|"Busting Beer Myths"
My article "Not True - Lies About Beer" generated quite a response so the good
folks at BeerNexus asked me to do a follow up. So in the spirit of the many myth
busters that show us reality is not so bad after all, here are five myths that have
persisted for many years.... until now!
Myth: Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear.
Busted: It isn't which order you consume your drinks that matters, it's the total
amount of alcohol that you consume. With any alcohol, your inhibition decreases,
which often leads to drinking more — so if you start with a beverage that has a
higher alcohol content, your inhibition goes down more quickly and you drink more.
Myth: Eating before bed will help a hangover.
Busted: Food has to be in your stomach BEFORE you drink to help a hangover.
Food slows down the alcohol going into your bloodstream giving it less of a chance to
reach high levels. All food slows digestion but fatty meals work best, so eat a steak or
pizza, for example Instead of eating before bed, you should drink a full glass of water
Myth: Take acetaminophen before bedtime to relieve your hangover in the morning.
Busted: Taking acetaminophen can be dangerous since after drinking the liver is
busy metabolizing alcohol so it shunts the acetaminophen to a separate pathway that
metabolizes it into toxic compounds. Instead, you should stick to ibuprofen: It not only
helps with the headache but treats inflammation. Take two before bed.
Myth: Alcohol helps you sleep well
Busted: Actually alcohol disrupts sleep. While a nightcap may help you fall asleep
more quickly, it interferes with the quality of your sleep. You don't spend enough time
in the deepest cycle of sleep (the REM cycle) and you'll likely wake up earlier.
Myth: Drinking coffee is a good cure for the next morning blues.
Busted: Alcohol dehydrates you by stopping the production of a hormone that
allows you to retain water. Coffee is a diuretic, which causes you to lose more fluids
and could make your hangover worse. After a night of drinking you should avoid all
caffeine and instead drink water and sports drinks to counter dehydration.
Myth: A morning alcoholic drink eases a hangover
Busted:The infamous "hair of the dog that bit you" cocktail doesn't cure a hangover
it merely postpones it until later in the day. Hangovers set in when blood-alcohol
levels start to fall, and the worst symptoms begin when the levels drop to zero. Drink
water and sport drinks the next morning to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes. Take
ibuprofen to ease a headache. Eat eggs for breakfast: Eggs contain cysteine, which
may help the liver break down one of the toxic metabolites of alcohol.
Myths or urban legends have always been around. Some may contain a bit of fact
while most are made up of whole cloth. Just remember even with the most repeated
things - caveat emptor. Or as we say in the Internet age,
did you check that on "Snopes"?
Thanks to Dr. Keri Peterson for the medical information.