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Reviewing Alcohol Facts vs. Fiction

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD November 12, 2019

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser reviews common alcohol facts and fiction.

alcohol and carbohydrates
Today’s Straight, No Chaser puts a personal spin on an old favorite because well, frankly some of you drink too much. Here is your six-pack (plus one for the road) of common myths that are just waiting to be busted.

If I drink too much, I’ll get a beer belly.

  • FALSE. Any ‘belly’ is caused by poor dietary intake and insufficient exercise.  A beer drinker who’s otherwise in shape won’t have a beer belly.  The young lady in the picture above is more likely to get a beer belly from the potato chips than the booze, which will give her plenty else about which to be concerned.

I get drunker from mixing dark liquor and light liquor, or from switching between beers and wines.

  • FALSE. You’re drunk exclusively because of the concentration of alcohol in your body.  Nothing more or less.

Drinking coffee sobers me up.

  • FALSE. Alcohol is eliminated from the body by a certain fixed percentage per hour. This is true regardless of height, weight, age or sex.  Nothing you’re doing, including drinking coffee or taking a cold shower is accelerating that process.

alcohol facts and fiction

A man of the same height and weight as a woman can more easily tolerate the same amount of liquor.

  • TRUE. Women tend to get more affected by liquor than men because women (on average) have a higher proportion of fat stores than men.  This allows the blood alcohol concentrate to become higher in women quicker when consuming the same amounts.

Drinking more frequently helps me ‘hold my liquor’ better.

  • TRUE OR FALSE, YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED IF THIS IS HAPPENING.  If you find yourself better able to hold your liquor, your first concern should be whether or not you’re exhibiting signs of alcohol tolerance.  Tolerance is an indication of dependency – in other words, a progression toward alcoholism.

I can drive home because one or two drinks don’t make me drunk.

  • FALSE. For your purposes, drunk is a legal definition based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  Even if you feel fine, after a single drink, your BAC is above the normal limit. Furthermore, it is high enough to get you put behind bars if something happens and you’re tested. How you ‘feel’ is irrelevant.

I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk.  Alcoholics go to meetings.  Drunks go to parties.

  • FALSE and only FUNNY until someone dies.
  • Actually, you both go to the emergency room. And to jail. Way too often. Like this guy arrested for a DWI after crashing into a cop car while wearing the shirt.  Stay classy.

alcoholicdrunk
If you have any other questions or myths you’d like busted, tee them up for me, and I’ll address them.  Cheers!

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