We all know drinking alcohol, the world’s number one most acceptable addictive substance, is bad for us in excess and long term and all have been taught through health class and biology lessons and various after school and drama programs what alcohol can do to us negatively.
But what about alcohol facts, you know those crazy little facts that show the world you know more than you should about the worlds favorite intoxicating substance.
Here’s 17 of the facts you never knew about alcohol.
Russia loves its alcohol, so much so that is wasn’t until 2011 that anything under 10% proof was considered alcoholic. With vodka sales and spirit sales falling but overall alcohol-related health rates still rising the Russian Government brought in this change to regulate the industry and was swiftly followed by a 200% tax hike and license to sell alcohol being enforced.
Iceland has a public holiday on the 1st March known as beer day: dating from 1989 the holiday is a celebration of when Iceland lifted it’s prohibition laws and allowed the people of Iceland to buy beer legally again after having had a minor fall out with Spain dating back to 1921, red wine and other alcoholic drinks were available legally before this but beer had remained illegal, people took to the streets to drink and celebrate with beer and have done so ever since.
The legal drinking age around the world varies but did you know 19 countries have no legal minimum age – such as Sierra Leone, Cambodia and China, the lowest permitted age for the consumption of alcohol is 10, and in 16 countries it is illegal to consume alcohol altogether.
The effects associated with drinking occur when ethanol enters your bloodstream and passes through the membranes of cells in your brain, heart, and other organs. Causing the release of several hormones which cause a relaxation effect and emit several dopamine responses meaning we lose our inhibition and brain ability to risk asses.
Culture has a significant influence on how people consume alcohol. A study that explored family drinking in Italy found that Italians who drank at family meals while growing up were less likely to develop unhealthy drinking habits later on in life.
Scientist Nikola Tesla drank whiskey every day because he thought it would make him live to 150 years old. We all know Tesla was a bit odd but he was a nonsmoker and avid walker who adhered to a vegetarian diet for much of his adult life but still loved a drink. Tesla stated “Alcohol is not a poison, nor is it a drug…[i]n small quantities, it cleans and sterilizes the alimentary channels; thereby preventing infections, and proves a beneficial stimulant to thought, speech and physical exertion.”
Tesla also claimed that moderate drinkers are “as a rule, long-lived and considered by life insurance companies the safest policyholders.” In fact he went so far as to blame his following prohibition as to why he did not live until 150.
Fear on an empty alcohol glass is called Cenosillicaphobia. It is a fear suffered by many on nights out and boring work events.
Alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds worldwide. A WHO report from 2014 worked out that with a death rate of 3.3 Million people dying from alcohol or related health issues caused by alcohol in 2012 this worked out as one person dying every 10 seconds. The report also shows that 16% of drinkers partake in binge drinking, which is the most dangerous form of alcohol consumption.
Europe has the highest alcohol consumption per capita, though consumption levels have been stable since the report so may now be behind others. Consumption had remained stable in Africa and in the Americas, but it appeared to be rising in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions. China, for example, was estimated to grow its per capita consumption by 1.5 liters of pure alcohol by 2025.
75% of esophageal cancers are mainly attributable to alcohol abuse. Alcohol consumption has also been connected to 7 forms of cancer: bowel, breast, Voicebox (laryngeal), liver, mouth, food pipe (Oesophageal) and upper throat (Pharyngeal). Heavy drinking can also cause heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis and, of course, injuries.
In the past there has been a debate about low-levels of certain alcohol being good for us, such as ‘is red wine good for the heart?’. However, the most recent research has found that any protective effect of alcohol is ultimately outweighed by the associated health risk. The small protective effect that can be found at very low drinking levels is limited to women aged 55 and over.4 In any case, it has never been thought that alcohol has any protective benefits against cancer.
Alcohol is not a banned substance in sports. Despite several sites on the internet stating otherwise, alcohol is not banned out right in sports. The anti-doping federation states. “Effective 1 January 2018, and after careful consideration and extensive consultation, Alcohol is excluded from the Prohibited List. The intent of this change is not to compromise the integrity or safety of any sport where alcohol use is a concern, but rather to endorse a different means of enforcing bans on alcohol use in these sports.
The International Federations (IF) affected by this change were alerted sufficiently in advance in order to amend their rules and to put in place protocols to test for alcohol use and appropriately sanction athletes who do not abide by the rules of their sport. Control of the process will allow IF more flexibility in applying rules or thresholds as they see fit. The National Anti-Doping Organizations are no longer obliged to conduct tests but may assist IF and National Federations where appropriate.”
Meaning that individual sports are there governing bodies need to assess if alcohol being banned is needed in their sport.
The State of Georgia was originally colonized with three prohibitions. No alcohol, no slavery, and no Catholics, they later added no lawyers as well. The thirteenth colony Georgia was named after King George II, and Savannah became the first city. Under the charter, the colony was to benefit the poor, increase trade, and to provide a protective buffer between the northern English colonies and the Spanish in Florida. In 1734, the only three formal laws ever enacted during the 21-year trust period and number one was:The Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies were not to be allowed due to the corrupting nature of man.
Bill Wilson, the well-known co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, demanded whiskey in the last days of his life and became belligerent when he was denied.
There is a traditional British army drink called gunfire made of black tea and rum. Officers serve it to lower ranks on Christmas. During the Korean war, British soldiers once gave gunfire to some American MPs, causing them to drive an ARV and some jeeps into a fence.
Alcohol is a diuretic which is the reason when drinking it we have to dash to the toilet. Professor Oliver James, Head of Clinical Medical Sciences at Newcastle University explained: “It acts on the kidneys to make you pee out much more than you take in – which is why you need to go to the toilet so often when you drink.” In fact for every 1g of alcohol drunk, urine excretion increases by 10ml1.
Alcohol also reduces the production of a hormone called vasopressin, which tells your kidneys to reabsorb water rather than flush it out through the bladder. With the body’s natural signal switched off, the bladder is free to fill up with fluid.
Alcohol dehydrates your body generally, including the skin – your body’s largest organ. This happens every time you drink. Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol.
Alcohol may be nearly as old as civilization. Residues from an alcoholic beverage that dates back to 7,000 to 6,600 B.C. have been found in China, recovered from early pottery from Jiahu, a Neolithic village in the Yellow River Valley. This beverage currently predates the earliest evidence of grape wine from the Middle East by more than 500 years. Archaeologists have also found evidence suggesting that the workers and pharaohs were also drinking alcohol and considered it precious with the tomb of the Pharaoh Scorpion I, where a curious combination of savory, thyme and coriander showed up in the residues of ceramics interred with the monarch in 3150 B.C.
Hopefully, this trivia will make you the talk of the bar and your friends showing once and for all you are the expert on alcohol. So raise your glass one final time, toast your new found cleverness and enjoy a good night in moderation.