5 Myths About Al­co­hol

Prevention (USA) - - SCIENCE - BY KATE ROCK­WOOD IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS BY AN­DREA DE SANTIS

No mat­ter which pour you pick, it’s smart to sep­a­rate fact from fic­tion.

MYTH #1 “Beer be­fore wine, and you’ll feel fine.”

MYTHBUSTER The or­der in which you drink dif­fer­ent types of al­co­hol doesn’t in­flu­ence whether you get a hang­over, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion. “Th­ese say­ings ex­ist in many lan­guages and can date back to me­dieval times, so I thought there must be some truth there,” says coau­thor Kai Hensel, M.D., Ph.D. But re­searchers found no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in how peo­ple felt the next day whether they drank beer or wine first or stuck to one type of al­co­hol. In­di­vid­u­ally, some peo­ple may feel worse af­ter one type of al­co­hol, he says, and the only way to know how any kind af­fects you is to pay at­ten­tion to symp­toms the next morn­ing.

MYTH #2 Drink­ing a lit­tle al­co­hol is bet­ter for your health than drink­ing none at all.

MYTHBUSTER You’ve prob­a­bly seen red wine on some “su­per­food” lists, thanks to the heart-healthy resver­a­trol found in grape skin. But if you don’t drink al­ready, don’t start for health rea­sons. A 2018 study found that peo­ple who had one or two drinks four or more times per week had a 20% higher risk of pre­ma­ture death. Other stud­ies have shown that even one drink a day ups a woman’s breast can­cer risk. The ef­fects of rou­tine drink­ing are still un­der de­bate, says Ne­sochi Okeke-Ig­bokwe, M.D., a New York City–based physi­cian. “Your doc­tor can help de­ter­mine if al­co­hol in­take may com­pro­mise your health,” she says.

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