When it comes to understanding issues concerning the use of alcohol in the human body there as much fact as there is fiction! It does not matter how the alcohol entered your body, alcohol is alcohol. Whether it came from beer, or wine or hard liquor, it is the quantity of alcohol in your body that is what matters.
Since it can be demonstrated that alcohol affects most organs and systems in your body[i] it will be the basis for the five myths about alcohol. Alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and from there is distributed to every part of your body. So the quantity in your bloodstream is important to know in understanding myths about alcohol.
Coffee makes you less Affected by Alcohol
This is a myth that has been promoted or believed by most people most of the time for many years. Give an intoxicated person coffee so they will be less intoxicated. Just on the surface, this should cause any thinking person to question it. How does coffee change the actual alcohol level in the bloodstream and the body? It does not because it cannot! Alcohol in your bloodstream can only be reduced over time as it works its way out of your system through urination. The best that coffee can do is make the intoxicated person more awake, or can we say a “wide awake drunk”. Maybe keeping an intoxicated person awake is not the best thing to do to help this person.
Different Beverages Intoxicate Differently
This one is very common among drinkers. Beer is less intoxicating than hard liquor than wine and so forth. The truth of the matter is that is that if a 12-ounce can of beer has the same alcoholic content as 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, then the amount of alcohol absorbed in the body is the same. How this same amount of alcohol in a human body affects a person can vary based on a variety of factors, but the case is the same. It is the same quantity of alcohol no matter what you drank to achieve this.
Alcohol has not Positive Effects
Since most of the stigma around alcohol is negative, it is hard to accept that fact that there are any positive benefits from alcohol. The truth of the matter is that moderate consumption of alcohol can actually improve one’s cognitive ability. According to Medical Daily,[ii] there are positive benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. These include the following:
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
- Potentially extend your life
- Improve your libido
- Help prevent the common cold
- Decrease chances of dementia
- Reduce the risk of gallstones
- Reduce the chances of diabetes
The details of each of these are beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that abstaining from alcohol is not the answer to great health either. So maybe using alcohol moderately as part of your balanced diet is not such a bad thing.
Using Alcohol Affects only the User
No one is an island unto themselves. None of us live in a vacuum. Our choices do affect other people. It is no different with alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a drug, just as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or any other prescribed drug. It has side effects just can be helpful or detrimental to one’s life. It is the same as electricity. Electricity has proven to enhance our quality of life in innumerable ways. However, handling electricity improperly can have fatal effects.
As noted above, there are positive effects of alcohol, but abusing it will negatively affect your life and the lives of those around you. If abused over long periods of time, it can affect your job performance, your relationship and even your moods and reactions to other people. This is not an individual choice if you choose to abuse it. This is the same as with any other drug.
Alcohol affects the Genders the Same
Actually, this is a myth because the way women’s bodies are designed does not lend itself well to metabolizing alcohol as efficiently as men. Women and men of the same height or weight are still not the same. Women tend to have a higher concentration of body fat to lean muscle, by design. They have less of an enzyme known as dehydrogenase which helps break down alcohol. Couple this along with any hormonal changes that women experience also does not lend itself to being equal to being the same as men when it comes to alcohol consumption.
Well, these are just some of the myths, there are more. A simple rule of thumb is to drink moderately, drink responsively and you may very well be a healthier person that positively affects those other people in your life that you love.