All us men fancy ourselves as authorities on booze. We know that beer gives you a jumbo belly, red wine is good for you and gin makes you cry like a 12-year-old girl at a Bieber concert.
But what if we told you a good deal of what you believe, the facts that you spout off, and the drinking rules that you follow are complete and utter bollocks?
Prepare to have the bar towel pulled out from under your pint glass as FHM's Stuart Hood sorts drunken fact from fiction, and investigates the biggest, booziest myths in the pub.
01 Red wine is good for you
THE THEORY - As well as making you look dead sophisticated, a vin rouge a day keeps the doctor away.
THE FACTS - “Wine has two ingredients that help to protect your heart,” reveals clinical pharmacologist Creina Stockley, of The Australian Wine Research Institute. “The first is ethanol, and provided it’s taken in small amounts, it improves your good cholesterol and reduces blood clots. The second are phenolic compounds, which come from the grape’s seeds, skin and flesh, and have been proven help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”People who drink red plonk in moderation can reduce their risk of a heart attack by up to 25%. Unfortunately, ‘moderation’ means less than two standard glasses per day. Bah.
02 Vodka Red Bulls will kill you
THE THEORY - Snaffle down dozens of two-for-one voddy-and-Red Bulls during happy hour and you will have a heart attack. Or at least a stroke.
THE FACTS - “People who are sensitive to caffeine should be careful, but the increase in heart rate has no clinical relevance, as it’s less than the rise you experience when you walk up the stairs or go running,” says Dr Joris Verster, a psychopharmacologist at Utrecht University. Plus you can run to the bar that much faster.
03 Booze makes people more attractive
THE THEORY - “Holy shit, who the hell is that, and can I saw my arm off before they wake up?” Sound familiar?
THE FACTS - “The ‘beer goggles’ phenomenon does actually exist,” says Dr Lewis Halsey, a physiologist at the University of Roehampton. “Humans are more attracted to people who have symmetrical bodies and faces. I gave some of my students a small amount of alcohol and showed them a selection of photographs in a bid to see how good they were at spotting asymmetry when sober and when they’d been drinking. They were much better when sober. It’s this inability to perceive asymmetry that hinders a drunk’s ability to choose a partner they would find attractive in the cold light of day.”
04 Gin makes you cry
THE THEORY - Spend a night on the Gordon’s and you’ll wind up sobbing like a big ol’ baby about that time you wet yourself on a school trip.
THE FACTS - “I hear all this stuff about different drinks prompting different emotions, but it’s never been proven and I just don’t buy it,” says Dr Bhushan Kapur, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. “Alcohol is alcohol: it makes no difference whether it’s taken in gin, wine, beer or whatever.”
05 Beer is good for you
THE THEORY - Your mum, doctor and parole officer have it all wrong: beer ?is the very elixir of a long and fruitful life!
THE FACTS - “The risk of developing kidney cancer is slightly lower in people who drink alcohol in moderation,” says BUPA’s Dr Sneh Khemka. And the good news doesn’t end there: Austrian neurologist Christian Wöber discovered that, “Low-to-moderate consumption of beer has the potential to decrease the occurrence of headaches.” Feel a migraine coming on at work? Tell the boss you’re heading off down the pub.
06 The "Beer Jacket" is an actual thing
THE THEORY- Minus three outside, and you’ve neglected to bring a coat out? No worries – a couple of ales will allow you to stroll through a wintry blizzard in nowt but a V-neck T-shirt.
THE FACTS - “Alcohol makes you think you’re warm, because when you drink the blood vessels near your skin dilate, bringing more blood and heat to your skin,” explains Professor Paul Wallace. “This is the phenomenon known as a beer jacket – but it’s false, because the heat has actually been taken away from the core of your body, so your vital organs are colder than you realise. Consequently, if you go out into the cold after a big night out you’ll quickly lose a lot of heat, which can be very dangerous.” Conclusion? Best take a jacket. Yes, even you Geordies.
07 Drinking through a straw gets you drunk quicker
THE THEORY - McDonald’s straw + two-litre bottle of cheap cider = the underage drinker’s weapons of choice. “The theory is that the straw will displace oxygen by creating a vacuum while you drink,” says Dr Sneh Khemka.
THE FACTS - “There is no scientific evidence to support this at all,” says the doctor. Sorry, 14-year-olds huddled round the back of Aldi.
08 Brits can drink Yanks under the table
THE THEORY- Our gobby transatlantic cousins may talk a big game, but in a toe-to-toe drink-off, our Alans will always triumph over their Chads.
THE FACTS - This one’s actually true – and it’s all because Brits start boozing, and boozing more often, from a younger age. “Your ability to drink is overwhelmingly down to experience,” says Dr Howard Edenberg, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Indiana. “People who live in cultures where drinking is a social mechanism learn to handle more alcohol. It’s for this reason that many Britons can function at blood alcohol levels that would probably have me comatose.”
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