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Myth or Fact: 5 things you may not know about your favourite drinks

We look into common beliefs and misconceptions surrounding alcohol consumption

Time Out Seoul in partnership with Pernod Ricard

While everyone wants to enjoy a night out to the fullest, there are many common misconceptions surrounding drinking. Together with leading premium wine & spirits company and ‘créateurs de convivialité’ (creators of conviviality), Pernod Ricard, we look into five drinking beliefs that you might have come across – are they fact or fiction? But one thing holds steady: always remember to drink more water and pace yourself to make the most of your night out.

Common beliefs about alcohol

Eating food helps slow down alcohol absorption
Photograph: Shutterstock/puhhha

1. Eating food helps slow down alcohol absorption

Answer: FACT

Your blood alcohol level rises faster when you drink on an empty stomach. Having delectable bar bites at the ready will help reduce the pace at which your blood alcohol increases and will allow you to pace yourself so you don’t have more drinks than you intended. 

Fact: Many believe that eating food after drinking will speed up the processing of alcohol –this is not true. The best time to eat is before and during consumption of alcohol, as this can help prevent your blood alcohol level from rising too quickly. 

Taking a nap will help your body process the alcohol
Photograph: Shutterstock/220 Selfmade studio

2. Taking a nap will help your body process the alcohol

Answer: MYTH

While it might seem tempting to sink into your comfy duvet after a round of drinks, taking a nap doesn’t speed up your body’s processing of alcohol. The reasoning behind this misconception is that many feel like their regular selves after a long nap – but that’s because the only thing that rids your body of alcohol is time. Interestingly, the breakdown of alcohol starts immediately once you take a sip.

Fact: It takes the average person about an hour to process a drink (or roughly 10g of pure alcohol), but of course, this can vary depending on factors like your body weight or metabolic rate.

There is a global standard unit size of alcohol
Photograph: Shutterstock/Maria Fomina

3. There is a global standard unit size of alcohol

Answer: MYTH

Nope, there is no standard unit size of alcohol around the world, but there are country-specific standard units. In Seoul, a standard alcohol unit is 14g – that's about one bowl (300ml) of makgeoli or a quarter bottle (90ml) of 20 percent soju. But keep in mind that the definition of a standard unit differs across countries. For instance, it’s also 8g in the UK and India, but a much higher 14g in the United States.

While we're on the topic, there's no globally recognised legal drinking age, either. You have to be 19 years old to drink in South Korea but 20 in Japan and 21 in the United States.

“Hard” drinks are stronger
Photograph: Shutterstock/L.O.N Dslr Camera

4. “Hard” drinks are stronger

Answer: MYTH

First things first: there’s no such thing as a “hard” or “soft” drink. In actual fact, a dram of single malt whisky and a glass of wine both have approximately the same amount of alcohol. Take a closer look at the amount of pure alcohol each alcoholic beverage contains – it’s typically marked by a measure called alcohol by volume (ABV). Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re drinking responsibly just because you’re guzzling down light beers. 

Fact: Drinks with a lower ABV are often served in larger sizes.

It’s fun to drink responsibly
Photograph: Shutterstock/Thomas Soellner

5. It’s fun to drink responsibly

Answer: FACT

This is a resounding yes – drinking responsibly is one of the best things you could do for yourself and those around you. In order to enjoy your night out to the fullest, you should always educate yourself about drinking and how it might affect you. If you choose to drink, make sure you do so in moderation and adhere to country-specific drinking guidelines. It goes without saying that you should also respect the choice of those who choose not to drink, and not engage in any excessive or binge drinking. And of course if you are underage, pregnant, taking medication or will be driving, you should not drink at all. Drink plenty of water throughout the night to keep yourself hydrated and remember, it’s always OK to take a break and to not drink if you feel so.

Fact: Drinking water when consuming alcohol helps the body stay hydrated and keeps your bodily systems functioning well.

Drink more water

Photograph: Pernod Ricard

As you sip and savour your favourite libations, always remember to stay hydrated and drink more water. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water for every drink you consume – but of course, you’re more than welcome to have more. And if you're looking for more tips on how to enjoy a night out to the fullest, read our article here.

Pernod Ricard is committed to promoting responsible drinking so remember to pace yourself the next time you’re enjoying a glass of champagne, a sip of whiskey or a shot of vodka. To find out more about Pernod Ricard’s Drink More Water campaign, check out the video below.

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