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Alcohol Facts & Fiction








Myth
Alcohol destroys brain cells.
Fact
The moderate consumption of alcohol does not destroy brain cells. In fact it is often associated with improved cognitive (mental) functioning.
Myth
White wine is a good choice for a person who wants a light drink with less alcohol.
Fact
Standard Drinks

    Standard Drinks graphically illustrates information on the equivalence of standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor. Its accuracy has been established by medical and other health professionals.
    A glass of white or red wine, a bottle of beer, and a shot of whiskey or other distilled spirits all contain equivalent amounts of alcohol and are the same to a Breathalyzer.

        * A 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
        * A 5-ounce glass of wine
        * A one and 1/2 ounce of 80 proof distilled spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink).

Myth
 A "beer belly" is caused by drinking beer.
Fact
 A "beer belly" is caused by eating too much food. No beer or other alcohol beverage is necessary. 3

Myth
 Switching between beer, wine and spirits will lead to intoxication more quickly than sticking to one type of alcohol beverage.
Fact
  The level of blood alcohol content (BAC) is what determines sobriety or intoxication. 4 Remember that a standard drink of beer, wine, or spirits contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is alcohol and a drink is a drink.

Myth
Drinking coffee will help a drunk person sober up.
Fact
 Only time can sober up a person...not black coffee, cold showers, exercise, or any other common "cures." Alcohol leaves the body of virtually everyone at a constant rate of about .015 percent of blood alcohol content (BAC) per hour. Thus, a person with a BAC of .015 would be completely sober in an hour while a person with a BAC of ten times that (.15) would require 10 hours to become completely sober. This is true regardless of sex, age, weight, and similar factors.5

Myth
    Drinking long enough will cause a person to become alcoholic.
Fact
    There is simply no scientific basis for this misperception, which appears to have its origin in temperance and prohibitionist ideology.

Myth
    Drinking alcohol causes weight gain.
Fact
    This is a very commonly believed myth, even among medical professionals, because alcohol has caloric value. However, extensive research around the world has found alcohol consumption be does not cause weight gain in men and is often associated with a small weight loss in women.

Myth
    Alcohol stunts the growth of children and retards their development.
Fact
    Scientific medical research does not support this old temperance scare tactic promoted by the Women's Christian Temperance Union, the Anti-Saloon League, the Prohibition Party, and similar groups.

Myth
Binge drinking is an epidemic problem on college campuses.
Fact
 Binge drinking is clinically and commonly viewed as a period of extended intoxication lasting at least several days during which time the binger drops out of usual life activities. Few university students engage in such bingeing behavior. However, a number sometimes consume at least four drinks in day (or at least five for men). Although many of these young people may never even become intoxicated, they are branded as binge drinkers by some researchers. This practice deceptively inflates the number of apparent binge drinkers. In reality, the proportion of college students who drink continues to decline, as does the percentage of those who drink heavily.

Myth
 Men and women of the same height and weight can drink the same.
Fact
 Women are affected more rapidly because they tend to have a slightly higher proportion of fat to lean muscle tissue, thus concentrating alcohol a little more easily in their lower percentage of body water. They also have less of an enzyme (dehydrogenase) that metabolizes or breaks down alcohol, 9 and hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle might also affect alcohol absorption to some degree. 10

Myth
A single sip of alcohol by a pregnant woman can cause her child to have fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Fact
Extensive medical research studying hundreds of thousands of women from around the world fails to find scientific evidence that light drinking, much less a sip of alcohol by an expectant mother, can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Of course, the very safest choice would be to abstain during the period of gestation.


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