The rate at which alcohol is metabolized is affected by a number of factors:

  • weight (heavier people generally have a higher alcohol tolerance)
  • sex (women tend to metabolize alcohol faster)
  • amount of food in stomach (slows metabolization)
  • experience (the body accustoms itself to alcohol)
  • age (as a person ages, individual metabolism can change)

Careful drinkers should pay attention to what their own bodies tell them and err on the side of caution, rather than rely exclusively on an approximate rule of thumb.