Myths and Facts about Drinking

Myth 1: Everyone has a similar reaction to alcohol.

Fact: People react differently to alcohol due to many physical factors, such as weight, metabolism and gender [1].

Related: How Much is Too Much?

Myth 2: Men and women, of similar height and weight, can drink the same amount of alcohol.

Fact: Women have less water in their bodies than men, so the alcohol concentration in their bodies will be higher after drinking—resulting in a tendency to get drunk faster. Females also metabolise or break down alcohol slower. Hormonal changes during menstrual cycles can also affect alcohol absorption [1].

Related: Women and Alcohol - How Well Do They Mix

Myth 3: A cold shower or hot coffee helps to sober you up.

Fact: Only time will remove alcohol from the bloodstream. It takes the body about one hour to eliminate one standard alcoholic drink [1].

Related: Tipsy Is Not Classy

Myth 4: Switching between beer, wine and spirits gets you drunk quicker than sticking to one type of alcohol.

Fact: The level of alcohol in one’s blood is what determines a person’s likelihood to get drunk. A standard drink of beer, wine, or spirits contains equivalent amounts of alcohol. It is the number of standard drinks that one consumes rather than intermixing between different beverages that is the determining factor.

Related: Why is Binge Drinking Bad for You?

Myth 5: Eating a big meal or oily food before drinking will keep you sober.

Fact: Although a full stomach will help delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, alcohol will still get into your blood. And depending on the amount consumed, you can still get drunk [1].

Related: Get Up, Stand Up

Myth 6: Anyone who passes out from drinking should just ‘sleep it off’.

Fact: If a friend you’re with has had too much to drink and passes out, they should not be left alone as there is a risk of alcohol poisoning. Instead, you should keep an eye on them and check their breathing and heart rate. They should also lie down with their head to one side to prevent them from choking if they throw up [2].

Related: Don’t Be a Party Pooper!

Myth 7: Drinking more alcohol can help cure one’s hangover.

Fact: If you’re having a hangover, chances are that you are suffering from dehydration and a lack of certain minerals like magnesium and potassium in your body. Drinking more alcohol will only prolong your hangover. Instead of having the ‘hair of the dog that bit you’, replenish your fluids and minerals by drinking water, sports drinks or coconut water [3].

Related: Pint of No Return

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  1. Paton, A. 2005, Alcohol in the body, British Medical Journal, 220(7482): 85-87, Accessed from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC543875/ on 1 Feb 2022.
  2. National Health Service, "Alcohol Poisoning", 2019. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-poisoning/. Accessed 1 Feb 2022
  3. American Addiction Centers, "Drinking off a Hangover", 2021. Accessed from: https://alcoholrehab.com/alcoholism/effects/drinking-off-a-hangover on 1 Feb 2022.