To help kick things off, we wanted to start with some facts and figures about alcohol that you may not have known about. There are so many rumours and myths relating to alcohol it can be confusing to know what’s true and what isn’t. To start off with though, here’s a sobering disclaimer for you: The family of compounds known as alcohols are all toxins that can kill you, whether instantly, quickly, or gradually. Yet one of them – ethyl alcohol, or ethanol – is a staple of the human diet. Archaeologist Patrick McGovern speculates that fermented beverages were made as early as 100,000 years ago, when people first spread out of Africa. According to the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis, our zest for alcoholic beverages derives from our distant ancestors’ impulse to seek the ripest, most energy-intensive fruits. The more you know…
Now you may have heard that some alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine are better for you than liquors. This is false. Beer or wine is not safer to drink than liquor. Fact: One beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one glass of wine, or 1 shot of liquor. It is the amount of ethanol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.
The effect alcohol has on an individual varies greatly and can be attributed to a number of different characteristics; a notable one being body weight. Did you know though that a lean, muscular person will be less affected by drink than someone with more body fat? Water-rich muscle tissue is able to absorb alcohol very effectively, preventing it from reaching the brain.
With alcohol, there is no digestion required. Ethanol is such a small, simple molecule that it pours directly out of the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. This is why you’ll find you handle your alcohol more easily with a full stomach – the food absorbs more of the alcohol before it pours through and reaches the small intestine.
The real effects alcohol can have on a person are quite startling, and it’s shocking to discover that there is 1 alcohol-related death incident every 31 minutes. That’s insane! That fact alone should be enough to make anyone nervous, especially when coupled with the knowledge that alcohol consumption also clearly increases the risk of cancers (such as lip, tongue, throat, oesophagus, liver, and breast). They’re just statistics though, right? Nothing like that is ever really real until you experience it happening first-hand to someone you know. Here’s a couple of facts that may hit closer to home if you’re familiar with the effect alcohol has on people:
- As many as 70% of uni students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a result of being under the influence of alcohol, or to having sex they wouldn’t have had if they had been sober.
- At least one out of five uni students abandon safe sex practices when they’re drunk, even if they do protect themselves when they’re sober.
Don’t forget while you’re downing drinks to wash away regrets that they may in fact lead to new ones – keep an eye on the effect alcohol is having on you. If you’re starting to make decisions you would never make when you’re sober, it’s probably time to start sobering up.
Drunkenness is considered an impairment of the neurons in your head, but Australian researchers recently reported that part of the feeling may result instead from the effect of ethanol on the brain’s immune system. This finding could lead to new treatments for alcoholism. On an unrelated note though, did you know that The Malaysian pen-tailed tree shrew routinely chugs the equivalent of nine glasses of wine a night in naturally fermented nectar, and yet remains fully functional? Jealous? Time to start rounding up some new designated drivers!
We’ll end with a goal for you this year – don’t worry about the fact that it’s already September, it’s never too late to start a resolution! The carbon dioxide in champagne bottles creates 90 pounds of pressure per square inch, which is three times the pressure in automobile tires. Flying corks can cause retinal detachment, double vision, and blindness. So don’t stare at the cork!
That is all, remember to vote, and have a great week!