Health Matters: Myths and Realities of Social Drinking
The truth about Solo cups, coffee, and “beer before liquor”
Forget what you’ve heard about why it’s OK for you to drink more than your friends, how to sober up fast, and how to avoid a hangover. To get the facts about five common myths about social drinking, BU Today talked with Beth Grampetro, the health educator at Student Health Services.
Myth #1: It’s good to have a high tolerance for alcohol, because you can drink more and for a longer period of time.
Grampetro: Students who have a higher alcohol tolerance have a higher risk of alcohol poisoning, because they feel fine and are unaware of how intoxicated they really are.
Myth #2: Drinking water or coffee can help you sober up.
Grampetro: Wrong. It takes approximately one hour for the body to process one alcoholic beverage, and nothing can speed that up.
Myth #3: Red Solo cups hold one drink, so it’s easy to keep track of how much you drink.
Grampetro: First of all, red cups are typically 16 ounces — larger than one drink. Second, it depends on what you put in the cup. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of hard liquor (also known as a shot), or 4 ounces of wine. Because a Solo cup is so large, students may pour more than the recommended amount of alcohol into their cups thinking they’re just filling the cup, but the cup holds much more than one recommended drink.
Myth #4: Beer before liquor makes you sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.
Grampetro: Guess again. The leading factor in feeling hung over or getting sick is the amount of alcohol consumed, not the order that the drinks are consumed.
Myth #5: It’s fine for women to try to keep pace with men when drinking.
Grampetro: Women’s bodies break down the toxins in alcohol more slowly than men’s bodies do, so women shouldn’t try to keep pace with men. Birth control pills also affect how fast a woman’s body can process alcohol, so a woman may become intoxicated after fewer drinks.
Grampetro suggests that students who know they will be drinking eat a full meal before heading out. It’s also a good idea, she says, to drink water in between alcoholic drinks. That will help the body stay hydrated — plus, you’ll feel full and drink less alcohol.
How fast or slow should you drink? Grampetro says students should never drink more than one drink an hour.
Finally, Grampetro says the most important thing you can do is look out for your friends. “If everyone’s heading home,” she says, “don’t leave one person alone at the party, even if they want to stay.”
If students are looking for something to do other than drink, there’s plenty of entertainment in Boston.
For more information, check out the University’s Policy on Illegal Drugs and Alcohol. Alcohol is not allowed in BU residence halls or at University-sponsored events if you’re not of age.
For more information and to get answers to your health and wellness questions, become a fan of the Facebook group Be Well at BU.
Amy Laskowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments