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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEntertainment | Restaurants & Dining | June 2005 

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Congeners are toxic chemicals that are formed during fermentation, some liquors have more of them than others. These congeners are widely responsible for headaches. Simple digest: The clearer your drinks, the less problems you will have the next morning. (Correct only for brandy. Non filtered beer for example can be very good, specially because they contain a large vitamin b complex, which is important to protect you from brain pickling)

For instance:
* Vodka has less congeners than gin.
* Most scotch whiskey has about four times more congeners than gin.
* Brandy, rum and single-malt scotch have about six times more than gin.
* Bourbon drinkers ingest eight times the amount of congeners as do gin drinkers, and 30 times as much as vodka.
* Red wine has more congeners than white wine does.

What causes hangovers?

Alcohol is a diuretic, ie a drug that increases urination and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee the next morning only increases this problem as coffee is also a diuretic.

Mild poisons in the drink
Complex organic molecules such as methanol and acetone are found in some drinks and are said to be responsible for hangovers rather than ethanol (alcohol). This view is by researcher Dr Ian Calder of the London based National Hospital for Neurosurgery.

Which Alcohol is worse?
Brandy is worst for hangovers, then in descending order are: red wine, rum, whisky, white wine, gin and vodka. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon whiskey is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.

Too much alcohol
Too much alcohol depletes the body of necessary substances required to stay healthy, these include blood sugar, vitamins and minerals.

Wine - a bad harvest
If you are drinking wine that comes from a country where a small change in the climate can make a big difference to the quality of wine, eg France, Germany, New Zealand, then in a bad season the wine contains many more substances that cause hangovers.

Wine - drinking it too young
Almost all red wines and chardonnay are matured in oak barrels so that they will keep and improve. If you drink this wine younger than three years there will be a higher level of nasties that can cause hangovers. If left to mature these nasties change to neutral substances and don't cause hangovers. As a rule of thumb wine stored in oak barrels for six months should be acceptable to drink within the first year. If the wine is stored for twelve months or more in oak barrels it should then be left for at least four years. Some winemakers have been known to add oak chips directly into the wine to enhance flavors, especially in a bad season, and this can take years to become neutral.

Safety Tip!!

One thing you REALLY ought to be aware of -- if you plan on living very long -- is that acetominophen (Tylenol) in combination with alcohol does HORRENDOUS liver damage. Alcohol alone damages the liver; and acetominophen (Tylenol) does a little damage to the liver; but if you mix the two, the damage you incur is EXPONENTIAL. I'm sure you can find plenty of medical journals to collaborate this if you want to. This made news a while back. You can literally wreck your liver in a very short time if you mix Tylenol with alcohol.

Alcohol intake linked to better cognitive function sent by Frank Kunkel

Light alcohol consumption may improve intellectual ability on everyday function, a new study of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis suggests. In the study of 2,040 African-Americans with an average age of 74 years, researchers found that light drinkers -- people who had fewer than four alcoholic drinks per week-- exhibited slightly higher scores on cognitive examinations (mean score of 30.93) than those who had 10 or more drinks each week (mean score of 29.93). People who never drank or only drank moderately -- more than four but fewer than 10 drinks each week -- had test results that were slightly lower or equal to the light drinkers (means scores of 30.18 and 30.42, respectively), the researchers said. Although scores for light drinkers were only marginally higher, they were consistent, Dr. Hendrie noted in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (1996;44:1158-1165).

Among the participants, 59% had been drinkers at some time in their lives and 25% were still drinking at the time of the study. The other 41% were lifetime abstainers. In the report, these lifetime abstainers tended to score more poorly of cognitive functions than the light drinkers, even when the light drinkers had stopped drinking almost 20 years prior to the study, Dr. Hendrie said. "If you take this report in the context of what we know of alcohol in general, it is a good report and provides extra precaution to those who are heavy drinkers," Dr. Evans said. "Probably the best group to be in is that group that drinks a little bit," he added.

Old wives tales- Malarkey or not?

"A hair of the dog that bit you."

This remedy calls for having a drink the next morning for relief of a hangover. It is recommended that you have whatever you were drinking the night before, although a bloody mary is a common substitute.

Malarkey? No. When you wake up after drinking, you're coming off the effects of a mild overdose of a depressant. Having a drink helps to ease the symptoms, and a bloody mary contains lots of vitamins your body desperately needs. Unfortunately, you are merely putting off the side effects temporarily.

"Don't mix you liquors." or "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear."

This pokey old rhyme portends of bad things to come if mixing booze or if beer is consumed before liquor.

Malarkey? No. Mixing different types of alcohol makes it more difficult for your body to process congeners, because it your body has to identify and neutralize more varieties of congeners.

Carbonation speeds the absorption of alcohol, so drinking beer then liquor would cause the liquor to be absorbed at a faster rate than it would normally.

Plus, people tend to drink liquor faster than beer, which is more filling. So, switching to liquor from beer is likely to speed up your rate of liquor consumption after you're already halfway towards being in the bag.

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