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FASCINATING FACTS: 15 Crazy Facts About Alcohol

One Rum & Coke, please! There’s no better way to unwind after a hard day at work than to sip away your worries, come Friday night. Did you know, however, that you’re going to have to run for roughly 34 minutes to burn off half a bottle of red wine? Or, maybe, that the world’s oldest recipe is for beer?

So, in the interest of necessary alcohol awareness, here are 15 other facts about liquor you really should know.

1. Alcohol abuse kills 1 person every 10 seconds.

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According to a World Health Organisation report, reckless alcohol consumption led to 3.3 million deaths worldwide, in 2012. Further, the report found that 16% of all alcohol consumers were guilty of binge drinking. Just for reference, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that raises Blood Alcohol Concentration levels to 0.08g/dL. In simple terms, this means 4 drinks for women and 5 for men, in about 2 hours.(source)

Remember to let the good times roll, but in moderation.

2. It only takes about 6 minutes for your brain to react to alcohol.

Image source: slate.com

If you feel slightly boozy after one drink, don’t let your friends brand you a lightweight. Researchers in Heidelberg can testify to the fact that even one drink can quickly get to your head. Apparently, all it takes is 6 minutes.

As part of their study, these scientists discovered that 6 minutes after drinking an amount of alcohol equivalent to three beers, or two glasses of wine, changes have already taken place in the brain cells.(source)

Hic! Hic!

3. Alcohol is not digested at all; it is absorbed into your bloodstream directly.

Image source: dicon.medicine.duke.edu

Let’s get technical, shall we? Alcohol is too cool for our body’s normal digestive process. Instead, 20% of the liquor you drink is absorbed directly into the bloodstream from the stomach walls, while the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine. Once absorbed, the alcohol is distributed throughout the body. Being highly soluble in water, it tends to distribute itself in your body’s water tissues. This is the reason that organs containing lots of water, like the brain, are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol.

After which 90% of this alcohol is metabolised by the liver, while the other 10% is expelled from the body through exhalation and incessant trips to the bathroom. Factors such as strength of the drink, your body weight , gender and the speed of drinking determine how fast all that booze will be broken down by your best friend – the liver.(source)

4. People with blue eyes have a higher tolerance for alcohol and are, therefore, more likely to overdo it.

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I know what you’re thinking -it’s super unfair that genetics should decide how many Martinis you can have before you embarrass yourself. But, according to a study that compared two archival samples of data, that’s exactly what this means. The first sample consisted of 10,860 Caucasian men, while the second sample set was made up of 1.862 Caucasian women.

The conclusion? People with light eyes, or more specifically blue eyes, drank a lot more liquor than their dark-eyed counterparts. However, if you do have blue eyes, tread carefully the next time you’re tempted by a drink. The study also shows that blue-eyed drinkers maybe more prone to alcohol addiction.(source)

5. Alcohol doesn’t make you forget anything. When you get blackout drunk, the brain temporarily loses the ability to create memories.

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It’s time to bust this myth! Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t forget any part of a drunken night. Instead, excess alcohol prevents your brain from making any new memories. Blackouts are caused by a neurophysiological chemical disruption in the brain’s memory formation centre – the hippocampus.

Once we simplify the science, what this means is that your brain loses the ability to form any new memories, for a period of time. When you’re on the cusp of being blackout drunk, you can have heated discussions about politics, or dance like nobody’s watching – you just won’t remember any of it.(source)

You might want to rethink that drunk call, eh?

6. Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia, until 2013.

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In fact, up until New Year’s Day, 2013, beer was sold at street kiosks, railways stations and practically every 24-hour store. However, in an attempt to combat alcohol abuse, then President Dmitry Medvedev signed off on a set of new restrictions in 2011 and everything changed for beer guzzlers in Russia.

The sale of beer has, since, been regulated and a ban on its television advertising has been implemented. Many feel, though, that this move is counter-intuitive and might lead to increased vodka consumption, as the clear spirit is easier to buy and store.(source)

7. The strongest beer in the world has a 67.5% alcohol content.

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If creating the world’s strongest beer is not on your bucket list, drinking it definitely should be! In 2012, Lewis Shand and John McKenzie, of Banffshire’s Brewmeister Brewery, set the world record when they brewed ‘Armageddon’ beer, with a whopping 65% alcohol content. However, when customers complained that the beer wasn’t strong enough, these two friends decided to take things to the next level.

