I have received thousands of comments which I have published and answered over the years. However, it is rare when a reader actually writes an article. It gives me great pleasure to present the following, which was written by Anne Trent, one of our readers. I encourage others to dust off your keyboards and share your thoughts with us.
We’ve all been there. You head out for a ‘quiet drink’, and end up tumbling back through your front door at 3 in the morning. If you’ve got any kind of sense left, you’ll immediately seek out some water to guzzle. One of the first things we’re taught when we embark upon our lives as legal booze-drinkers is that drinking water after a night out prevents a hangover. But this isn’t the only legend doing the rounds concerning water and alcohol. How many of these are true, and how many are just wishful thinking?
The Myth – Having Water After Drinking Prevents A Hangover
True Or False? – FALSE (mostly)
Drinking water after a heavy night cannot prevent a hangover. Hangovers are complex things, and even medical scientists don’t really fully understand what’s going on inside a hangover. One thing we do know is that some aspects of a hangover (headaches, for example) can be lessened with good hydration. So topping yourself up with water can make yourself feel a little better by eliminating the symptoms of dehydration from your toxic hangover mix. However, this only really works if you drink water consistently throughout the night – and it won’t get rid of the other symptoms of your hangover. Drink the water anyway, though. It’ll do your body good after all of that booze!
The Myth – Drinking Water Alongside Alcohol Stops You From Getting Fat
True Or False – FALSE
There’s a weird trend at the moment for trying to negate the calorific effects of drinking without actually cutting down on alcohol. ‘Drinkorexia’, whereby people restrict calories during the day in order to drink more at night, is becoming increasingly common worldwide. One myth doing the rounds is that drinking gallons of water alongside alcohol in a night out will somehow ‘flush’ out the calorie-laden booze and effectively make it calorie free (or at least calorie –reduced). Unfortunately, this is a myth. The relationship between alcohol and weight gain is really quite complex, but the bottom line is that alcohol contains an awful lot of calories. You cannot ‘flush out’ calories with water. However, doing things like alternating drinks with water can ensure that you have less alcohol overall – and that will help to reduce your calorie intake. So this myth does have a kernel of truth in it, just not for the reasons generally given!
The Myth – Water Can Protect You From Getting Drunk
True Or False – FALSE
Water is very, very good for you – but it’s not magic. It cannot form a protective shield around your liver or your brain. If you drink enough alcohol, you will get drunk, no matter how much water you pour into your body alongside it. Again, however, doing things like alternating alcoholic drinks with water can reduce the amount of alcohol you consume overall, thus preventing you from getting as drunk as you otherwise would have. It will also lengthen the timespan between alcoholic drinks, which gives your body time to metabolize the alcohol you’ve imbibed before you tip more in. So this one is not a total washout!
The Myth – Water Helps Your Liver And Kidneys Clean Up After A Heavy Night
True Or False? – TRUE
Alcohol is a poison. Your liver and kidneys must work very hard indeed to get it out of the body as quickly as possible. This can take quite a toll. While water cannot prevent alcohol from hitting your liver and kidneys, it can help to support them while they do their vital work. Your liver works at its best when it’s well hydrated. A thirsty liver – particularly one struggling to metabolize nasty alcohol toxins – will not work nearly as efficiently as one which is nicely hydrated. Once your liver has done its work, it sends the metabolic alcoholic waste to the kidneys. The kidneys need to get rid of these as quickly as possible before they do damage to the body. As such, it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water in order to ‘flush’ the urinary system through, and wash your kidneys out with greater speed. All in all, whether or not it’s the booze ‘miracle cure’ some people believe it to be, drinking a lot of water on and after a night out will do you a lot of good. If not, perhaps, in the manner you were expecting…