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Health and Fitness News

Alcohol Fact or Fiction?

Knowing the truth about drinking alcohol can help you make wise decisions.

Alcohol misuse is a leading cause of premature death and disability. Each year around the world, millions of deaths are attributed to alcohol, whether from alcohol-related disease, cancer, or injury. Because of alcohol’s power, myths surrounding alcohol have been passed down for generations. Perhaps if people knew the truth about drinking, they would be less likely to drink irresponsibly.

What myths are out there? Read on to find out. Just be prepared. You may find out that what you thought was fact is fiction.

Myth #1: You Can Get Sober with Coffee

Through the ages, people have tried all kinds of tricks to get sober, but drinking coffee, eating bread, breathing fresh air, or taking a cold shower will not get you closer to sober. These activities will do nothing but help keep you awake. To overcome drunkeness, there is only one thing required: time. Without it, your body can’t break down the alcohol in your system. On average, it takes one hour for a single drink to be eliminated by the body. Until this happens, your coordination and ability to make decisions is impaired, even if the impairment is not noticeable.

Myth #2: You Won’t Get as Drunk with Beer

“Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” If you believe this, you’ve being fooled. While mixing drinks will likely make you sicker to your stomach, it’s the serving size that matters—not the type of alcohol or the order you drink it. A 12-ounce can of beer, a cocktail with 1.5 ounces of liquor, and a five-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol and are equally intoxicating.

Myth #3: Eating Food before Drinking Helps You Stay Sober

Eating a steak before chugging a 12-pack won’t keep you sober. It’s the amount of alcohol you drink and not how much food is in your stomach that determines how drunk you get. A full stomach may slow the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol, but it will not keep you from getting drunk.

Myth #4: A Hangover Is the Worst That Can Happen

As bad as a hangover can feel, it’s definitely not the worst that can happen after a night of drinking. Death from alcohol poisoning, injuries or death to self or others due to drunk driving, and engaging in risky behaviors are all possible. So if you just have a headache the day after having a few too many, count yourself lucky.

Myth #5: Passing Out Isn’t a Big Deal

You may think that passing out from drinking is normal, but it’s far from okay. Alcohol is a depressant that slows your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Passing out from drinking occurs when your body can’t process the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed. If you pass out, you’ve ingested a dangerous amount of alcohol. If you continued drinking, you could die. Passing out is your body’s way of protecting you from further harm.

Myth #6: It’s Fine to Leave Your Drunk Friends Alone to Let Them Sleep It Off

While it’s good for drunk people to sleep off an alcohol-fueled evening, don’t leave them alone. Stay nearby to make sure they’re still breathing and can waken easily. If you’re with a friend who passes out and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately.

Myth #7: A Breath Mint Will Help You Pass a Breathalyzer Test

A breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol on your breath. This measurement helps determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). When you breathe, alcohol in the blood is vaporized and exits the lungs when you exhale. And no number of breath mints can help you beat this tried-and-true test.