1. Alcohol has been used as a medicine.
True. Alcohol was used for centuries as a medicine in childbirth, sedation, and surgery.
2. Alcohol is digested in the same way that food is digested.
False. Alcohol is unique because it requires no digestion. It can be absorbed directly from the stomach, and even more rapidly from the small intestine.
3. Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is generally not harmful to the body.
True. Some studies show that moderate drinkers (those drinking no more than one to two drinks a day) tend to be at less risk for heart attacks than abstainers or heavy drinkers. However, it’s not recommended that you start drinking for health benefits.
4. An estimated 85% of the adult Americans who drink are alcohol abusers.
False. Of the adult Americans who drink, approximately 15% abuse alcohol. The majority of people who drink do so in a responsible manner which does not lead to alcohol-related problems.
The 15% of drinkers who abuse alcohol account for far more than half of alcohol sales.
5. Alcoholic beverages do not provide weight-increasing calories.
False. Alcohol does contain calories:
o alcohol contains 7 calories per gram
o carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
o fat contains 9 calories per gram
6. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.10% is the legal definition of alcohol intoxication in most states with respect to driving.
True. The blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08% in some states. In Sweden it is 0.05%. Driving ability can be significantly impaired well below 0.10% BAC. For most people, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% doubles their risk of having a car crash. A chart of BAC limits by US state is provided by the National Commission Against Drunk Driving.
7. Alcohol is not a drug.
False. Alcohol is a drug. It has been used by most societies and cultures throughout history. It is our most used and most abused recreational drug.
8. Approximately 10% of fatal highway accidents are alcohol-related.
False. About half of fatal highway accidents are alcohol-related.
9. Eating while drinking slows the absorption of alcohol in the body.
True. Eating before and while drinking slows down the passage of alcohol from the stomach to the small intestine. Because 80% of the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine, having food in the stomach that absorbs some of the alcohol will help slow absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
10. It takes about as many hours as the number of beers drunk for the liver to completely burn up the alcohol ingested.
True. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver at the rate of approximately one drink an hour. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor.
11. Few women become alcoholics.
False. Although the estimates of women alcoholics vary from one quarter to one half of all alcoholics, it is clear that the number of female alcoholics is sizable and has been increasing. In the past, female alcoholics and problem drinkers may have been more reluctant to seek treatment than men who experience drinking problems, but fortunately that situation is beginning to change.
12. Alcohol is considered a stimulant.
False. Alcohol is a depressant drug; this means it slows down (or depresses) the Central Nervous System. Some people mistakenly think it is a stimulant because initially it reduces inhibitions, encouraging some people to do things they might not do otherwise.
13. The most commonly drunk alcoholic beverages in the United States are distilled liquors (e.g., whiskey, gin, vodka).
False. Beer is the most commonly drunk alcoholic beverage in the US.
14. To prevent a hangover, one should sip one’s drink slowly, eat while drinking, have no more than one drink an hour, and not over-drink one’s limit.
15. “Proof” on a bottle of liquor represents half the percent of alcohol contained in the bottle.
False. Proof equals twice the percent of alcohol. For example, 90 proof whiskey is 45% alcohol.
16. Alcohol consumption improves sexual performance.
“It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance” — from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
False. Alcohol may increase aggressive behavior, including sexually aggressive behavior, because it reduces inhibitions. However, in large amounts it can interfere with performance. With chronic heavy drinking and with alcoholism, there is often a degeneration and dysfunction of the sex organs, with associated sexual problems (not to mention the emotional aspects of sexuality that can be affected by heaving drinking).
17. A person cannot become an alcoholic by just drinking beer.
False. People can abuse any type of alcoholic beverage including beer. There are alcoholics who drink nothing harder than “light” beer. Beer has the same type of alcohol that wine and distilled spirits have (ethyl alcohol).
18. Drinking milk before alcohol slows down the absorption of alcohol into the body because it coats the stomach.
False. It helps slow down the absorption of alcohol by diluting it, not by coating the stomach. Any liquid will dilute alcohol, and food helps absorb alcohol so that it passes more slowly from the stomach to the small intestine. Most of the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine rather than from the stomach.
19. Responsible drinking can contribute to a state of relaxation, enhanced social interactions, and a feeling of well-being.
True. Responsible drinking means stopping before you are drunk. It means not driving a vehicle if you have had any alcohol. The US Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for moderate drinking is no more than one drink a day for women and people over 60 and no more than two drinks a day for men under 60. Recovering alcoholics should not drink at all, because they cannot control the amount of drinking they do.
20. Drinking coffee or taking a cold shower can be an effective way of decreasing blood alcohol levels.
False. The healthy liver oxidates or metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. Therefore, only time will sober up a drunk person. Coffee, cold-showers, fresh air, and exercise do not reduce blood alcohol levels.