Drinking myths that risk a merry Christmas

“It’s worth reminding ourselves of both the health implications and the misinformation surrounding alcohol this festive season so we don’t regret how much we had to drink,” said Dr Jo Mitchell, Executive Director for the Centre for Population Health.

There are plenty of well-worn myths surrounding alcohol use. “It takes your liver over an hour to metabolise one standard drink and contrary to popular belief, coffee, cold showers, exercise or even vomiting won’t speed up the process,” she said.

“So you can still be over the limit hours after your last drink, even if you feel okay. Milk lining the stomach to reduce effects of alcohol is another myth – it has no effect.

“However eating before and during the time you are having alcohol is advisable, as it slows down the effects of the alcohol.”

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Many drink serving sizes at public venues or premixed bottles are more than one standard drink, so your Blood Alcohol Content may rise more quickly than you think.

“Check the label on the drink container for standard drink information or pour your own drinks so you know how much you have consumed. Test your knowledge on NSW Health’s ‘Your Room’ standard drinks calculator – you may be surprised.”

Alcohol has a lot of ‘empty’ kilojoules so it can easily contribute to weight gain. “One standard glass of red wine contains 456 kilojoules, the equivalent of around 20 minutes’ swimming, while a schooner of beer has 684 kilojoules, taking around 45 minutes walking to burn off.”

Tips to staying safe while partying include alcohol-free days, setting a limit on how many drinks you’ll have and alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.

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You can also contact the NSW Health’s Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service for support in staying healthy over the festive season and into the New Year at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/Pages/gethealthy.aspx

The NSW Government’s 2018-19 Budget commits $225.3 million to alcohol and other drug services including comprehensive education and treatment to address the use of alcohol and other drugs through public sector and non-government services.

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