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Where there’s drinking, there are drinking myths. We’ve taken a magnifying glass to the pre-drinking rituals that people swear by, to help keep you informed on how to drink responsibly.

Beer before wine and you’ll be fine

The phrase “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine, wine before beer will leave you feeling queer” (or is it the other way around?) will be ringing out at dinner parties up and down the country this festive period. But is there any science behind it? In short – no. Although there haven’t been any studies that have specifically looked into drinking wine and beer in different orders yet, research suggests that it is the person’s judgment that could lead to feeling worse for wear after mixing drinks. If you start on a stronger drink, such as wine, your judgment is more likely to be impaired and lead you to drink heavily, with a study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors suggesting that the more you drink, the more you are likely to underestimate your level of drunkenness.

Line your stomach with milk

The myth goes that by coating your gut with a grease-like substance, such as milk, your body is stopped from absorbing as much alcohol. Unfortunately, milk isn’t some special elixir that can tackle and block alcohol’s effects, with you better off eating something instead (see below). Coating your stomach with anything won’t stop the alcohol reaching your bloodstream, with around two thirds of the absorption occurring in the digestive step after the stomach – the small intestine.

Have a big meal before or while drinking

Eating protein, fats and dense carbohydrates can slow the stomach’s alcohol absorption process, but won’t stop it completely. A meal will therefore only delay the inevitable, and could lead you to drink more resulting in intoxication. But that’s not to say you should drink on an empty stomach either – one Swedish study found that your blood-alcohol level could be up to 70 percent higher if you haven’t eaten anything compared to having a drink on a full stomach. If drinking on an empty stomach, the alcohol goes directly into your bloodstream and can leave you feeling worse off than you actually are.

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