12 myths about alcohol

Can a buttery pastry help you avoid getting drunk? Will another glass of alcohol help you pass the hangover? All the answers to all the important questions

1.Is alcohol good for you?

Alcohol is not a health product and should not be consumed for health reasons. Nevertheless, alcohol, and not only red wine, reduces the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease if consumed moderately – up to 2 servings for women and up to 3 servings for men. Drinking beyond this amount is far from being healthy.

All you need to know about moderate drinking

2. Is mixing various types of alcohol bad for you?

Not exactly. Alcohol (i.e. the ethanol molecules within alcohol) is the same in all the alcoholic beverages. The difference between the beverages is in various raw materials they are made of, and therefore they differ in their composition, their taste and their effect on the drinker. The decision to mix drinks and the effect of mixing are personal. Some people enjoy it, others feel sick of it. A cocktail, by definition, is a mix of various beverages that create a new  taste. Therefore, mixing alcoholic beverages is not harmful. However, the quantity and quality of alcohol are significant parameters.

3. Alcohol warms the body – can it be the perfect solution for a cold winter?

Not at all! It is correct that the first sips of an alcoholic beverage make you feel warm. When you drink alcohol, your blood vessels dilate and the blood that flows through the vessels adjacent to the skin temporarily makes you feel warm. But in fact, vasodilation causes a slowdown in blood pressure, loss of heat and cooling. In winter, such effects are quite dangerous! The bottom line: Alcohol does not warm the body.

4. An abundant meal before drinking will get you through the night

Yes and no. Only time relieves the effect of alcohol. Eating before drinking is recommended. The food slows alcohol absorption, but not the rate of its decomposition in the liver. Therefore, food slows down the inebriation but doesn’t prevent it. It totally depends on you.

5. Eating large amounts of high-fat foods protects from excessive drinking.

No. Eating before or during a night out is a good idea, because it will slow down the absorption of alcohol by your body, but unfortunately, it doesn’t protect you from excessive drinking. The liver breaks down alcohol at a constant rate, regardless of the rate of alcohol absorption. Eventually, the body has a limited alcohol absorption capacity.

6. An easy way to get rid of hangover is having another drink.

No. If you get hit – would you feel better if someone punched you again? Hangover is that physical sensation caused by excessive drinking. In such a condition, the body loses fluids and to regain them, it absorbs the liquids from the brain, drying it out and causing headaches.

Hangover symptoms may vary from one person to another and besides headaches, it is often accompanied by nausea, fatigue, general body weakness, thirst, anxiety, irritability, sensitivity to light and noise, and insomnia. One of main reasons for hangover is dehydration due to the presence of alcohol in your body. When alcohol concentration in your blood raises, the body reacts by extracting a large amount of fluids (remember that you often have to wait in line to get to the toilet at the bar?), which causes dehydration. Therefore, having another drink will not help you recover from an excessive amount of alcohol. What you need is water and rest.

7. Alcohol increases sexual performance

It might boost your confidence, but excessive drinking actually reduces sexual ability (including a possible lack of erection), while prolonged periods of drinking may cause infertility.

8. Will it help if I take a pill against headaches in advance?

No. All the commonly used painkillers, such as Nurofen, Advil, Adex, Aspirin, etc., can harm the stomach and erode the mucous membranes (that’s why it is recommended to take it with food). It is better to take a painkiller in the morning, when you feel the hangover.

9. Coffee and cold shower help to get through the hangover

No. In fact, they stimulate the circulatory system, thereby increasing the effect of alcohol.

10. Drinking lots of coffee sobers you up quickly.

This is not true. While caffeine may wake you up, it will not make you sober any faster. Caffeine does not cause the liver to break down alcohol faster. Moreover, caffeine is a diuretic and therefore, drinking coffee after drinking alcohol may increase the hangover in the morning.

11. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol prevents hangovers.

Not true. Energy drinks can make alcohol taste better. In addition, they contain large amounts of caffeine, which makes you feel less tired when you drink alcohol. However, they will not prevent you from getting drunk and will not prevent the hangover. Sometimes they may even enhance the bad feeling.

The danger of mixing alcohol with energy drinks is that many drinkers think that it neutralizes the effect of alcohol, so they can drink more. As with coffee, the caffeine in energy drinks may speed up dehydration and enhance the hangover in the morning.

12. Does vomiting cure hangovers?

No. Alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream within minutes, so it is completely wrong to think that vomiting will help you get rid of alcohol. The small amount of alcohol in the vomit will not help you get rid of all the alcohol that you have already absorbed and will not prevent a hangover. On the contrary, by vomiting you will lose even more fluids and dehydrate yourself faster, which may be quite dangerous. If you vomit after drinking alcohol, make sure to drink water.