By Sarah Stierch (Own work) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Question: When going to an event where there will be a lot of wine, and having to drive home afterwards, I like to have something in my stomach to slow down the effects of alcohol entering my bloodstream. I have been using about a cup of milk and some crackers coated with peanut butter at least one hour before the event, but no more than one an a half hours prior. I am hoping the milk will coat my stomach and intestine. Same with the food. It works OK, and is much better than nothing. I am wondering if you or your readers have any suggestions on what they do. Any scientific findings on what slows down the effects of alcohol? Once at the event, I drink about as much water as wine.
Answer: Quite a few issues raised here by this question. First it is definitely not wise or recommended to drive home after an event serving a lot of wine regardless of whether you have or have not coated your stomach. There is support for taking some complex carbs (say sweet potato or brown rice) and good fats just before as those items take a while to digest thereby slowing the absorption of the alcohol. That is why your trick of milk, crackers and peanut butter works OK for you. Grainy bread and cheese is a natural. Try potato chips and banana. Small dishes of whole wheat pasta, beans or lentils with a big dash of quality olive oil will work well. I don’t prepare or coat my stomach before-hand. I prefer to always try and match food with my wine from the starting aperitif – with some hors d’oeuvre, toasted nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts etc., gougere and the like – continuing this strategy right through the meal or event. Study and sip your wine slowly at first – don’t knock back too quickly two or more glasses without food right at the start. Good idea to not mix too many different types of drinks – stick with table wines. Note that carbonated drinks including sparkling bubbles accelerate the alcohol absorption. I drink lots of water and green tea all day long to keep me well hydrated. If you wait until the wine event to start drinking water you may find yourself bloated from consuming too much total liquid in a fairly short period of time.