in the body beyond the body’s ability to break down acetaldehyde and render it harmless. Therefore, please do not try to chug.

What is a person who drinks alcohol and does not get drunk?

There are also some people who do not get drunk even after drinking a lot of alcohol.

On the other hand, if you are a weak drinker and get drunk after a small amount of alcohol, or if you feel embarrassed because your face immediately turns red, you may admire or envy such people who do not get drunk even after drinking a lot of alcohol.

However, alcohol metabolism is a little different for every 100 people. Some people are very weak drinkers because they have lost acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which breaks down acetaldehyde, while others are strong drinkers because they have not lost acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

There are more than a dozen enzymes related to alcohol metabolism, and the combination of these enzymes changes the strength of the drink, so even among Japanese people, who are said to be weak drinkers compared to people in the rest of the world, there are people who are very strong drinkers.

However, ordinary people should not imitate the drinking style of such people.


Alcohol can be deadly depending on how you drink it. Drinking a lot of alcohol, especially in a short period of time, is very dangerous. Drinking when you are not feeling well is equally dangerous. When drinking alcohol, please consult with your own health condition and be careful not to drink too much.