The best way to track your alcohol intake without carrying around a breathalyzer or having someone offer you one.
By Brad Beckstrom
So one friend says to me “I shouldn’t have a beer, I’m driving.” Another friend says “Let’s have another round.” And he may have already had 5. Even though I frequently use UBER or Lyft to get around, I still think it’s a good idea to keep track of what you’re drinking. I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of alcohol I consume to lose a few pounds and live a healthier lifestyle.
I found a subtle trick you can use to limit your drinking and stay well within legal limits. You’ll be able to your enjoy yourself whether it’s with the 1 beer friend, 5 beer friend, or no beer friend. Here’s how it works:
The past couple of years I’ve been using a smartphone app called IntelliDrink. The app uses an algorithm based on information you put in to set up your profile. Your profile includes things like height weight, and gender but also allows you to put in your favorite drinks, including type, size, and alcohol content in advance. So, when you have a beverage, all you need to do is click on the drink button. You can even adjust the time you started, as well as whether you have recently eaten, or are drinking on an empty stomach. Just make sure you’re sober when you complete your profile and put in the drink information. You only need to do this once.
The most important feature on the app is the blood alcohol content (BAC) graph. What many people don’t realize is that your blood-alcohol level continues to rise after you stop drinking, especially if you’ve had several drinks over a short period of time. This app does a great job of tracking and predicting blood alcohol content based on your profile and the types, time, and number of drinks you’ve entered by hitting the drink button.
If you’re out with friends, it’s a great conversation starter as both light drinkers and heavy drinkers can appreciate the concept. After using the app for a few years, I found that I have a good idea of my limits, however I still find myself opening the app because it’s so easy to use. You’ll also learn that different types of beer, wine, and liquor can really impact your BAC levels.
A drink is not just a drink, even when it comes to beer. A beer is not just a beer.
For instance, many popular craft beers have alcohol by volume (ABV) between 6% and 10%. I’ve learned there’s a pretty big difference between drinking three Kirin Lights (3.3% ABV) and three Sierra Nevada Hoptimums (10.4% ABV.) Also consider if you’re drinking 12 ounce bottles or 16 ounce pints on tap. I can clearly feel the difference between a couple of Kirin Lights (3.3 ABV), or Miller Lites (4.3% ABV) in bottles versus a couple of 16oz craft beers. Everyone’s experience with alcohol is different, so that’s why it’s important to use the app to understand your tolerances and limits. I recommend the Pro version that will set you back $1.99.
Have some fun with it. I’ve noticed a lot of restaurants are now including ABV levels on their menus. So, next time you’re waiting for your meal, open up the app and save a couple of your favorite beverages. You can also look up ABV levels on popular beverages at underthelabel.com. The first time you use one of these apps, it’s best to do it at home anyway.
The next morning, when you’re shaking off that headache, you can look back at your stats for the last night.