Tag Archives: alcohol

Get Drunk More Quickly With Diet Soda

Finally, a study that tells you how to save money at the bar: people who used diet sodas as mixers, as opposed to sugary ones, got 18% more drunk. The researchers gave two groups of eight people the same amount of alcohol, but one group had diet mixers. That group’s peak breath alcohol level was 0.091, whereas the sugary group’s was only .0.077. Which, if they decided to drive, that diet soda would’ve been the difference between a DUI and not — the legal limit is 0.08 in all 50 states.


The scientists’ explanation is that sugar helps your body absorb the alcohol more slowly — the same reason you get drunk more slowly on a full stomach than an empty one. So, drink regular Coke if you wanna be more sober, but diet Coke otherwise. (Though, keep in mind that diet soda is not particularly good for you. Soda water probably works just as well, since it has no sugar.) And if you’re driving, get a breathalyzer, because none of the study subjects felt impaired. They even make ones for the iPhone now.

The study will be out in the April issue of Alcoholism.

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Can’t Think Of What Shot To Do? This Infographic Will Help

Save it to your phone for easy reference at the bar.


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From The Roosevelts, via FAIL Blog

We’re Drinking And Eating More, But At Least Smoking Less

Scientific American has a pretty interesting interactive graphic (there’s a non-interactive version below) that shows the trend, over the past 15 years, in five categories: heavy drinking, binge drinking, smoking, obesity and exercising. The top three causes of death are heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and too much eating, drinking, smoking and laziness are all causes of all of them, so this is important stuff.

However, it’s not easy to tell how much the figures changed using that graph. For example, binge drinkers went up from 14.1% of people to 15.1% and exercisers went up from 72.1% to 76%, which seems like a bigger deal, but in reality they both grew by about the same percentage. So instead of falling into the same trap, here, the stats are presented like stocks and ordered by the magnitude of the change, followed by the issues with the numbers:

  • Obesity: +74%
  • Heavy drinking: +69%
  • Tobacco use: -24%
  • Binge drinking: +7%
  • Exercise: +5%

So, obesity and drinking are way up, tobacco use is down a pretty healthy amount, and binge drinking and exercise are slightly up. Since exercise hasn’t changed that much, the giant increase in obesity can only be blamed on our diet, which makes sense given all the cheap food. That means we’re eating and drinking a lot more than we used to 15 years ago. And, thanks to the prolonged public education campaign, we’re smoking a good bit less.


And now, for the problems with the numbers

For binge drinking and exercising, the questions used are pretty ridiculous. We’ve talked about the binge drinking definition issue before: having five beers in five hours, five beers in one hour, and fifteen beers in five hours are all counted as binges. And the question asked about exercise is if you’ve done physical activity in the last month; if you helped someone move last week, that would count as exercise. Smoking is defined as “current smokers”, and there’s no category for the many people that are casual smokers and would not identify themselves as “current smokers”.

Heavy drinking is defined as having more than two drinks per man per day, but other researchers define it as more than three per day, including the study that showed conclusively that heavy drinkers live longer than teetotalers. Which brings us to the other problem: if drinking heavily is a habit important enough to our health to be tracked, then it seems like abstaining from alcohol should also be. The fact that it’s not, indicates that some morality factor is also present in the surveys.

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more. The BMI is a 200-year old measure with such severe problems that it actually says about 40% of obese people are not obese. Why? Because it only uses height and weight, which is great for easy research, but awful for figuring out how fat someone is: if you have a lot of muscle and no fat, it will say you’re overweight. If you’re nothing but fat and bones, it’ll say you’re normal weight. Ideally, obesity would be defined by body fat percentage, not BMI, but that would be impossible to figure out over the phone. Bottom line: the survey says 27% of Americans are obese, but that number is probably more like 45%.

