I don’t drink often, so I can really let loose during the holidays!

Reality

Drinking to excess – even occasionally – damages your body, even if you don’t realize it.

Alcohol gives you energy. I’ll be able to party all night long.

Reality

Actually, the opposite is true. Alcohol is a depressant that impedes your ability to think, speak and move. It progressively affects perception, coordination and judgment well before there are signs of impairment.

You eat so much during the holidays that it takes longer to get drunk.

Reality

You become intoxicated three times faster if you drink on an empty stomach. When you haven’t eaten, alcohol quickly enters your small intestine and is then carried to your bloodstream and to your brain. A standard drink is absorbed within 20 to 30 minutes. Eating after you drink won’t change anything because the alcohol is already in your blood.

The process is, however, different if you eat before or while drinking because the food in your stomach acts as a buffer, absorbing some of the alcohol and slowing its entry into your bloodstream. It’s no accident that snacks are often served with alcoholic drinks. Eating doesn’t reduce your blood alcohol level, it only slows down alcohol absorption. So, even feasting won’t stop you from getting drunk if you overindulge.

Be careful not to put alcohol into holiday dishes because there will be children at the table.

Reality

There are several theories on this subject. The dominant thinking seems to be that if alcohol is added to food beforehand, the heat from cooking causes almost all of it to evaporate, so long as the food is cooked for at least 2½ hours. Only its subtle taste remains, especially if the amount added at the start is minimal. So there’s no risk of getting drunk—or getting your guests drunk—by adding a little alcohol to a hot dish. Nor is it counter-indicated with medication. But be careful: it’s best to avoid serving such dishes to alcoholics, people who are trying to stop drinking, or young children.

A good shot warms you up!

Reality

Alcohol actually has the opposite effect. It dilates the blood vessels, producing a sensation of warmth. But this dilating also allows body heat to dissipate quickly, lowering your body’s temperature. Combined with the fact that alcohol dulls the senses – you feel the cold less on your skin – this phenomenon increases the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Alcohol has the same effect on women and men.

Reality

Even if she’s the same height and weight, a woman who consumes the same amount of alcohol as a man will have a higher blood alcohol level and, thus, feel its effects more.

That’s because women have less bodily fluids and more fatty tissue than muscle. It’s a matter of metabolism. Alcohol spreads more easily in muscles than in fat owing to their higher water content and thus is diluted faster.

When you’re used to drinking, alcohol gets to you less.

Reality

People who often drink feel the physical effects of alcohol less or have developed mechanisms that camouflage its effects. But the amount of alcohol in the blood is not any lower. You always run the risk of impairment and the other harmful consequences if you drink too much.

Only beer gives you a beer belly.

Reality

The calories in alcoholic drinks come from the alcohol and sugars they contain, and from added mixers. Each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories.

You can use the drink dashboard to track your alcohol consumption.

To track and understand your alcohol consumption, you can also download the Calcoholator, the mobile app for iPhone and Androïd.

types
SPIRITS
BEERS AND OTHERS
WINES
VERMOUTH AND FORTIFIED
LIQUORS
example
Rhum, vodka, whisky, gin
Regular: 140 cal.
Light: 90 cal.
0,5 % : 60 to 85 cal.
Malt beverage: 260 cal.
Red / White wine:
9 % to 12 %: 80 to 110 cal.
Champagne : 105 to 180 cal.
Porto : 90 cal.
(225 cal./150 ml to 5 oz)
Dry vermouth: 70 cal.
(170 cal./ 150 ml to 5 oz)
Sweet vermouth: 75 cal.
Irish cream: 210 cal.
Liquors: 140 to 160 cal.
Brandies, cognac: 110 cal.
calories
equivalent

My uncle Art is a big, husky guy. He can drink like a fish!

Reality

All other things being equal, the effect of alcohol is proportionate to the quantity of fluids and fat in the body. Also, if an equal amount of alcohol is consumed, a woman’s blood alcohol level will be higher than a man’s because her body contains more fat and less water. The bigger the person, the higher his or her water and blood volumes and the more the alcohol is diluted. A big person will therefore become impaired more slowly.

I stick to wine. I get drunk less quickly than with hard liquor or beer.

Reality

There is as much alcohol in a glass of beer (340 ml/12 oz.: 5% alcohol) as in a glass of wine (140 ml/5 oz.: 12%) or a hard drink (45 ml/1.5 oz.: 40%). These quantities are referred to as a standard drink. [http://educalcool.qc.ca/en/facts-tips-and-tools/facts/standard-drinks-and-their-alcohol-content/].

You get a hangover from mixing red and white wine, beer, vodka …

Reality

False! A hangover results primarily from dehydration. By drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, you avoid dehydrating by maintaining a good level of body water. You also quench your thirst while spacing out your drinks. And you allow your liver to better metabolize the alcohol absorbed. It’s a great habit!

Having a coffee/taking a cold shower/consuming an energy drink/exercising helps you to sober up.

Reality

The liver eliminates 90% of the alcohol in the body. A black coffee won’t sober you up—all it does is mask the effects of the alcohol. Caffeine stimulates you, giving you the impression of being more alert and awake, as well as dehydrating you more. But it has no influence on your blood alcohol level. The effects of the alcohol are still present and your ability to drive remains compromised. Time alone enables the liver to eliminate the alcohol.

We’ve got our designated driver, so we can drink as much as we want!

Reality

Your liver and the rest of your body couldn’t care less who’s driving. They’ve got their own limits with respect to alcohol—and those limits don’t change. True, everybody can drink as much as they want, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.