Top Ten Booze Myths Uncovered
Challenging misguided beliefs about alcohol.
Think girls can hold their drink as well as any guy? Sure that he/she looked like model material last night? Positive that last night’s drunk dial or ex-text was only caused by booze? 100% certain you’d feel soooo much better if you hadn’t mixed drinks or had that final pint?
We all have them – our boozey beliefs. But can you separate fact from fiction when it comes to your drinking?
Check out our top ten booze myths below:
So you think she can hold her drink as well as he can?
Although this seems unfair girls, and you might believe that this is a male conspiracy theory - or worse still, a challenge, women build up a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood having drunk the same amount as a man.
Even if a women is taller or bigger than a man, ladies have proportionally less body water than men so the concentration of alcohol in their blood stream is proportionally higher - simply illustrated, if a woman weighing 60 kilograms drinks a double gin then a man of the same size will need to drink a triple gin in order to reach the same blood alcohol level.
There is also some evidence that women may breakdown (metabolise) alcohol slightly differently. An enzyme called ADH helps break down alcohol in the liver and in the lining of the stomach; and studies show that ADH levels are lower in women and that this might also account for higher blood alcohol levels.
So you think you'd feel better if you hadn't mixed your drinks?
There's some truth to it, but probably not as much as you think.
The main reason you feel like death warmed up is because you got drunk and your body is dropping you a hint.
Recent research does suggest that alcoholic drinks which contain high levels of impurities - like preservatives or artificial sweeteners, for example - can intensify hangover symptoms.
Really, though, it's not the number of different types of drinks that will land you with a whopper of a hangover, it's the number of drinks overall that's mostly responsible.
So you think another drink will cure your shakes the morning after?
Your body is going through withdrawal. DTs and the fear aren't exclusive junkie territory you know. Hair of the dog just prolongs the torture. Although in the short term you'll dampen down the shakes, the body ends up having more toxins to deal with and more severe effects will result. Shakes will become earthquakes.
One more beer might make you feel a bit better (for a little while) but the only hangover cure is time.
That's right - TIME! It takes your body roughly one hour to get rid of one standard drink - that's half a pint, or a small glass of wine or a shot. So unless you've invented a time machine you just have to wait this one out!
And if you've seriously got the shakes the morning after, you're heading to be way older before your time. If not already, next you'll have chronic dry skin, bloodshot eyes, broken veins, ulcers and turn into a moody arse - all before you've got a chance to wear a 'Life begins at 30' badge. Time to rethink your drinking.
So you think he/she looks better after a few pints?
And you may well be right.
Researchers over at the University of Manchester came up with a formula to work out why a few pints can turn Ugly Betty into Betty Boop.
According to the scientists from the Department of Clinical Optometry, all you need to know is how much you've drunk (An), the level of light in the room (L) and if its smoky (S), how good your vision (Vo) is plus the distance (d) between you and the potential object of desire. If you have nothing better to do, here's the formula:
A low score rates as having little effect at all. But once you get over a factor of 50 you start bringing sexy back, while numbers in the 90s have the capability to produce visions of super models.
For those with something better to do, remember that just one drinking session can result in the most embarrassing and mortifying memories. For each pint you drink, you have more of a chance of falling victim to the beer goggles effect. Add a slippery nipple or two and you'll be waking up next to a face you will try to spend the next few years forgetting.
So you think you can sweat off a hangover?
Your body can't store alcohol, so it has to get rid of it - and your liver gets lumped with most of the work. The 5-10% of the alcohol not metabolised by the over-worked (and probably under-paid) liver escapes through urine, breath and sweat.
So while it is true that a tiny bit of the alcohol in your system is indeed sweated out of your body, it won't sober you up or cure the hangover. It will only make you a bit stinky!
Possibly explaining why you might find people giving you a wide berth the morning-after.
Handy hint: Rehydrating yourself with plenty of water and mild exercise can help ease the morning after effects. But don't overdo it though - a sweaty work out will make you feel ten times worse. Think a short walk down to the shop as opposed to a trek in the hills.
So you thinkit was the last drink you had that did the damage?
If you didn't have that last drink, maybe you wouldn't have lost your wallet or done a sexy salsa with Brian from Accounts or got sick in the taxi or ended up in A&E with an unexplained deep cut on your leg. Maybe.
Looking after yourself is more than knowing which drink should be your last. Sometimes, even small amounts of alcohol can do serious damage, like if you're pregnant, driving, on medication, or playing energetic sports.
