RT Cunningham

The Effect of Coffee on Alcohol Consumption

alcohol If you listen to police department representatives and other people who think they know everything to know about drinking and being drunk, the only cure for over-indulgence in alcohol is time.

This is something that is preached over and over and it’s usually a measure to prevent drinking and driving.

Is time the only factor?

The theory (not a fact) is that it takes far longer for alcohol to leave the human body than it takes to consume it, if a person drinks more than one ounce per hour. I don’t know who came up with that theory, but there’s no real scientific evidence backing it up.

In the past, you’ve probably seen or heard of people drinking cups and cups of coffee in attempts to “sober up”. The belief was that the caffeine in the coffee would reverse the effects of the alcohol; caffeine is a stimulant while alcohol is a depressant. It doesn’t work that way.

The simplest way to reverse the effects of alcohol is to get the alcohol out of your system as quickly as possible. Drinking a lot of non-alcoholic beverages while inebriated (without drinking any more alcoholic beverages) as quickly as possible will flush the alcohol from the system.

The “coffee trick” is nothing more than a misguided attempt at this procedure. Of course coffee will work - and so will plain water.

The hangover the next day is usually caused by being in a dehydrated condition, as a result of alcohol consumption, and going to sleep in that condition. Flooding the body with non-alcoholic beverages will remove the condition, if practiced before sleeping, and will do more to help avoid a hangover than anything else.

I’m not making any of this up. I spent 20 years on active duty in the military and drank more than my fair share of alcoholic beverages in the first five of them. It was during this period that I learned what worked and what didn’t. During the remaining years of active service, I taught a few others how to do what I learned and I have no doubt it prevented some health problems as well as some DUI tickets.

Coffee, Alcohol and Cirrhosis of the Liver

There were some studies conducted during the last decade that you should find interesting if you’re both a coffee drinker and a consumer of alcoholic beverages.

Cirrhosis is the irreversible scarring of the liver that hurts the organ’s ability to filter toxins from the blood. Cirrhosis is caused by more than just alcohol abuse, but alcohol abuse gets the most attention. Other causes include Hepatitis C and inherited diseases.

What the studies found is that the likelihood of cirrhosis was reduced by 22 percent for each cup of coffee consumed per day, capped at about 88 percent for four cups of coffee per day. These statistics were measured for the heaviest alcohol drinkers as well as the lightest.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to get your daily dose of coffee, if you’re an alcoholic beverage consumer, then I suppose nothing will.

Here are a couple of relevant articles to back up my information:


RT Cunningham
August 31, 2013