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What Your Drink Choice Says About You

College Humor has a great series of comics which illustrate what the various alcoholic concoctions mean:

  • Tequila shots: “Please validate my coolness”
  • Jägermeister shots: “I also need validation but Tequila tastes grooooss”
  • Martini: “This doesn’t really work if I’m not wearing a tuxedo, does it?”
  • Vodka + Soda: “I’m just trying to get drunk”
  • Vodka + Red Bull: “I’m just trying to get DRUNKER THAN ANYONE HAS EVER BEEN”
  • Vodka + Cranberry: “I’m a girl”
  • Light beer: “I’m here to party”
  • Regular beer: “I’m here to have a good time”
  • Fancy beer: “Why am I even here?”
  • Scotch: “Look at how sophisticated and mysterious I am”
  • Whiskey: “Wait, is whiskey different from scotch?”
  • Bourbon: “Honestly, these all taste terrible and I can’t tell the difference between them”
  • Fancy cocktail: “I’m interesting”
  • Gin + Tonic: “I’m boring”
  • Bloody Mary: “I’m hung over”
  • Plain soda: “I’m taking one for the team by driving tonight!!”
  • Water: “I’m only here because I’m fucking driving tonight”


From College Humor, via FAIL Blog

How To Avoid And Relieve Hangovers

A new outfit called AsapSCIENCE made an interesting video (below) explaining, along with scientific reasons, various things you can do around a night of heavy drinking that will lessen the pain the next day:

  • Eat fatty foods and carbs before you embark on your binge: you’ll get less drunk
  • Drink water — lots of it, throughout the night: alcohol causes dehydration, which causes headaches
  • Stick to light colored liquors and wines: not because you’re racist, but because the darker ones have more toxins that make you feel bad
  • Avoid carbonation: fizzy liquids help your body absorb alcohol quicker
  • Take an aspirin before going to bed: it inhibits the creation of a hangover-causing chemical. But don’t take Tylenol — that’ll make your hangover worse.
  • For breakfast, eat eggs, a banana and fruit juice: all of these contain stuff that will make you feel better
  • Avoid being a woman, Asian, or both: both tend to weigh less, have less body water and less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, so they can’t drink as much before the badness kicks in.


From YouTube, via Laughing Squid

Scottish Ron Swanson Shows You How To Drink Whiskey

Richard Paterson is the master blender for Whyte & Mackay, who makes some of the best whiskeys in the world — their 64-year-old Dalmore Trinitas sold for 160k$. He’s also a character right out of the movies, like a cross between Ron Swanson (who also loves Scotch, video below) and some Bond villain. For this reason, even if you have no interest in whiskey whatsoever, this video is awesome:

If you want more, he also has his own YouTube channel and blog.


From YouTube, via Wes

Scumbag Alcohol Says


Via FAIL Blog

Drinking Game Of Thrones


From HBO Watch and Nashville Scene

Animals Also Enjoy Drinking Alcohol

The thinking is that people and some animals first discovered booze after eating rotting fruit (which they hopefully did to avoid starvation). Then the people started rotting their own fruit to make wine and 5,000 years later we have cotton candy-flavored vodka and monkeys stealing rum runners. And that, people, is progress.

From YouTube and YouTube, via Laughing Squid

Those Drunken Britons

Two interesting articles in the news recently might just explain why Britons — like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Amy Winehouse — are so good at the arts. The first is a study which found out that drunk people are better at creative problem solving; the second is an article about how the British might have a drinking problem.

Oscar Wilde had a drinking problem


The study is relatively straightforward: they got college kids moderately drunk (0.075 BAC) and gave them Remote Association Tests, which are basically word puzzles with creative answers that you can’t really logic your way through. They obviously also did the same thing with sober students, and the drunk ones “solved more RAT items, in less time, and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight.” Their explanation is that alcohol impairs the frontal lobe of the brain, which is where our self-control is; the problem with self-control is that it stifles creativity: it tends to make you think ‘by the rules’ instead of considering solutions outside the box. Interestingly, being tired has a similar effect to being drunk.

But staying up all night is not what Amy Winehouse died of; no, she died because her blood alcohol concentration was 0.416%. And apparently she’s just one of many, many British binge drinkers: 80% of drinking in France, Italy and Spain takes place at dinner, but 80% of drinking in Britain is done elsewhere (i.e., bars). The amount of drinking generates all kinds of problems, not the least of which is billions of dollars of healthcare costs. The NPR article in question is about efforts by the British government to cut down on drinking by increasing the sin tax on alcohol — efforts which are being met with a loud “nooooo” by the shall we say “creative” population of Britain.

From Science Direct and NPR, via Wired