A Look Into Drinking Myths

Myth #1 – Eating after drinking can help reduce an impending hangover

False. Eating after drinking will do nothing, since the alcohol will be absorbed long before the food is digested. In fact, consuming greasy foods after alcohol can facilitate acid reflux, compounding the undesirable symptoms of a hangover the following morning. Instead, it is a much better idea to eat a suitable amount of non-greasy food — as well as drink water — before starting to drink at all.

Myth #2 – Caffeine or a cold shower can speed the sobering-up process

False. Though both may give you a quick (albeit temporary) jolt, only time will completely allow the liver to process the alcohol that was consumed (at the average rate of about one standard drink per hour).

Myth # 3 – Puking can help a person sober up

False. Alcohol absorption into the bloodstream begins almost immediately upon consumption (since it is a liquid, it passes more easily through the digestive tract). While forced puking is largely inadvisable, involuntary vomiting might in fact be an indication of alcohol poisoning.

Myth #4 – Darker colored alcohols are healthier for you

Somewhat true. Darker colored drinks (for instance, dark beers and red wines) generally contain higher concentrations of antioxidants than their lighter-colored counterparts (for instance, light beers or white wines). Antioxidants can help protect the body’s cells from the damaging effects of compounds known as free radicals, which form naturally when oxygen reacts with certain molecules (especially during cellular metabolism). These elevated antioxidant concentrations are thought to be a result of increased flavonoid and polyphenol concentrations in each drink; both compounds have naturally antioxidant properties. At the same time, darker alcohols also possess greater amounts of cogeners — harmful chemical byproducts of the fermentation process — that can worsen hangover symptoms the following day. Finally, lighter versions are just that when it comes to calories — some light drinks may have fewer than half the number of calories as their darker counterparts.

Myth # 5 – The older the wine, the better

Generally false. Some wines are produced with the intention of being set aside to age for a certain period of time, after which they reach their peak quality. However, others are made to be consumed the year of production, and letting them sit in a cellar does nothing for their flavor or quality. When wines do age successfully, it is the result of compounds called tannins — found in grape seeds, skins and stems — that bind with the alcohols and esters within the wine to change its aroma and flavor profile. Tannins may also react with proteins in human saliva, resulting in different perceived “textures” that the wine may leave in your mouth (as a result of varying degrees of viscosity, friction and astringency).






About The Author

Jason Choe
Business Lead

I have an identical twin brother attending UC Berkeley who researches diabetes at UCSF, but doesn't work as part of the science magazine there. Basically the opposite of me! Otherwise, I'm from SoCal but I never learned to surf, I'm 100% Korean but I've only ever been to Korea once, and I once ran into a shark off the coast of Hawaii.