‘Snake Venom’ is now the world’s most potent beer and boasts of a dizzying 67.5% alcohol content. It comes with a warning and you’d be foolish not to pay heed to it. Drinking more than 35 ml, in one sitting, is not advisable.(source)

Kids, don’t try this at home.

8. In professional shooting, alcohol is considered to be a performance-enhancing drug.

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Alcohol relaxes the body and could, potentially, slow your heart rate. It is for these reasons that it is listed as a performance-enhancing drug, used by shooters to calm their nerves. In addition to liquor, beta-blockers are also used by professional shooters.

Both these substances are banned by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).(source)

9. 25% of all Russian men die before they reach their mid-50s, mainly due to vodka.

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A study of more than 150,000 people discovered extremely high premature death rates among Russian men. The culprit? A deep and abiding love for vodka. Some men go through more than three bottles of the spirit, in a single week!

Causes of death include alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence, suicide as well as diseases such as pneumonia, liver cancer and tuberculosis.(source)

10. Beer-flavoured ice cream exists and it will definitely get you tipsy!

Image source: www.frozenpints.com

Frozen Pints has created a whole range of craft beer ice creams. Whether your preference is light or dark, there’s something for everyone. This is probably the most delicious way to drink, because each of these ice creams has certain alcohol content, as well.(source)

Brown Ale Chip, I will find you and eat you!

11. In Newfoundland, water from icebergs is harvested to make premium alcohol such as Iceberg Vodka.

Image source: www.canadiangeographic.ca

A Canadian company, Iceberg Vodka Corporation, is the only one in the world that uses water harvested from icebergs to create its signature vodka. Each year, in spring, the company collects tonnes of glacial ice from Newfoundland’s famous Iceberg Alley. Initially, the company had hoped to conquer the bottled water market, but the purity of iceberg water makes it particularly vulnerable to microbial contamination. However, a stroke of genius later, they began adding alcohol to the water and voila! Iceberg Vodka was born.

You have to get your hands on the vodka that, in 2004, beat out Grey Goose to be crowned the number one premium vodka in the Greater New York Chapter of Taster’s Guild International blind taste test. It’s so good that the company relies mostly on guerrilla marketing and word-of-mouth to sell its bottles.(source)

12. Australian scientists have created a hydrating, hangover-free beer.

Image source: ibtimes.co.uk

Thanks to nutrition researchers at Griffith University’s Health Institute, hangover-free beer is now a reality! The scientists added electrolytes to two commercial beers – one regular beer and one of the light variety – and discovered that the light beer was three times as hydrating as the regular brew. If you’re a pro-drinker, you already know that hydration is what keeps the awful hangovers away.(source)

Have all our drinking prayers been answered?

13. A quirky bar in New York mimics the stock market, every night.

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At the Exchange Bar & Grill, a real-time ‘drink ticker’ shows how prices of drinks fluctuate, depending on the popularity of a cocktail. If you play the market right, you can enjoy fancy drinks for very little money when they hit ‘rock bottom’. If you get lucky, you might be around for the Market Crash when prices of all beers fall to $2, all drinks for $3 and top-shelf liquor is available for as low as $4. Lucky for us, these awesome stock exchange bars are popping up closer home, as well!(source)

We know what you’re doing this Saturday!

14. The creators of Budweiser always placed a few drops of the brew on the tongues of their new-born sons.

Image source: wnmufm.org

The extremely regal, world-renowned beer manufacturing family, Anheuser-Busch had a rather peculiar tradition. As the company was passed down from father to son for five generations, the creators of Budweiser ensured that the love for beer was inculcated from a very young age.

A few drops of the ‘King of Beers’ was placed on the tongues of new-born sons, just hours after their birth, even before they had tasted mother’s milk! And the legacy continued.(source)

15. Even with income, education, and other correlates controlled, intelligent people drink more alcohol.

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Blame it on evolution. No, seriously. Drinking alcohol is evolutionarily novel. Evolutionarily novel means that more intelligent people are better able to understand, and deal with, ideas and lifestyles. Subsequently, these unusual ideas and lifestyles form the basis for their preferences and values.

Human consumption of liquor was, up until 10,000 years, accidental and unintentional. Fermented fruits with trace amounts of ethanol were eaten, unknowingly, before the advent of agriculture. It was only later than human beings discovered the intentional fermentation of fruits and grain to produce ethanol.

Since the substance and method of consumption (drinking, not eating) are both evolutionarily novel, intelligent people are more likely to consume alcohol, than those with lower IQs.(source)

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