Common myths about drinking – true or not?
How often have you caught your mates – or even yourself – coming out with some anecdotal explanation for why a particular drink or way of drinking is good or better than another? I have. For example, I regurgitated the tale that red wine is good for you, just because I’d read that one article that one time. Or, eating before bed will soak up the booze. Today, we start breaking down some of those myths about drinking, but feel free to add and share your own as this is not an exhaustive list! In fact, culturally, we all have our own unique ways of approaching a drinking session and/or the day after. But let’s get started, get busting those myths about drinking…
Darker alcohols are healthier
The Myth: Here’s the deal, darker beers and wines generally do have more antioxidants than their lighter counterparts. This is because the darker hues signify higher flavanoid content in beer and higher polyphenol content in wines. I don’t know what that means either, until Google explained that while these options are higher in calories, they contain more nutritional value and are therefore considered healthier than their paler friends… Yeah, but no, not really.
The Fact: While darker alcohols may contain more antioxidants, they can also contain more toxic chemicals created during the fermentation process, which can actually make for worse hangovers.
Older wine is better
The Myth: The older the wine, the more sofffffisteekatated you feel, right? Aged wine is considered to have more flavor, to be of higher quality, and well, more expensive. So, surely that bottle from ASDA that’s been sitting on the shelf for 3 months will be a fine vintage by now?
The Fact: Wrong. It really depends on the type of wine (And I’m pretty sure anything from ASDA doesn’t count). Some wines are meant to be consumed within a year of production and don’t get better after that, while others are intended to be stored in a wine cellar for a few years to reach their peak quality. But, often a wine will sit past its expiration date getting less impressive with time… In fact, wine’s antioxidant content might actually decrease as it ages as well as tasting kinda gross.
Eating before bed will reduce hangover
The Myth: Ah, the all too familiar pizza and kebab stop off, where cheesey, salty, carby goodness will quench the craving, justified by thoughts of, “this will help the hangover tomorrow”.
The Fact: As comforting as those thoughts may be, your 3am kebab will do very little to sober you up or reduce the severity of those hangover pains. You’re just going to have to deal.
By the time that food has hit your stomach, the alcohol is long gone and has been absorbed into your system. Greasy food won’t help your liver metabolize the alcohol any faster. In fact, the combination of alcohol and greasy food can actually contribute to acid reflux (that feeling you get when acid content from the stomach flows up into the esophagus), meaning you’ll feel even worse in the morning…
Coffee and a cold shower will sober you up
The Myth: Cute. It would be awesome if this combination actually worked to banish sleep and wash away the effects of booze, but… the wake-up call is only treating the symptoms, not the cause of your fatigue.
The Fact: A human liver can process about one standard drink every hour. Coffee or a cold shower might wake you up a little, but it doesn’t actually speed up the process of eliminating the stuff from your system. Time is the only cure, I’m afraid.
Eating a big meal before drinking will help keep you sober
The Myth: Yes annnnnd no. I mean, realistically, sure, eating before drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol by the body, but it can’t prevent you from getting drunk. Only not drinking would stop you getting drunk.
The Fact: The body absorbs alcohol through the stomach lining and small intestine, so if you’ve eaten it will take longer for the booze to hit the system. So eating delays getting drunk, but doesn’t avoid it completely. As the food gets digested, the stomach empties and will begin to absorb alcohol. It’s not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, but eating beforehand is not a cheat code that will let you keep drinking all night.
A nightcap will help you sleep
The Myth: A drink before bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep…
The Fact: …but booze-fueled snoozing quickly becomes disrupted. Having a drink before bed, might help us fall asleep but what follows is not so restful. Waking up at 2, 3 and/or 4 a.m, tossing and turning, gasping for water. Sound familiar? Even just a glass or two of your favourite tipple can cause you to miss out on the important stages of sleep, meaning you sleep more lightly. So, when we stop drinking, we’re kinda expecting sleep is a given. But what if it’s not? Alcohol typically disrupts sleep during rapid eye movement or REM sleep, leading to a decreased amount of time spent in this crucial stage. Read more about it in our Sleep Blog.
Tactical Vomit Will Sober You Up and Help You Avoid a Hangover
The Myth: HAHAHA.
The Fact: Okay, we’ve by and large all been there. When the urge to throw up comes, there’s nothing that’s going to hold you back. You better just roll with it, because at the point where you’re spewing up, well, you’ve already had too much. Right about now is as good a time as any to start sobering you up.
Puking does nothing to get rid of alcohol before it gets into your system, because – surprise! – it’s already there.
Since alcohol exits your liver, it’s not the alcohol that makes you feel sick but your stomach’s tendency to pump out noxious amounts of hydrochloric acid when you drink a lot. All that acid in your stomach tells your brain that whatever’s in there needs to come out – preferably in an explosive manner.