HOW MUCH DO I KNOW ABOUT ALCOHOL?
02. 04. 2020
0% If you can touch your nose or walk in a straight line after drinking alcohol, it is safe to drive True False Pravilen odgovor! Napačen odgovor! Even small quantities of alcohol in the blood can impair your ability to drive: your reaction times are increased, your ability to concentrate is impaired, you are less […]
If you can touch your nose or walk in a straight line after drinking alcohol, it is safe to drive
Even small quantities of alcohol in the blood can impair your ability to drive: your reaction times are increased, your ability to concentrate is impaired, you are less able to judge distances and speed, and your visual field is narrowed. Alcohol affects your ability to assess situations, making you more likely to overestimate your abilities and more prepared to take risks.
These effects are noticeable even with small quantities of alcohol in the bloodstream, meaning that whether you feel drunk or sober is not a reliable indicator of your ability to drive.
Women get drunk faster than men on the same quantity of alcohol
Women are, on average, smaller than men and, what’s more, their bodies contain a lower percentage of water. This means that the concentration of alcohol in the blood rises more quickly.
Red wine is good for the blood
In fact, the opposite is true. Higher consumption of alcohol can gradually cause anaemia by disrupting metabolisation of the vitamins that help to generate red blood cells (https://www.nalijem.si/vprasanja-odgovori-1).
It is also often said that red wine is good for the heart and for blood circulation. Some studies have suggested that small quantities of alcohol may protect the heart and reduce the risk of heart attack, but only among some men and women in middle age. The amount of reliable data on the positive effects of alcohol on the body is still insufficient to allow us to recommend its consumption, in particular when we take into account the harmful effects of alcohol on most other organs in the body (Kolšek, 2016). Similarly, we cannot predict what the effects of alcohol will be on the cardiovascular system, as this depends on individual, genetic and physiological (as well as social and economic) factors. In larger quantities, alcohol damages the heart muscle, affects heart rhythm, raises blood pressure, increases the amount of fat in the blood, increases body weight, and raises the risk of suffering a haemorrhagic stroke.
The best hangover cure is a big breakfast, some coffee, a few glasses of water and a cold shower
There is no cure for a hangover – except, of course, engaging in less risky alcohol consumption. The body, and particularly the liver, requires time to metabolise the alcohol you have drunk. This takes between one and one and a half hours per unit consumed.
While the tactics that many people employ can help them feel better (for example, drinking water can combat dehydration, drinking coffee can make you feel more alert) or ‘hide’ the effects of excessive alcohol consumption (by taking painkilling tablets, for example), feeling better does not mean that alcohol is no longer in the blood, nor does it remove the effects that consumption can have on an individual’s coordination, reaction times or ability to assess a situation safely.
* 1 unit = 1 dcl of wine, half a bottle of beer or 0.3 dcl of spirits
You’re fine to drive after one beer
We advise against getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, as even a small amount of alcohol in the blood can impair your ability to drive.
Even though there is a legally defined alcohol limit for drivers (0.5‰ for normal drivers, or 0.0‰ for novice and professional drivers), the idea that you can safely drive on one beer is not true for everyone or in all circumstances.
In addition (of course) to the quantity and strength of the alcoholic beverages consumed, the concentration of alcohol in the blood depends on a person’s sex, weight, the amount of food in their stomach and the duration of consumption. A rough estimate: if a person rapidly consumes a large beer (20 g of alcohol) on an empty stomach and weighs less than 60 kg (women) or 75 kg (men), the concentration of alcohol in the blood will reach approx. 0.5‰ in one hour.
If you eat a lot of (fatty) food, you can drink more
While it is true that food, especially food with a higher fat content, can slow the absorption of alcohol (as it requires longer to reach the small intestine, from where it then passes rapidly into the bloodstream), all the alcohol will ultimately be absorbed into the bloodstream. In short, the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption cannot be avoided.
