Remember the first time you went to the health center freshman year? When they asked you how much you drank weekly, you fudged the answer and told them four drinks, when in reality, you had four drinks during just one pregame. Then, for the next four years, they asked you if the number was the same and you always smiled politely. Well, apparently lying about the number of drinks you have is a reality for everyone, not just scared freshman.
One of the main problems with alcohol research is that when people are asked about their personal drinking habits, it almost never adds up to the amount of alcohol sold. Understandable, as when I try to mentally recap what I drank the night before, I either forget a good number of beverages or start profusely vomiting. Memories of tequila will do that to a girl.
A new study in the journal Addiction (sounds hardcore) gives us clues about where all that leftover liquor is going. The researchers surveyed more than 40,000 people, using the usual alcohol survey questions about how much they drink and how often. Then, in an attempt to get the real deets, they asked them how many drinks they had yesterday. This sneak attack let the researchers see who was truly drinking. For example, if someone is really a once-a-month drinker (maybe a teetotaler) then he or she probably shouldn’t have had an adult beverage on a randomly selected, recent day.
Oddly enough, the heaviest drinkers remembered the amount most accurately, proving that, like bacon, drinking is good for you. The liars were mostly the low-risk drinkers who underreported in a serious way. Men and women were equally awful, so no sexism there.
This study shows that other research on alcohol consumption is probably wrong, because people are lying liars. It’s also an issue because it means people might not actually know how much they’re drinking, which equals bad decisions, especially when it comes to driving. So, next time you’re throwing back hunch punch at the frat party of your dreams, keep in mind that even Ke$ha went to rehab eventually.
[via NY Magazine]