14 Drinking Myths Busted – Out With The Old, In With The New

Like learning exercise Broscience from so many Bros , our methods for alcohol consumption seem to be based on what we learned from drunk people who, I would add, are the most reliable, trustworthy bunch of people ever.

(I would totally trust this guy with my life)

So lets set some new ground rules about how to be healthy and smart when engaging in so much merriment.

1. The Old: Mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you drunker. They say caffeine masks the sedative effects of alcohol that often cue people to stop drinking [1]. As a result, people continue to drink far past their safe point. [2] [3].

The New: Energy drinks alter the perception of how intoxicated we really are, but have no direct effect on how those shots hit us. Actually, mixing alcohol with diet soda may actually increase intoxication.

3. The Old: Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.

The New: The amount you drink matters more than the type of drinks you consume or how you mix them. Drinking too much of any alcohol too quickly can make you sick, whether its wine, beer, or liquor. No matter what youre drinking, pacing is key.

4. The Old: Darker alcohols are always healthier. Darker beers and wines generally have more antioxidants than light beer and white wine (the darker hues are thought to signify higher flavanoid content in beers andhigher polyphenol content in wines).

The New: While darker alcohols may contain more antioxidants, they can also contain more cogeners—toxic chemicals created during the fermentation process—which can worsen hangovers (this goes for beer, wine, rum, whiskey, gold tequila, and pretty much any drink with a darkish hue).

5. The Old: Older wine is better. The year on the label must mean something, right? Aged wine is perceived as more complex in flavor, more expensive, and of a higher quality.

The New: It depends on the type of wine. Some are meant to be consumed within one year of production and don’t get any better after time, while others are intended to be stored in a wine cellar for a few years to reach their peak quality. Unfortunately, a wine that sits past its intended expiration date does not get any more impressive with time. In fact, wine’s antioxidant content might actually decrease as it ages.

6. The Old: Dark beer is higher in alcohol than light beer. Dark beers just look like they’re thicker, fuller in taste, and higher in carbs and calories. Many also assume blacker brews, like porters and ales, are higher in alcohol.

The New:  Color is not the sole indicator of a light-bodied, lower-calorie brew. Beer’s color depends on the type of grain it was made from. Some dark beers, like stout, are actually lower in both alcohol and calories than their paler cousins.

7. The Old: Beer is a good workout recovery drink. Some research has suggested that beer can rehydrate athletes better than water for three key reasons: one, that beer’s vitamins and minerals offer health benefits that water doesn’t have; two, that the carbonation helps quench thirst; and, three, that the carbs help replenish energy stores.

The New: There was only a slight rehydration benefit over water. Sports drinks containing sugars, salt, and potassium can similarly rehydrate an exhausted body without the negative side effects of alcohol. Plus, alcohols effect on the liver and pancreas causes oxygen to leave the bloodstream more quickly, which inhibits the transport of digestive enzymes and essential nutrients through the body. This slows muscle growth and repair and impairs the metabolism of carbs for energy.

8. The Old: Puking helps you sober up and prevents hangovers. Theoretically, tetting rid of alcohol that hasn’t yet been digested (read: vomiting) means it won’t be absorbed by the body and can’t contribute to tomorrow morning’s headache.

The New: Alcohol absorption into the bloodstream begins as soon as it hits your stomach lining, bypassing the slow-digesting intestines. Explosively removing alcohol from your stomach will do nothing if youre already drunk enough to cause a hangover the next day.

9. The Old: Taking Aspirin or ibuprofen before heavy drinking can reduce hangover effects.

The New: Taking painkillers before pain sets in won’t help—the med’s power will wear off before that headache comes on. Absolutely do not take aspirin or ibuprofen while still drinking. The painkillers can erode the stomach lining, which, coupled with the stomach irritants in alcohol, can cause liver inflammation and allow more alcohol into the bloodstream, resulting in potential liver damage and a higher-than-normal Blood Alcohol Content.

10. The Old: Eating before bed will reduce hangover.

The New: By the time that pizza hits the stomach, the alcohol consumed has already been absorbed into your system. Greasy food and alcohol can actually contribute to acid reflux. If you want food to help slow down alcohol absorption, consume a snack or a meal before you start drinking (But dont take this as free license to binge-drink.). 

11. The Old: Light beer is healthier.

The New: Many people may end up drinking more to compensate for the lower alcohol levels, ultimately consuming more calories than if they’d stuck with full-strength brews [6].  Calorie counts and alcohol content vary between brands, not necessarily beers. Remember, the number of calories in a product isnt the sole determinent of how healthy it is. Instead of automatically opting for a light variety, look for a beer that’s healthier overall.

12. The Old: Alcohol kills brain cells.

The New: It may impair your thinking, but alcohol doesn’t permanently destroy brain cells. It damages dendrites, which are the little feelers on neurons that convey electrical messages from your brain to your body. That being said, its important to note that persistent alcohol abuse can indirectly contribute to lasting defects, since alcoholism is often accompanied by other poor health habits like poor nutrition. Overuse of alcohol combined with a lack of nutrients can lead to memory lapses and problems with motor coordination.

13. The Old: Coffee and a cold shower will sober you up.

The New: A human liver can process about one standard drink every hour (That’s 1.5 oz of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.) Coffee or a dunk in a brisk shower might wake you up a little, but its just addressing the symptom, not the cause. It wont speed up the process of eliminating the bad stuff from your system. Time is the only cure.

14. The Old: Eating a big meal before drinking will keep you sober.

The New: The body begins absorbing alcohol through the stomach lining and small intestine, so if your stomach is full of food, it will take longer for the buzz to sink in. This may delay feeling drunk, but it won’t stop it completely. Eventually, the stomach will empty from dinner and alcohol absorption will pick up again. Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, but eating beforehand isn’t a free pass to pound shots, either. As with so many things when it comes to health, moderation is key.

There you go. Drink wisely!

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