You should also pay attention to the fact that the alcohol will take longer to be absorbed and therefore to ‘work’ – which could impair your ability to assess when you’ve had too much to drink.
Alcohol can warm you up on a cold day
Under the influence of alcohol, the blood vessels below the skin dilate. While this gives you the feeling that you are warmer, in fact it means that you lose more heat than you would otherwise.
Drinking a glass of beer makes breastfeeding easier
Women who are breastfeeding are indeed advised to drink sufficient quantities of liquid, but this does not include alcohol. Why? Because alcohol can pass into the breast milk and harm the infant’s development.
While it is true that some substances in beer do promote the production of breast milk, the alcohol itself actually impedes it. One positive effect of drinking alcohol in this case might be the greater feeling of relaxation it gives. However, because of the effects that alcohol has on infants, we advise you to try another method of relaxation.
Drinking alcohol is good for the heart but bad for the liver
Alcohol is a cell-destroying (cytotoxic) substance that is carried to every part of the body via the bloodstream and has a harmful impact on every organ, not just the liver.
It is also often said that red wine (or indeed alcohol generally) is good for the heart and for blood circulation. Some studies have suggested that small quantities of alcohol may protect the heart and reduce the risk of heart attack, but only among some men and women in middle age. The amount of reliable data on the positive effects of alcohol on the body is still insufficient to allow us to recommend its consumption, in particular when we take into account the harmful effects of alcohol on most other organs in the body (Kolšek, 2016).
Drinking a little every day is better than drinking a lot at the weekend
Risky alcohol consumption (‘binge drinking’) has harmful effects that range from dehydration, fatigue, ‘hangovers’ and injuries caused by loss of coordination and balance or poor decision-making, to alcohol poisoning and loss of consciousness. Moreover, these effects are far from short term in nature. Because of the significant fluctuation in the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream, binge drinking has a markedly adverse effect on the brain (more so than the regular consumption of smaller quantities) and reduces a person’s ability to remember, to learn and to make decisions.
It is therefore better for you to remain within the limits of less risky alcohol consumption, which also determine the maximum amounts of alcohol you can consume on a single occasion. If you drink three units (women) or five units (men) on a single occasion, it is less likely that you will suffer alcohol-related problems.
* 1 unit = 1 dcl of wine, half a bottle of beer or 0.3 dcl of spirits
I don’t have an alcohol problem because I’m not addicted
Dependence is one of the potential negative effects of frequent alcohol consumption, and brings with it numerous additional effects on a person’s health, relationships with other people and ability to work. This does not mean that the negative effects of alcohol consumption are not present before a person becomes ‘addicted’. On the contrary, risky and harmful alcohol consumption can have a significant effect on a person’s health, relationships and ability to work, and can increase their desire to engage in other risky behaviours. Because of society’s general acceptance of alcohol, we often don’t realise when we have developed a pattern of consumption that is already harming us and can lead to serious negative consequences.
You can check whether you are addicted to alcohol here: ‘Do I drink too much?’ quiz
Even if you are not addicted to alcohol, this does not mean that you don’t have a problem. Health problems, problems in relationships with those closest to us, with work colleagues, etc. arise not only with alcohol dependence but also with risky or harmful alcohol consumption.
In 2015, recorded alcohol consumption in Slovenia stood at 5 litres of pure alcohol per person over the age of 15’
In 2015, recorded alcohol consumption in Slovenia stood at 11.51 litres of pure alcohol per person over the age of 15. This is equivalent to 114.6 litres of beer, 44.5 litres of wine and 2.2 litres of spirits. For more, visit: http://www.nijz.si/sl/registrirana-poraba-alkohola-v-sloveniji-se-je-v-letu-2015-povecala-in-ostaja-z-javnozdravstvenega
Thank you for taking the ‘How much do I know about alcohol?’ test.
You can take the ‘Do I drink too much?’ test here:
More details on the recorded alcohol consumption figures for Slovenia: