Why Do I get Drunk so fast now?

by (93) Updated July 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM Created September 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

So recently I have realized that my alcohol tolerance has PLUMETED since becoming paleo. 1 drink I am tipsy by the second I am fully drunk. And while I know I dont NEED to drink, I am a college student and its a huge part of the culture. Its very unsettling when I have only two glasses of wine and am acting as foolish as the girl next to me on her 7th drink. Has anyone experienced this as well, know why it happened, or have any recommendations to mitigate the alcohol's affects? Thanks!!

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16 Replies

5071 · September 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Are you in ketosis? I've read lots of n=1 reports about people getting more shitfaced while in ketosis than when they're in glycolisys. I think this holds true for myself as well, but I haven't had a drink in 2 years so I can't verify.

9387 · September 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Did you avoid alcohol for a while when transitioning to paleo? Time off from it would of course affect your tolerance. If that's the case, then some good old fashioned regular drinking should bring it back over time.

Of course, eating food before/during drinking can mitigate the effects, allowing you to drink more. I'm guessing you already know that.

But anyway, I'd say this is a great thing. Cheaper, less calories, and perhaps less hangover to get the buzz. If you're really concerned about others' perception of your tolerance, just drink a tiny bit before leaving the house and tell everyone you pre-drank. Pre-drinking was completely acceptable behavior when I was in college which wasn't all that long ago.

26354 · September 20, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I've had the same thing happen to me. I've chalked it up to a couple of things.

1) I don't drink as much as I used to, also I didn't drink at all for the first 6 weeks, so my tolerance has likely dropped.
2) Carbohydrates can delay the absorption of alcohol. So since my carb intake has plummeted, it is possible that 2-3 drinks would always get me drunk, but I'd be 4 or 5 in (along with some nachos, a burger, and some fries) before it would hit me.

45 · September 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

As a college student I can sympathize with you about the drinking culture, especially because I go to a big drinking school. Whats your carb intake like? Ive found when Im eating less carbs I get drunker faster, especially in ketosis.

45 · September 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

This is happening to both my girlfriend and myself as well. As per one of the suggestions above that this may have to do with the amount of drinking having gone down... I was hardly drinking at all before paleo and I'm still hardly drinking but the effect of even just one glass of wine or one beer is that it hits me a lot harder.

5179 · September 20, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Some people need to build a tolerance to alcohol to not get drunk as quickly. Your body could be producing less alcohol dehydrogenase which metabolizes alcohol. People who don't drink often (like me) have little of this enzyme and feel the effects of alcohol much sooner than someone who drinks more and so is producing more of it. Would be interesting to know if paleo/primal way of eating affects production of these enzymes.

193 · September 20, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The same thing has happened to both my husband and I. I've never had a big tolerance but now if I have any more then 2 glasses of wine, I am very tipsy and I can't sleep.

I agree.... adjust your drinking, it will be cheaper for you and less hangover. Have mixed drinks with more mix then alcohol if you want to keep up without ending up under the table. It's really the act that you are going for.... wanting to have a drink in your hand while everyone else does. Just make sure you have something to drink in your hand, no one has to know it isn't always a mixed drink.

The bonus is you will remember the night, less chance of doing something you will regret and be able to wake the next morning without ill effects while everyone else is barely hanging on. It will look like you are a rock star and no one will be able to figure out how you can drink without being hung over...

3227 · October 17, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I am LOL because back when I was low-carbing it I had a couple of glasses of sparkling wine at a holiday party and I got really light-headed.

I figure that it was the one/two punch of the alcohol in the wine and the sugar in the wine. If you have been doing the low-carb version of Paleo that could account for it.

11251 · October 17, 2012 at 7:12 PM

I am suffering from this as well. It easy to cause a major bood sugar crash with alcohol, and why do I have to wake up in the middle of the night dehydrated if I am the slightest bit off in my calculations? I have also noticed red wine is making my joints ache, and is probably the worst dehydrator of all now, which is frustrating because I like red wine. I am slowly being forced out of one of my favorite hobbies.

329 · October 17, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Alcohol can cause what is called reactive hypoglycemia. It can mess with your blood sugar h can a) make you actually get drunk faster and b) make you seem like you are drunk faster because some symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are the same as being drunk, such as stumbling or slurping words

779 · September 20, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Lots of reasons above: tolerance down after layoff, digestive differences due to diet change etc.

BUT. It is a common experience for alcoholics to find their tolerance making unexpected jumps--finding themselves loaded after 'normal' amounts or unable to get to a buzz.

Your milage may vary, but if this is what is happening you might want to consider if your drinking warranty has expired.

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10087 · September 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

One of the things that shows up a lot when paleo people post their blood tests here is low blood triglycerides. Alcohol is notable for jacking blood triglyceride levels up. So in addition to the effect of the blood alcohol, there is a sudden destabilization of blood triglycerides which you wouldn't experience on a non-paleo diet.

225 · September 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

This has happened to us as well, and I think it's more #2 than anything else. Even when on the SAD diet, I would have times it seemed I didn't drink nearly the same amount and I was gone already. Another factor for me personally is taking Adderall, which has become popular on college campuses and with clubbers for the ability to drink and not feel it as much. I make sure if I know I'll be drinking I don't take it in the afternoon.

I can't drink beer/gluten anymore, or red wine which I used to love. :( I find happiness with good-quality vodka and tonic/seltzer water w/ lime. I agree that if you keep something in your hand you should be able to keep the naysayers at bay. :) Of course, the one negative effect of not being drunk off your ass is realizing at times you're hanging out with a bunch of retards and it ceases to be fun! LOL

30 · July 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM

In the beginning of paleo/keto, I got drunk immidiately, but somehow after a year's time I have become tolerant of most non-paleo again (but try still to stay away from it).

For some weeks in this great weather, I have been out drinking with friends, and we often do white wine, which doesn't seem to be a big deal. Beer on the other hand is not making a happy hangover.

I am still more sober than the rest of my friends (they are skinny though), and I am close to a normal weight now. I have even been fasting lately and only ate a bit of protein before going out. Hangover foods was fatty salty proteins as well, stay away from junkfood.

0 · July 25, 2013 at 7:32 AM

ok everone els wants to say that "paleo is the problem" WTF is that, but that is crap. your not drinking like you should. if you want boost your tolerance drink more! its not that hard, yea you might get sick some times but that will go way. there is a lot biological mumbo jumbo to it but bla bla bla drink more you get drunk less point blank. i assume your a chick so if you aver need a ride email me at

ps i check every night at 9 so cach me

571 · January 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

This is so true! I have been paleo for a few months and went out drinking for the first time in a a while last night. I only had 2 drinks, but felt like I had 5. Pretty crazy how my tolerance has changed due to the way I've been eating.

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