Everyone's got a drinking story and everyone's got a hangover cure but how many of these are true? There are any number of crazy facts, figures and stories that come out while we're drinking that aren't strictly based on the truth.
In fact, most of them are made up but it'd set you in good stead to have a few of the facts so you look like the smart one next time you're down at the pub and one of your mates starts mouthing off about this or that...
Firstly, drinking in moderation is fine. Drinking excessively is bad we don't recommend you get drunk in order to try out any of these so please drink responsbily.
Drinking coffee will sober you up
Wrong! Coffee won't sober you up because NOTHING can you simply have to wait for your system to purge itself of alcohol. What a large dose of the black stuff will do is just make you a hyperactive drunk and probably more annoying than you were before.
And you won't be able to sleep afterwards. The theory is based on opposites alcohol, the depressant, and coffee, the stimulant, cancelling each other out. Sadly, not true. Nor is the cold shower trick, but you could try it on one of your mates for a laugh.
Beer bellies are caused by drinking beer
Another myth that's filtered down into popular culture. A beer belly is just the moniker given to the visceral (gut) fat build up around the middle of the body and is also referred to as the 'pot belly'. Scientists aren't sure why this happens to some people, but sitting around and eating is the general suspicion. And no, standing up and eating won't make it any better.
Drinking destroys your brain cells
How many times did you hear that from your mum, dad or teachers when you were a kid? Enough that if you had a dollar for every time you'd be in beer money for a good long while... Interestingly enough, this same myth was perpetuated by the same group who insisted that having alcohol in your blood could result in you catching fire. Thankfully, recent studies have shown that moderate (yes, moderate) consumption of alcohol can improve brain function. Gooooo BEER!
Men and women of the same size can drink the same amount of alcohol
We're all for equality over here at MSN, but sorry girls you just can't drink as much as the boys. Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes, which break down alcohol, in their blood. Thus, 'drinking like a girl' is a valid and scientifically based insult. It might be a bit mean and won't do you any favours with whoever you're chatting up though.
Mixing your drinks
Health experts and doctors all agree that mixing your drinks won't make you any better or worse than sticking to one drink; nor will avoiding dark drinks in favour of lighter ones. The solution to not getting ill when drinking or the morning after don't drink to excess in the first place.
The custom of clinking glasses when saying cheers was to avoid poisoning
In truth, nobody knows where the custom of clinking glasses together comes from, despite all the myths surrounding it. One idea was that to make sure your ally/partner/new acquaintance hadn't drugged your drink you would bang your glasses together, slopping some of your drink into his or hers. Another was that the loud 'clink' would serve to ward off evil spirits.
The custom is far more recent than the days of scaring demons and poisoning by drink (although there was never a time when this was particularly prevalent) and some experts believe it merely became popular because of the pleasant noise it makes.
Alcohol makes you a better lover
Well, it certainly makes you think you're one. It actually just has a major effect on your inhibitions, making you feel more confident and more comfortable and prepared to go the extra mile. You'll be running round the pub chatting up girls in no time, which you'd probably never do when sober.
Alcohol can have major side effects on your, ahem, performance in other areas though, slowing down the communications across your synapses and making you less able to control your physical actions. So bear this in mind when bragging about how big you are and how long you can go for, as you might be going too far.
Taking aspirin before drinking will stop you getting a hangover
You're probably getting the message by now there are no hard and fast preventions or cures for hangovers. Rumours have circulated about medical students putting themselves on drips overnight to rehydrate and cleanse, but no evidence exists. Just don't try it at home with a can of lemonade.
The myth about aspirin couldn't be further from the truth it actually slows the rate at which your body breaks down alcohol, prolonging both the effects of being drunk and getting over it. And don't forget, the effects of an aspirin only last a few hours, not all night.
You can beat a breathalyser test
You don't need to be told what a bad idea going anywhere near a car is when you've been drinking even as a passenger, whom recent studies have shown are highly likely to cause accidents when intoxicated. But whatever anyone tells you, you can't beat a breathalyser. If you've been that idiotic to get into a car and you've been stopped by the police, hold your hands up. Myths about sucking coins, sweets even eating your underpants as one American driver tried won't cut it. You cannot beat a breathalyser.
Exercising on a hangover is a bad idea
This is a bit of a grey area, but exercise physiologist Giles Webster says that through mild exercise we "raise the metabolic rate and so dispose of the poisons (ie the alcohol) more quickly. Do remember to keep your fluid (water, this time) intake up though. The headache with a hangover is reduced blood flow and spasm around your head, but mostly what makes you feel awful is coping with a series of poisons and trying to metabolise those is what getting over a hangover is. If you feel like death to the point where you think you're going to be a danger to yourself, avoid the gym it's full of machines that bite. Go and have a lie down".