Unlike a car or a new phone, alcohol doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so we end up relying on our peers and parents for guidance, or worse still our own drinking experiences which are not always positive.

To make things harder, there are hundreds of myths about how alcohol affects us, many of which date back generations. As part of our mission to make it easier for people to make the choices that are right for them when it comes to drinking, Alcohol&Me has joined forces with some local and international experts to bust a few of these common myths and set the story straight once and for all.


1. Eating is NOT cheating

Not unless your goal is to be the first to be sent home in a taxi! Contrary to popular belief, food won’t stop you getting drunk. If you drink more than 1 standard drink an hour you will feel the effects of alcohol, but a full belly will help to slow the pace at which your body absorbs the alcohol. To stay safe and sociable it is important to eat before and during the occasion, and for the best results the next day, start with a good meal when you wake.

Some good ‘drinking food’ choices include eggs, meat and dairy products that release energy slowly – helping your body to run efficiently and absorb alcohol over a longer period. Now you have the perfect excuse to hit the local café for bacon and eggs the next day!


2. Coffee and a cold shower will NOT sober you up.

The adult liver can only process 10 grams of pure alcohol (1 standard drink) per hour and there is nothing you can do to speed up this process. A cold shower and a coffee might help to wake you up, but it won’t speed up the body’s ability to process the alcohol you have drunk. Time is the only cure – remember it takes 1 hour to process each standard drink you consume which is worth bearing in mind before you think about driving the next day!


3. Beer before liquor, will NOT make you sicker

It’s the amount you drink, not what you drink or the order you drink it in that is important. Remember, the adult liver can only process 10 grams of pure alcohol (1 standard drink) per hour and there is nothing you can do to speed this process up so regardless of what your favourite tipple is, the more you drink the worse you will feel – it’s not rocket science!

It is also very important to remember that 1 standard drink is not necessarily 1 glass or bottle. It differs depending on your drink of choice so here is a quick guide but check out our Standard Drink Calculator if you’re ever unsure:


5% beer or cider – 1 Std drink is 255mL

2.5% mid strength beer – 1 Std drink is 510mL

13% Wine – 1 Std Drink is 100mL

40% Spirit – 1 Std drink is 30mL

You can find out more about standard drinks here


4. Throwing up will NOT help you sober up and stop hangovers

Vomiting when you’ve been drinking is very dangerous. This is your body’s way of preventing poisoning and while you may feel better initially due to the shot of endorphins your body releases3, it will only be short term. As discussed previously in our ‘What’s Going On Inside’ Article, when you drink, the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream almost immediately so throwing up will only remove the small amount of alcohol that is actually in your stomach at any one time.

Alcohol is also a diuretic and the vomiting will dehydrate you further which is likely to mean an even worse hangover the next day!


5. Eating before bed WONT reduce your hangover.

While eating is really important before, during and after drinking, grabbing a kebab or a pie on the way home won’t be enough to ward off your hangover on its own.  Alcohol has a diuretic effect which means it makes you go to the toilet a lot. It’s  all the extra peeing that dehydrates you and can contribute to the headache and nausea that most of us associate with a hangover. So, when you are enjoying a few drinks you also need water or non-alcoholic beverages and lots of them before you drink, while you are drinking and when you get home.

It is worth remembering that drinking alcohol doesn’t have to come hand in hand with a hangover. It is you and the decisions that you make before, during and after drinking that lead to a hangover.

Most of us will recall an occasion where you’ve woken up in the morning and thought “wow I feel pretty good and I drank quite a lot last night” – if you stopped and thought about what the different was with this drinking occasion, chances are you either ate more and/or drank more water. On the flip side, some of the worst hangovers come as a result of nights when you start drinking straight from work and forget to eat. Worth thinking about ahead of your next night out isn’t it?

So next time you are out and about with your mates and you hear someone throwing comments like this around you will be able to shed some truth and light on the situation. When it comes to drinking it is always important to make the decisions that are right for you and this might be different on different days or weeks. You should never feel pressured to drink but when/if you do – drink smart.

To find out more about making smarter drinking choices check out our fun, interactive and highly informative online modules here.

Alcohol&Me Team


P.S – There are many other myths and misunderstandings that exist about alcohol but if you have one in particular that you would like us to investigate then please send us an email at alcoholandme@lionco.com and we will get the experts onto it for you.


  • These experts include health professors, anthropologists and experts in drug and alcohol issues, as well as nutritionists.
  • Like all your vital organs, the human liver is not fully grown until you are in your mid to late 20’s therefore an adult liver refers to those over 25 years old.
  • This endorphin shot is part of the human fight or flight reflex and it is designed to give you a short term burst of energy enough to outrun the sabre tooth tiger that is chasing you down. When it comes to alcohol, the biggest danger out there is you and how many drinks you consume, so look after yourself!