It’s Friday the 13th and even though Halloween has come and gone, drinking myths and urban legends are here to stay. Everyone has that friend who swears they know the best way to avoid a hangover, or who refuses to start the night out with beer. You might be surprised to find out how many drinking “facts” are easily debunked.
1. Alcohol + energy drinks = more drunk
The myth says that all those vodka redbulls will make you twice as drunk is false. Energy drinks are filled with caffeine (duh), which hides the sedative effects of alcohol. While that buzz may trick you into drinking a few more than you should, it has no direct effect on how alcohol affects you.
2. Beer before liquor never been sicker…
People think that beer is a “lesser” alcoholic beverage, so starting off with the real hard stuff and slowing down with beer at the end of the night keeps you from getting sick. Wrong. The amount you drink has way more to do than mixing different alcohols. As always, pacing is key.
3. Darker alcohols are better for you
It’s true that darker beers and wines have more antioxidants than lighter ones, but they don’t have more nutritional or health value. Darker alcohols contain more cogeners—chemicals created during the fermentation process—which actually cause worse hangovers. So think about switching out that spiced rum and gold tequila for lighter versions.
4. The older a wine is, the better it is
Just because some wines are meant to be aged for a few years doesn’t mean that the bottle of wine you forgot at the back of your pantry got better with age. Some wines are meant to be consumed within a year of production and definitely won’t get better with age.
5. Dark beer has a higher alcohol content
Darker beers may look thicker and taste fuller, but color is not the only indicator of a low-cal brew. The color of a beer depends on the type of grain used in brewing. Stout beers actually have fewer calories and a lower alcohol content than paler beers
6. Beer is the new Gatorade
Recent research suggested that beer is better at rehydrating athletes than water because of the vitamins and minerals, carbonation, and carbohydrates. The study really showed only a slight rehydration benefit—about the same as a sports drink—but the effect of alcohol on the liver and pancreas does more harm than good.
7. The puke-and-rally
If you get sick during/after drinking, that means the alcohol hasn’t been fully digested or absorbed by your body, right? Wrong. The bloodstream starts absorbing alcohol almost immediately, so throwing up probably means there’s already too much alcohol in the body to escape the hellish hangover in your future.
8. An aspirin a day keeps the hangover away
Taking a pill before the pain starts may seem smart, but the meds will probably wear off before the headache even kicks in. Plus, taking aspiring or ibuprofen while still drinking is actually dangerous. The painkillers erode the stomach lining and, along with alcohol, can cause potential liver damage and a higher BAC. Taking a pain reliever the morning after can help ease your headache, just don’t do it the night before.
9. Eating before bed to “sober up”
Chowing down on that fifth slice of drunken pizza might seem like a good way to avoid the spins, but it won’t actually do anything other than sate your drunchies. By the time food hits your stomach, the alcohol has already been absorbed. Combining greasy food and alcohol can actually contribute to acid reflux, and nobody wants that
10. Light beer is healthy beer
The lower calorie count and slightly lower alcohol content in light beer make people think that it’s a healthier beer choice. The color and number of calories doesn’t necessarily signify how healthy a beer is. The truth is, most people end up drinking more to make up for the lower alcohol content.
11. Drinking makes you dumber
Alcohol impairs your thinking, but it doesn’t permanently destroy brain cells (thank goodness). It damages the feelers on the neurons that trigger motor responses to physical stimuli—the reason why you may find walking challenging and send texts that are completely unreadable. However, alcohol abuse, since it is often accompanied by other poor habits, can result in damage that doesn’t fade with the hangover.
12. Coffee + cold shower = sober city
Some people swear by this invigorating combo as a way to get rid of sleepiness and reduce the effects of alcohol, but it only treats the symptoms. The only real cure for getting rid of the alcohol in your system is time.
13. Carbo-load before you drink
Eating before you go out drinking can slow your body’s absorption of alcohol, but it won’t keep you from getting drunk. The body absorbs alcohol through the stomach lining and small intestine, so a full belly just delays the buzz. Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea, but even if you eat, moderation is the best policy.