Everyone's got a drinking story and everyone's got a hangover cure - but how many of these are true? There are any number of crazy facts, figures and stories that come out while we're drinking that aren't strictly based on the truth. In fact, most of them are made up - but it'd set you in good stead to have a few of the facts so you look like the smart one next time you're down the boozer and one of your mates starts spouting off.
First - the truth - drinking in moderation is fine. Drinking excessively is bad - we don't recommend you get drunk in order to try out any of these
Coffee sobers you up
- Wrong! Coffee won't sober you up because NOTHING can - you simply have to wait for your system to purge itself of alcohol. What a large dose of the black stuff will do is just make you a hyperactive drunk - and probably more annoying than you were before. And you won't be able to sleep afterwards. The theory is based on opposites - alcohol, the depressant, and coffee, the stimulant, cancelling each other out. Sadly, not true. Nor is the cold shower trick, but you could try it on one of your mates for a laugh.
Drinking to much beer gives you a beer belly
- Another myth that's filtered down into popular culture. A beer belly is just the moniker given to the visceral (gut) fat build up around the middle of the body and is also referred to as the 'pot belly'. Scientists aren't sure why this happens to some people, but sitting around and eating is the general suspicion. And no, standing up and eating won't make it any better.
Men and women of the same size can drink the same amount of alcohol
- No sorry girls - you just can't drink as much as the boys. Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes, which break down alcohol, in their blood. Thus, 'drinking like a girl' is a valid and scientifically based insult. It might be a bit mean and won't do you any favours with whoever you're chatting up though.
Never mix the grape and the grain/beer before liquor will make you sicker
- The truth - health experts and doctors all agree that mixing your drinks won't make you any better or worse than sticking to one drink; nor will avoiding dark drinks in favour of lighter ones. The solution to not getting ill when drinking or the morning after - don't drink to excess in the first place.
Taking aspirin or ibuprofen before drinking will stop you getting a hangover
- You're probably getting the message by now - there are no hard and fast preventions or cures for hangovers. Rumours have circulated about medical students putting themselves on drips overnight to rehydrate and cleanse - but no evidence exists. Just don't try it at home with a can of lemonade. The myth about aspirin couldn't be further from the truth - it actually slows the rate at which your body breaks down alcohol, prolonging both the effects of being drunk and getting over it. And don't forget, the effects of an aspirin only last a few hours - not all night.
You can beat a breathalyser test
- You don't need to be told what a bad idea going anywhere near a car is when you've been drinking - even as a passenger, whom recent studies have shown are highly likely to cause accidents when intoxicated. But whatever anyone tells you, you can't beat a breathalyser. If you've been that idiotic to get into a car and you've been stopped by the police, hold your hands up. Myths about sucking pennies, sweets - even eating your underpants as one American driver tried - won't cut it. You cannot beat a breathalyser.