10 Myths About The Benefits Of Alcohol

Alcohol is a product that is not just occasionally consumed by the population of our country but is consumed in huge quantities. Cults of sorts are created around alcohol and legends are written. Marketers of vodka companies around the world support this sentiment by promoting the “culture of alcohol consumption”.
Let’s try to debunk some of the established myths about alcohol.

Myth 1 Alcohol helps with colds

In fact, alcohol reduces immunity, so drinkers are much more likely to get sick, including colds. The body can cope with colds on its own, it is important not to interfere with it, not to infect yourself with a new batch of bacilli. Home regimen, rest, ascorbic acid, mustard plasters, gargles, but not a glass of vodka are useful.

Myth 2: Alcohol cheers you up

In fact, everything works a little differently, alcohol in the body acts as a toxic substance that slows down the speed of impulse transmission throughout the body, especially in the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for our self-identification as human beings (this is our consciousness). Accordingly, when drinking alcohol, the cortex is consistently “turned off”, and then other structures of the brain, with damage to the cerebellum – a person cannot stand and walk steadily, and the more alcohol a person drinks, the more he or she “loses” himself or herself, turning into a person who is guided solely by his or her instincts.

Myth 3. Beer is a light, harmless drink

Many people believe that beer is a harmless drink. However, scientists studying the problem of alcoholism reasonably believe that it is unlawful to divide alcoholic beverages according to the degree of harmfulness of their effects on the body since there are no harmless ones.

Producers always position beer not as alcoholic but as a low-alcohol, supposedly harmless, and almost healthy drink. And this is despite the fact that in recent years the alcohol content in some beers has reached 14% (i.e., the alcohol content corresponds to that of wines). Whereas, for example, during the Soviet era, beer strength ranged from 1.5-6%, most often from 2.8% to 3.5%. A bottle of modern light beer is equivalent to 50-60 grams of vodka, so it causes the same addiction but is more insidious. Because it often takes a long time for a person to realize that they are addicted (it’s just beer!), beer alcohol addiction is even more difficult to treat than vodka addiction.

Beer is a substance with hormonal activity. Hop cones, from which beer is made, contain the strongest phytoestrogen – that is, a plant analog of the female sex hormones estrogen.

On average, a woman’s body produces 0.3-0.7 mg of female sex hormones per day. Men also produce them, but in extremely small amounts – 0.03-0.07 mg per day, which do not have much effect on their bodies.

A bottle of modern light beer is equivalent to 50-60 grams of vodka, so it causes the same addiction but is more insidious.

Now let’s take a look at a beer bottle with special biochemical reagents and find out how much of those natural female sex hormones it contains. And there, in 0.5 liters, in terms of ordinary human estrogens, they contain about 0.2 mg. Two bottles a day – and the concentration of female sex hormones in a man’s body jumps to the level that a woman should have.

Myth 4. When I want to, I will stop. I don’t stop because I want to

The psychological attitude that a person can cope with their own problem of alcoholism alone is very common. Alcohol has long been controlling the body – control over the amount of alcohol consumed is lost, morning hangovers appear, and then long binges, but the person is stubbornly convinced that he or she can stop drinking on their own. This is self-deception because, at this stage of the disease, short breaks in an alcoholic marathon are not the achievement of the willpower of a patient who “does not want to drink”, but only a timeout of a poisoned body that “cannot drink”.

Myth 5 Alcohol increases sex drive

At some stage of intoxication, this statement does work. Since alcohol has a negative effect on the cerebral cortex, a person’s sense of shame is dulled, all kinds of barriers are removed, our instincts come out, and the main one is sexual.
But a paradox arises: in thoughts and feelings, the sexual desire grows, reaches its peak, and very often, discharge cannot occur. The culprit is the toxic effect of alcohol, which transmits nerve impulses and, as a result, reduces the sensitivity of the whole body, including the genital areas.

Myth 6: Moderate doses of alcohol are not harmful to health

There is no organ in the human body that would not be destroyed under the influence of even small doses of alcohol.
But the brain suffers the most: the changes that occur in it as a result of alcohol are irreversible. And the higher the concentration of alcohol in the blood, the more brain cells die. In addition, there is a significant difference in the effect of the same dose on the body of a drinker and a person who hardly drinks alcohol.

Just as a small amount of sugar is practically harmless, but this does not apply to people with diabetes.

Myth 7: Alcohol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

The cardiovascular system responds to alcohol consumption by increasing blood pressure and myocardial damage. People who drink alcohol frequently are at the highest risk of dying from a stroke.

In 1993, an international symposium on “Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Health” was held in Toronto (Canada), where the participants concluded that moderate alcohol consumption can indeed reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in middle-aged people. At the same time, while recognizing this effect of moderate doses of alcohol, scientists unequivocally state that “there are other, much more effective means for the prevention of coronary heart disease. And any attempts to give recommendations encouraging alcohol consumption to prevent this disease will harm the population more than help.”

Myth 8. Alcohol is not high in calories

There is a popular myth that alcohol is supposedly not high in calories. Many women count all the calories they consume but do not take into account the calories they drink. Meanwhile, alcohol has a very high energy value, and the stronger the drink, the more calories it contains. Vodka has the highest caloric value.

The latter does not have nutritional properties, calories are produced only by alcohol, and that is why it is very difficult to get rid of them. The situation with wine is a little different. The energy value of this drink is partly due to carbohydrates, which are easily broken down and burned easily. Therefore, wine is not so detrimental to appearance. And yet, any alcohol is very high in calories. This rule knows no exceptions, so before you drink, think not only about your health but also about your figure.

Myth 9. Alcohol warms you up

It is believed that drinking alcoholic beverages warms the body from the inside. That’s why they are often called strong drinks. In fact, 50 grams of cognac or vodka consumed orally have vasodilating properties, normalize blood supply to internal organs and often help save lives in case of hypothermia. Drinking more than 50 grams of alcohol leads to increased blood vessel dilation, a deceptive but pleasant feeling of comfort and warmth. After all, there is an increased heat transfer and the body begins to cool down quickly, unnoticed by the person. As a result, hypothermia is inevitable.

Myth 10. A little beer won’t hurt an experienced driver

Even a small concentration of alcohol in the blood leads to changes in the driver’s behavior: orientation in a difficult situation is disturbed, the ability to concentrate decreases, self-confidence or, conversely, excessive indecision appears, coordination of movements decreases, adaptation after being blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car slows down, the reaction is inhibited and the ability to distinguish colors decreases and turning technique is disturbed.

Car accidents are caused not by alcohol abuse, but by its simple consumption (in 50% of cases).

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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