Men vs Women: Who Can Tolerate More Alcohol?

Time and time again, from one pub or bar to the next, there has been a constant war of the sexes on which one can withstand more alcohol. Do men meet the more popular notion that they can hold more booze? Or can women actually prove otherwise?

Women have been stereotyped to be both less tolerant with alcohol and at the same time those who experience or suffer more effects when drunk. Despite this, the numbers of female drinkers in the US, whether binge or social, are continuously going up. Does this mean that women can actually hold their liquor as well as men?

Real Score, Physiologically

Bad news for lady drinkers: Apparently, the assumption that men can drink more alcohol than women is true, as per physiological factors. Here are some reasons based on studies that prove the difference of the sexes when drinking:

  • Body Water and Body Fat — The most common reason people would argue is the body mass or weight difference between men and women. Generally, men are heavier and bigger than women, so it’s safe to assume that they can consume more drinks and food. However, even if their weight is equal, men can still tolerate more alcohol. This is because they have more water (roughly 55 to 65 percent, while women only have 45 to 55 percent) in their bodies, which dilute alcohol faster. Meanwhile, a woman has more body fat, which does not absorb or dilute alcohol, leaving it stagnant in one’s body through her bloodstream, causing her to get intoxicated faster.
  • Metabolizing Alcohol — Dehydrogenase is an enzyme that breaks down alcohol before it moves on to the bloodstream which eventually circulates to the brain. Women have lower counts of this enzyme; hence, more alcohol content will remain in the body for a longer period of time. If you think tolerance can be built through time, then think again. Research reveals that alcoholic men have gain more dehydrogenase than others, but alcoholic women have shown no sign of increase in concentration.
  • Hormones — Research has proven that women with menstruation can get drunk faster, especially days before the period actually starts. In addition, women who take birth control pills or medication that can affect their hormones are also more prone to not being able to dissolve alcohol.

Still, these reasons are purely based on physiological aspects. Without a doubt there are still women who are the last ones standing in pubs, parties, and even drinking matches. Stay tuned in our blog as we update it with more fun facts and insights. Better yet, grab a bottle and hang out here at McCullar’s Irish Pub & Grill located in Arlington, Texas for a merrier conversation with friends and family.