At university, I was told by one of my fellow students that the reason why eating before going on an alcohol laden night out was a good idea, was because the pyloric sphincter contracted once food was in your stomach, and only let it into your lower intestines gradually. Their theory was that if you then drank alcohol, it would also sit in your stomach (with your food) and would only be let into your intestines gradually as the food was allowed through, thus slowing your rate of inebriation. Drinking on an empty stomach would conversely not cause the pyloric sphincter to contract, thus allowing the alcohol to enter your intestines at a much faster pace. However, I've been trying to find some online sources to corroborate / disprove this, and I'm having problems finding any information on it at all.

So my question is: does the pyloric sphincter stay relaxed if only liquid is consumed on an empty stomach?

  • $\begingroup$ The answer from CATARANTHUS looks good, but if you want to see another source of information try here. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1



1)The pyloric sphincter always remain tonically contracted even in an empty stomach.However this tone of the pyloric sphincter is insufficient to prevent the passage of liquids to the duodenum.Thus almost all the liquid intaken in an empty stomach passes immediately to the small intestine.

2)Filling of the stomach triggers an enteric reflex that increases the tonical contraction of the pyloric sphincter.When fluids are taken then,their rate of passage to the duodenum is considerably reduced.(Although little is slowly absorbed into blood from the stomach).


3)As the small intestine is the seat of absorption,delaying passage to it delays large amount of alcohol absorption into blood.This not only delays its effect in the body but also fascilitates the persons capability to intake more alcohol.(This varies considerably in different persons but the central physiology is this)



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