Its fairly common knowledge that in the long run heavy drinking on a regular basis can lead to alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, stomach ulcers and a whole host of other nasty sounding ailments that will put you on first name terms with your doctor.
But staying in all week then hitting the town on a Friday and Saturday night can wreck your body just as bad, if not more. You are flooding the brain with large amounts of alcohol, then subjecting it to a sudden cold turkey withdrawal, then doing the same again next weekend, which seriously messes with your brain cells.
So think ahead. Have a couple of alcohol free days during the week and when meeting mates try a night out without the booze occasionally. If you only like them after you had a few, maybe you need some new friends! And when you do head to the pub try not to think 'must make up for lost time'. Relax, pace yourself and wake up with memories of a great night out, not worrying about whom you offended or where your phone, wallet or that 50 Euro (you keep for emergencies) is gone.
So you think it was the drink that texted your ex last night?
The alcohol made you do it? Oh purrr-leease. The lamest excuse in the book. Its up there with the dog ate my homework.
Researchers around the world have proved that it is possible for people who have been drinking to control their behaviour if they want to. No matter how hard you might convince yourself otherwise, we all know that means deep down you wanted to text your ex.
Take this case study: Canadian volunteers were asked to press a button when prompted by a computer screen but told not to press it if a red light also appeared. Those drinking were more likely to press the button when the red light was shown. However, when drinkers were offered a small reward they performed just as well as sober volunteers. Funny that.
Need a little incentive to stop you from texting your ex? How about the fact that you won't end up looking like a needy and obsessed drunken fool who can't move on. And remember that you have the right to text, but anything you do text may be used in evidence against you at a later date!
So you think certain drinks make you act unlike yourself?
What is it for you? Most people have one.
The fact is though, all the booze contained in every alcoholic drink is pretty much the same stuff - whether its lager, stout, wine, vodka, cider, whiskey, tequila, whatever - in simple terms, its really just ethanol with some flavourings. Alcohol is alcohol...
But how come we're all familiar with the reputation of certain drinks? For example, you'd probably expect that alcohol - particularly whiskey or strong lager - increases testosterone levels in men, right? Wrong. All types of booze make a lad's testosterone levels drop. After a big session you might only have half the testosterone you started with and it could be three days before you get it back up there, so to speak.
So why can personal experience tell you that some drinks affect you differently? One theory is that if you expect to react in a certain way to a certain drink, you probably will.
Several studies have been done where volunteers are given free booze if they take part in a study on the effects of alcohol, but half are given alcohol-free substitutes. Sneaky tricks like rubbing some alcohol around the rim of the glass helped to dupe the volunteers into thinking they were drinking the real deal. The researchers weren't being tight, this was the point of the experiment. And you'll never guess what happened. About 80% of the 'sober' volunteers who thought they were on the lash for free, started acting like they were drunk. They were talking louder, staggering about, feeling dizzy, slurring their speech, tripping up - yet they all would have passed a breathalyser test.
If you still think that certain drinks make you act unlike yourself, maybe it's not the drink but how and how much you're drinking. See also 'So you think the drink texted your ex last night?' - although you should know the answer to that by now.
So you think you know how to sober up quickly if you need to?
We've heard all sorts of crazy quick fixes - whisked raw egg, warm flat coke, rasher sandwiches, rubbing limes on your forehead, little herbal pills...
Not a chance of them working, it's biologically impossible.
Whether sitting on the bus or eating a full Irish, your body gets rid of alcohol at the average rate of one standard drink - that's half a pint, or a small glass of wine, or a shot - per hour.
Nothing can speed this up. Not even tea, energy drinks, a breakfast roll or an ice cold shower. You'll probably feel better but you'll just end up being a clean, well-fed, wide-awake drunk.
So you think lining your stomach with milk will stop you puking after drinking?
Lining your stomach only delays how quickly the alcohol finds its way into your bloodstream, it doesn't prevent it. And once in there, our bodies view alcohol as an irritant and a poisonous substance (it's called intoxication for a reason).
Pouring a load of booze into you will only result in your body fighting back and trying to get it out of you. Up and out, you could say. Not pleasant, as any former loo-hugger or hair-holder can vouch for.
Now don't get us wrong, eating before you drink is way better than scoffing a bag of greasy chips after a skin full. You'll avoid puking on the dance floor because you drank on an empty stomach and you won't succumb to overpriced burgers which you'd rightly avoid under normal circumstances. Milk on its own won't do much for you though.
Click here to download the Top Ten Booze Myths in PDF format.