We are not sufficiently aware of the effects of alcohol on our bodies, says Diageo, a world leader in alcoholic beverages. It is therefore high time to confirm or disprove a number of statements about alcohol.
Statement 1: A standard glass of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a standard glass of whiskey
FACT. Alcohol is alcohol. So it doesn’t matter at all whether you drink a beer, a glass of wine or a whiskey. When using a standard glass, each drink contains exactly the same amount of alcohol. In the Netherlands, such a standard unit is 10 grams of alcohol.
Statement 2: Older people are better off alcohol
FABULOUS. As we get older, our muscle mass decreases so that our body contains less water and alcohol, on the other hand, has a harder weight. Contrary to what we often think, older people are less able to handle alcohol.
Statement 3: Women get drunk faster than men
FACT. The liver breaks down alcohol through the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase or ADH. Women have less ADH enzyme in their body. That means that when they drink the same amount of alcohol as men, they feel its effects more strongly. Women do get drunk faster than men.
Statement 4: You get drunk faster on carbonated alcoholic drinks
FACT. Carbonic acid is officially called carbon dioxide (CO2) and is the prick or bubbles in soft drinks, beer and champagne. Most of the carbon dioxide in a drink does not reach the stomach, as much of it disappears after opening the bottle. The remaining amount that reaches the stomach causes irritation to the stomach wall, causing your blood vessels to dilate and your body to absorb more alcohol.
Statement 5: Drinking coffee helps against a hangover
FABULOUS. In fact, it is not a good idea at all to drink coffee if you have previously drunk (too much) alcohol. The caffeine narrows your blood vessels, which increases your blood pressure and can make the hangover worse.
Statement 6: Our sense of alcohol is in our genes
FACT. According to the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis, our sense of alcohol comes from our ancestors. When they went looking for food, they always chose the ripest fruit. They contain the most energy, but also often ferment. During that process, ethanol (pure alcohol) is released. Ethanol is reasonably light and can also be spread by wind. This allowed our ancestors to smell ethanol and pick out the ripest fruit.
Statement 7: Some people get drunk without drinking alcohol
FACT. Those who suffer from Auto Brewery Syndrome convert carbohydrates into alcohol. This condition is also referred to as intestinal fermentation. This is a rare condition in which ethanol (or pure alcohol) is produced in the intestines after eating carbohydrates.
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