Five Drinking Myths

There are so many stories around alcohol and drinking that it’s hard to know what to believe.

Knowing the facts about how drinking affects your body is the best way to make sure you drink safely.

Below are some common myths around drinking. Read on to find out the real facts about alcohol.

MYTH: Drinking makes sex better
TRUTH: Alcohol can help you avoid feeling awkward or can help you feel more confident. But it can keep men from getting or keeping an erection, and it can reduce sex drive. More importantly, you might put yourself in a risky situation or you might not use a condom, putting you at greater risk of a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy [].

MYTH: Beer gets you less drunk.
TRUTH: An average pint of beer (ABV 5%), large glass of wine (250ml, ABV 11%) or a ‘large’ double vodka (70ml, ABV 38 to 40%) all have around 2.8 units of alcohol []. This is what makes you drunk chemically, and the faster you drink the full 2.8 units, the higher your peak blood level.

MYTH: Switching between beer, wine, and spirits will make you more drunk.
TRUTH: Your blood alcohol [] content is what determines how drunk you are. Mixing drinks may make you sicker by upsetting your stomach, but not more intoxicated.

MYTH: A big meal before you drink will keep you sober.
TRUTH: Drinking on a full stomach will delay alcohol getting into your system, not prevent it. However, it is best to eat a proper meal before a night out, especially foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins.

MYTH: Your body develops a tolerance to alcohol, so you can safely drink more
TRUTH: The more you drink the more damage your body will sustain and the greater the risks become. Tolerance to alcohol can actually be seen as a warning sign that your body has started to be affected by too much drinking.

Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years. And by then, serious health problems [] can have developed.

Keeping to NHS recommended limits will reduce the risk of alcohol harming your health:

  • Men should not exceed 3-4 units a day on a regular basis;
  • Women should not exceed 2-3 units a day on a regular basis.

Find out more about drinking and health at NHS Choices