Alcohol Myths Busted
Learn the truth
You’ve probably heard these around a cocktail party (or uttered them yourself). Sadly, that doesn’t make ’em true.
Myth: A drink with diet cola will keep me sharp
Actually, it won’t, nor will sipping coffee keep you sober. "Having caffeine with alcohol is actually more dangerous," Dr. Walters says, "because you feel more energized and may drink past what you should."
Myth: I have a high tolerance
Maybe—but that doesn’t mean it takes you more booze to get drunk; it simply takes you more alcohol to feel drunk.
"There are people whose bodies process alcohol differently and who appear to have a high tolerance," Dr. Walters acknowledges. "But that puts them at a higher risk of dangerous decision-making, because their bodies aren’t giving them the cues that they’ve had too much to drink."
More on tolerance
Conversely, some people have an alcohol intolerance, which doesn’t get them drunk quicker, but does make drinking unpleasant.
"About half the Asian population and a small percent of the rest of the population get flushed, headachey, dizzy, and even have heart palpitations shortly after drinking alcohol," Dr. Zakhari says. "They lack ALDH, so the toxins linger in their systems."
Myth: I’ve had one drink in an hour, so I’m safe to drive
While it’s true that it takes one hour for men’s bodies to metabolize one drink, Dr. Urschel suggests that women wait at least an hour and a half, due to our unique physiology.
Even then, he says, "you can’t trust your judgment once you’re buzzed," and you’ll probably feel buzzed sooner than you think. The longeryou wait to drive, the more sober you’ll feel and the lower your BAC will be.
Myth: I don’t get as drunk when I drink vodka
We wish. Truth is, any hard liquor will get you drunk just as fast—but darker liquors might make you feel worse the next day, Dr. Walters says.
That’s because brown liquors (think: whiskey and rum) contain impurities called congeners, byproducts of fermentation that can bottleneck in the body while enzymes in the stomach and liver try to convert them to water, leading to intense hangovers.