July 7, 2014
New Tool Tells You How Much Alcohol Is In Your Favorite Cocktail
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe online
Last month, redOrbit reported on the breakdown of alcohol consumption on a state-by-state and city-by-city level and discovered some very interesting and unexpected statistics. That study was based on data collected from the personal breathalyzer product put out by San Francisco-based BACTrack.That study was only possible because each participant, individuals who had purchased the BACTrack product and linked it to their geo-enabled cellphone, had already consumed alcoholic beverages. A new alcohol calculation tool has recently been unveiled by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which aims to educate drinkers on the alcoholic content and strengths of their preferred beverages before imbibing.
India's Zee News, reporting on the new effort by the NIAAA, pointed out the calculator is “supposed to be used as an educational guide only, and consumers should be aware that bars and restaurants will have slightly different recipes for making the cocktails that the calculator presents.” This is important to keep in mind for the frequent or even casual drinker who repeatedly visits the same watering hole. Chances are if your bartender recognizes you they pour with a heavier hand.
According to the NIAAA's own site, everyone going out for happy hour or a night out on the town are urged to practice restraint, limiting themselves to no more than one standard drink per hour. “Note that it takes about two hours for the adult body to completely break down a single drink,” the site cautions. “Stay within low-risk levels: For men, no more than four standard drinks on any day (and 14 per week), and for women, no more than three on any day (and 7 per week).”
Why the disparity between consumption models for men and women? Well, according to drinksmarter.org, the physical differences between men and women are significant enough that alcohol affects women far faster than it does men. For instance, on average, healthy women have approximately 10 percent more body fat than men. Alcohol cannot be absorbed by body fat which means the effects of alcohol are considerably more concentrated as they surge through a typically smaller system.
While arguments could certainly be made for the deleterious health effects of alcohol consumption, such as liver damage, weight gain, long-term brain impairment and depression among many others, perhaps one very important benefit from better understanding the judgment-impairing beverage you are about to consume would be a decrease in the amount of drinkers who choose to drive drunk or even mildly impaired. According to MADD.org, statistics for the most recent period available showed a national increase in drunk driving deaths on American roads and highways between 2011 and 2012 of 4.6 percent.
The NIAAA developed their alcohol content calculation tool, I'm certain, with the best of intentions. However, after toying with it for just a few moments, it really felt more a novelty than a tool that will be able to effectively educate drinkers to modify their habits and moderate their overall intake. Perhaps information gleaned from the tool will help those who were previously unaware of just how much they were imbibing.
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