Does Milk And Alcohol Make You Sick?

In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?”, and will also tell you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. 

Does Milk And Alcohol Make You Sick?

Yes, milk and alcohol can make you sick and it is recommended that you do not combine the two.

If you regularly consume alcohol, you will eventually irritate the lining of your stomach. Hence, it is advised that you minimize the amount of dairy in your diet since the latter is also known to cause gastric issues. 

Moreover, if you’re even slightly lactose intolerant, mixing milk and alcohol will aggravate your digestive problems.  

Why Is It Bad To Mix Milk and Alcohol?

To start, alcohol decreases the production of digestive enzymes in the body, thus inhibiting the breakdown of nutrients in milk into usable molecules. 

Alcohol also impairs nutrient absorption by damaging the lining of the stomach and intestines, preventing the transport of certain nutrients into the blood. This can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies and related problems.  

And even if the nutrients present in milk are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, alcohol inhibits their adequate utilization by adversely affecting the body’s transport, storage, and excretion processes. This could lead to a decrease in body mass during time (1).

Secondly, alcohol promotes acid production in the stomach. This can lead to gastritis, as well as stomach and/or intestinal ulcers. 

Thirdly, warm milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan which helps promote sleep by increasing the production of the relevant neurotransmitter serotonin.  L-tryptophan induces the production of Serotonin in the body, which is vital for the processing of emotional regulation, hunger, sleep, and pain. Tryptophan and its metabolites support the development of the central and enteric nervous systems (2). On the other hand, alcohol disrupts sleep, and continuous use significantly alters the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

On the other hand, it is also well documented that food prior to alcohol consumption reduces average blood alcohol levels, lowers its peak and delays the elimination of alcohol from the blood. A meal of fixed energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate content eaten prior to drinking alcohol can significantly reduce both subsequent peak blood alcohol level and consequent performance impairment. However, milk alone is not a meal (3).

Is Drinking Milk Before Consuming Alcohol Useful?

No, it is not useful. Contrary to popular belief, consuming a glass of milk before drinking heavily does not reduce the effects of alcohol. 

Biologically speaking, milk does not ‘line up’ and protect the stomach from alcohol – all of the alcohol still reaches the bloodstream, irrespective of what you eat or drink before or after. Eating a meal with a high carbohydrate content may lower the blood alcohol level peak and reduce performance impairment of drinking alcohol (3). 

What Happens to Milk In The Stomach?

As soon as milk makes its way into the human stomach, the latter’s acidic digestive fluids change it into curd. Coagulation of casein micelles and milk fat globules can occur due to pepsin-induced hydrolysis of the proteins. The gastric coagulation leads to delayed gastric emptying of casein and fat. Native whey proteins are not susceptible to gastric coagulation or delayed gastric emptying (4).

This happens because the whey protein is separated from the watery part. No matter what you eat or drink before or after, milk always curdles in the stomach before it is digested.

Does Milk Curdle with Alcohol?

Milk easily curdles with alcohol since alcoholic spirits are basically weak acids. When you mix milk and alcohol, the pH value of milk is lowered, resulting in it curdling. 

It’s similar to what happens naturally in the stomach’s acidic environment. 

What Happens When You Mix Milk And Beer?

Beer also causes milk to curdle in the stomach. Again, it’s the same reaction that happens when you consume milk with alcohol, or when you drink a glass of milk on its own.

Because milk will break down in the presence of an acid, and the stomach primarily contains gastric acid, milk will eventually curdle whether you mix it with beer or not. Gastric coagulation ensures a controlled transit of protein through the stomach; this, in turn, ensures a more sustained release of amino acids into the blood following intestinal digestion and absorption (4). This can be positive in the case of alcohol ingestion, thus it may lower the peak of blood alcohol level (3).

What Happens When You Mix Milk and Whiskey?

Now here’s something new: when you mix whiskey and milk, the alcohol content of whiskey cuts very effectively through the fat content of milk. Moreover, milk adds a distinct creaminess to the whiskey that whiskey alone does not offer.

Another interesting result of mixing milk and whiskey is that milk helps dilute the whiskey’s alcohol content, which makes it easier to highlight the different flavors in the whiskey.Basically, mixing milk and whiskey produces a drink that is easy-to-drink, rich, creamy, smooth, and most of all, full of flavor. 

While most milk and whiskey recipes require cow’s milk, soy, goat, coconut, rice, almond, or oat milk can also yield great results. In fact, certain cow milk alternatives might produce better results based on the type of whiskey used. However, the complexity of this sample, containing proteins and fatty acids, can mask the presence of drugs or other substances in standard analysis methods. These characteristics make whiskey creams highly suitable for illicit purposes (5).

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?” and also told you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. Basically, mixing milk and whiskey produces a drink that is easy-to-drink, rich, creamy, smooth, and most of all, full of flavor. 

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?” and also told you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. 

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

References

  1. Macdonald, Ighodaro Osasenaga, Omole Johnson Olusola, and Uwaifo Anthony Osaigbovo. Effects of chronic ethanol administration on body weight, reduced glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and glutathione-s-transferase activity (GST) in rats. NY Sci J, 2010, 3, 3947.
  2. Silber, B. Y., and J. A. J. Schmitt. Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, and sleep. Neurosci biobehav rev, 2010, 34, 387-407.
  3. Finnigan, F., R. Hammersley, and K. Millar. Effects of meal composition on blood alcohol level, psychomotor performance and subjective state after ingestion of alcohol. Appetite, 1998, 31, 361-375.
  4. Huppertz, Thom, and Loo Wee Chia. Milk protein coagulation under gastric conditions: A review. Int Dairy J, 2021, 113, 104882
  5. Giorgio Famiglini, Fabiana Capriotti, Pierangela Palma, Veronica Termopoli, Achille Cappiello, The Rapid Measurement of Benzodiazepines in a Milk-Based Alcoholic Beverage Using QuEChERS Extraction and GC–MS Analysis, J Anal Toxicol, 2015, 39, 306–312