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Five Alcohol Myths Busted 

While Australian drinking culture is changing for the better, it’s still fair to say that alcohol plays a big role. Perhaps that's why, when it comes to alcohol, there is a lot of fake news. It’s much easier to believe that there are some good things about alcohol than to confront the truth - alcohol is seriously bad news for our health and wellbeing. In this blog post, I examine five common myths about alcohol.

Myth 1. Drinking alcohol gives you a ‘beer belly

The implication of a ‘beer belly’ is that it’s the beer that causes the weight gain and that other alcoholic drinks won’t have the same effect. 

The truth behind this myth is that any excess of calories, whether it be from food or drink, will cause you to gain weight. Beer calories don’t affect the body differently to wine calories or cake calories. 

It’s not just the empty calories from alcohol that cause weight gain. When we drink alcohol, our bodies prioritise processing and removing the alcohol, which means that any food you’re eating goes straight to energy stores. 

On top of this, alcohol lowers impulse control which means that you’re more likely to reach for calorific snacks. 

Related: Drinking, Calories & Snacking - Everything you need to know

On the other hand, non-alcoholic drinks tend to be both lower in sugar and calories. 

Myth 2. Alcohol helps you sleep

A night-cap has long been seen as a good way to aid sleep. But the science behind sleep and alcohol tells a very different story. 

While alcohol can help you drift off to sleep, it plays havoc with your sleep cycle, preventing you from entering the REM stage (the deep, restorative sleep we need to recharge.) 

On top of this, after drinking alcohol you will probably need more frequent trips to the bathroom (alcohol has a diuretic effect which means that your body is producing more urine.) 

Related: 7 surprising benefits of cutting back on booze

An alcohol free red wine at bedtime can help you feel relaxed without interfering with your sleep cycle. 

Myth 3. Red wine is good for your heart

polyphenols (a type of antioxidant found in grape skins) that improve heart function and not the alcohol. 

Researchers noted that participants who drank two to four glasses of champagne or white wine or eight to 11 glasses of red wine had a decreased risk of ischemic heart disease. However, the positive relationship between wine and heart disease was also found in participants who drank non-alcoholic wine

Alcohol & Heart Health - What you need to know

The lead researcher, Dr Rudolf Schutte, noted that any positive link between wine and heart health was offset by other risks. In other words, drinking alcohol is bad for your health. 

If you are interested in boosting your antioxidant intake, the non-alcoholic wine range from Plus & Minus is a great option. 

Myth 4. Sex is better when you’ve had a drink

Although alcohol has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac, research shows that, on the whole, alcohol actually reduce pleasure by reducing sexual sensitivity and hindering performance. 

On top of this, alcohol consumption can interfere with impulse control and lead to risky behaviour. 2021 research commissioned by Sans Drinks found that 51 per cent of Australians have done something they regret while under the influence of alcohol.

Related: Sober Sex - Why it's a thing!

Myth 5. You need alcohol to have fun

It’s certainly true that alcohol can lower inhibitions and make social situations feel more comfortable. But the mindful drinking trend that has swept Australia in the last few years has led to an uptick in sober socialising.  

Five ways to socialise without alcohol

There are lots of ways to have fun and spend time with your friends without alcohol. You might also find that sober socialising leads to more meaningful connections and of course, after a night of non-alcoholic drinks you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and energetic. 

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