There’s something great about tossing back a few (or several) brews with friends — but then you may be left to deal with the most miserable hangover you have ever experienced in your life the following morning. So you do your best to prevent that by avoiding the typical things: no beer before liquor, drinking a cup of coffee so you can sober up efficiently before bed, and staying away from the Red Bull and vodkas that you used to love so much. But sadly, none of these things are actually going to help you out. Alcohol is alcohol no matter how you consume it.
While some drinks may be more alcoholic than others, it has nothing to do with their color, even though many believe darker beers are automatically higher in alcohol than their light counterparts. And as for those alcoholic energy drinks you’re steering away from, that’s probably a good idea, but it’s not necessarily going to keep you from getting less intoxicated.
People like to believe they can curb the side effects of a hangover by vomiting up the rest of the alcohol in their systems before hitting the hay or consuming lighter colored alcohol rather than dark whiskeys and cognacs, but in reality, if you overindulge at all, you’re going to be hungover. Unless you have some super-secret trick up your sleeve we’re unaware of. In that case, leave them in the comments section so we can create a whole new story for you.
The reality of any alcohol-related situation is that drinking can impair your judgment, and often lead to some pretty gruesome Instagrams and drunk tweets. The best way to avoid a hangover, and embarrassing hazy memories, is to not overindulge at all. Don’t get us wrong — we encourage you to enjoy all that alcohol has to offer, but we think it’s best to enjoy it in moderation so you don’t have to worry about the hangover at all.
But in case you had one too many last night, take an aspirin, a Tums, and load up on the fatty foods — these are things that actually will help you, and not just myths. We promised to debunk the myths, and that we did. We rounded up the most ridiculous alcohol myths to set the record straight. If you have more alcohol-related myths, add them to the comments section and we’ll do our best to get to the bottom of your boozy questions.
1. The 'beer belly' is caused by drinking a lot of beer.
Thank goodness you can relax and take an extra swig of your beer without loosening your belt buckle. Professor of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis Charles Bamforth is also an Anheuser-Busch-endowed professor of brewing science and he told Popular Science, "The beer belly is a complete myth. The main source of calories in any alcoholic beverage is alcohol...There's nothing magical about the alcohol in beer, it's just alcohol." Alcohol has a high sugar content, which means that drinking too much of it will cause weight gain. Period. But if you’re seeing some extra girth around your midsection it can’t necessarily be blamed on the few extra beers you threw back on Saturday night — it very well might have been the martini last night, or the glass of wine on Friday. There is no longer a need to single out your poor beer as the cause of alcohol-induced weight gain.
2. Men and women of the same height can drink the same amounts.
If you're a woman, the next time you try to go shot for shot with a bunch of your guy friends you should remember that you actually will get drunker faster than the men in the group. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reported that when men and women of the same height, weight, and build were compared, it was found that men tended to have more muscle and less fat than women. Muscle has more water than fat, which means that alcohol is more diluted in men than in women. So in reality, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is going to be higher in a woman than in a man, and the woman will feel the effects of the alcohol sooner than a man will.
3. Absinthe is a hallucinogenic.
Believe it or not, there is actually an association dedicated to absinthe called The Wormwood Society. They reported that "Contrary to popular misconception, absinthe is not hallucinogenic, psychedelic, or narcotic. If you're looking for this kind of experience you'll be very disappointed in genuine absinthe. The only drug in absinthe is alcohol." Absinthe can be extremely high in alcohol content, though, making the drink extremely pungent when mixed in martinis and other cocktails. And let's face it, if you have too much of any alcohol you might start seeing things — it’s the beer goggles theory.
4. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks will make you drunker.
This was a tough myth to bust, but the answer is no, mixing alcohol with energy drinks will not make your drunker. California State University, Chico reported that alcohol mixed with energy drinks usually contains the same amount of alcohol as draft beers and wines, but it’s the addition of caffeine that can cause a dramatic intoxication. They reported that "experts have started to call [it] the 'wide-awake drunk.' Essentially, this means the individual will have the same blood alcohol content, BAC, as they would have without drinking the energy drink, however the stimulants creates a more 'sobering' effect." It should be noted that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can be incredibly dangerous to your health — we don’t recommend it.
For more alcohol related myths, check out the full list.
5. Drinking coffee will sober you up.
MythBusters helped us to bust this myth. They reported that "Coffee does not help you get sober. If you're plastered, you're going to have to wait several hours for the alcohol to leave your system on its own. Drinking coffee won't make your body metabolize alcohol faster." Alcohol has to metabolize in your body in order for you to sober up. Caffeine won’t necessarily speed up that process, but it may heighten your senses and allow you to appear more sober. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to sleep off your drunken stupor.
For more alcohol myths, check out the full story.
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