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Tuesday 23 September 2014 Alcohol

We’ve pulled together a bunch of facts that you might not have known about alcohol. They might make you think twice before reaching for another drink.

  • Every gram of alcohol you drink equals an extra 10ml of urine. That’s why there’s always a queue for the loos!
  • With almost 7 calories per gram, alcohol has almost has the same calorie content as pure fat (never mind the end-of-the-night kebab).
  • Gin really can make you cry. Alcohol is a depressant – it slows down the parts of your brain that control your emotions, called the limbic system, so you experience exaggerated emotional state.
  • A premium 5% lager has about 250 calories - the same number of calories as a slice of pepperoni pizza. Think about having a lower alcohol beer or a healthy meal before heading out.
  • Each unit of alcohol (one shot of spirits, half a pint or a small 125ml glass of wine) takes one hour to process. There's not much you can do about it except slotting in a few glasses of water or soft drinks on the night to avoid feeling so bad the next day.
  • Women build up a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood than men after drinking the same volume. Size doesn’t matter here, the reason is that women have proportionately less water in their bodies than men, so the concentration of alcohol in their blood stream is higher. Evidence also exists that women may breakdown (metabolise) alcohol slightly differently due to an enzyme called ADH, which helps break down alcohol in the liver and is present at lower levels in women.
  • Mixing drinks doesn’t get you more drunk. It’s actually the fact that you’re drinking different drinks with different unit content, which makes you feel more drunk. What you’re drinking is really just flavoured alcohol, it just depends which flavour and size you choose. It’s not how many different drinks you have, it’s simply the number of drinks.
  • 'Hair of the dog makes me feel better'. Well, not really. Your body is going through withdrawal from alcohol, hence the headache, sickness, dizziness and shakes. Drinking more just prolongs the pain. Although in the short term you'll dampen down the shakes, the body ends up having more toxins to deal with and more severe effects will result. The only hangover cure is time. 

NUS’ Alcohol Impact scheme looks at creating a norm of responsible drinking on our campuses and changing attitudes towards drinking and building safer more productive student communities.