Drinking Myths Debunked

Working through the true and false drinking myths to help you stay on your feet
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Drinking myths are passed down from generation to generation, usually when one heads to college. But not all hold up under scientific scrutiny. Check out this quick list before you head out to see if your alcohol folklore will really help keep hangovers at bay.

The hair of the dog: In Medieval times, people believed that the best way to heal a bite from a rabid dog was to put dog hair on the wound. Today’s version, drinking a beer in the morning to ease a hangover, has just as much scientific backing. One of the major causes of a hangover is dehydration, and since alcohol is a diuretic, it just makes dehydration worse, Beth Israel Medical Center explains. The same goes for coffee, another favorite hangover cure.

Liquor before beer, in the clear: This cherished mantra, along with “beer before liquor, never sicker,” is meant to prevent a bad hangover the next morning. In the end, the amount you drink is what gives you a hangover, but starting off with a cocktail then moving to beer may actually be helpful, according to the Beth Israel Medical Center. Because your blood alcohol level rises faster when drinking liquor than drinking beer, you feel the effects faster. That may encourage you to slow down with a beer and ultimately drink less. Starting with the slower effects of beer instead may inspire you to drink more liquor at a faster rate and consume more drinks by the end of the night.

Carbs help keep you sober: While no number of bagels can stand up against a whole night of drinking, having food in your system helps absorb some of the alcohol so it doesn’t move right into your blood stream. Fatty foods take the longest to digest, so pizza, while not a dieter’s friend, could potentially lessen the effects of drinking.

— Nancy Ryerson, HellaWella


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