The 6 Most Surprising Ways Alcohol Is Actually Good for You

#3. Alcohol Makes You Smarter

Ah, we stand corrected. According to the British Medical Journal, regularly drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can actually have a positive effect on your cognitive ability, keeping you safe from later onset brain disease and correctly determining a 15 percent gratuity on your bar tab.

Participants in this study who had about 30 drinks per week performed better on logic and mathematical reasoning tests than those who drank very little or nothing at all. They even scored better on short term memory evaluations, which is supposed to be the first thing to go once you start slinging back highballs.

"Wait, how did salsa get in my mustache? And why am I surrounded by douchebags?"

Granted, the studies don't mention the potency of the alcohol being consumed, and also point out that drinking too much alcohol can damage the shit out of your brain and even lead to dementia in some cases (which we're assuming you already knew). But combine those brain-flexing test results with this Italian study that suggests alcohol consumption reduces the risk of death by any cause (which we assume includes both "cancer" and "bear attacks"), and that bottle of Southern Comfort suddenly becomes the goddamn Super Soldier Serum. This effectively makes Prohibition a supervillain.

Ladies, you really settled on the wrong bargaining chip.

#2. Alcohol is a Poison Antidote

For the sake of argument, let's say you drank some antifreeze.

The sake of argument looks a lot like Suburban Commando.

The ingredient in antifreeze that makes it work is called ethylene glycol. When you ingest it, you experience symptoms such as vomiting and severe diarrhea, paranoia, dementia and intense hallucinations. Eventually, the glycol gets turned into calcium oxylate and forms small, needle shaped crystals that shred your kidneys to pieces. Typically, this kills you.

It's time to call Poison Control, and for the first time in your life you may hear legitimate medical advice that begins with "drink a few shots of vodka and drive yourself to the hospital."

"You can have all the Burnett's you want, but your HMO doesn't cover Grey Goose."

See, the ethanol in that shot you just drank will be digested preferentially by your body, passing the ethylene glycol out of your system in a life-saving stream of pee. The method is so reliable that it's a staple at hospitals, and some even recommend that you mix yourself a screwdriver before you call 911, presumably so they can record the phone call and play it later at an office party.

In an even more amazing turn of events, some Australian doctors hooked up a tourist to an IV drip of cheap liquor when they ran out of medicinal alcohol, treating him with the equivalent of three drinks an hour for three days to wash the ethylene out of his body. This was presumably suggested after one of the doctors saw a rerun of MacGyver on the break room television while drinking from a hip flask.

#1. Alcohol Can Help You Lose Weight

As with "whiskey dick," the term "beer gut" exists for a reason. A can of beer has 160 calories, basically like eating most of a candy bar with each one you down. But once again there is a magical amount that miraculously has the opposite effect.

In a massive study of 37,000 people, the thinnest people were not the non-drinkers. It was the people who had a few drinks a week (any more than one a day and you start to go the opposite direction). Not surprisingly, the occasional binge-drinkers were the fattest.

Why? It's not clear, as it appears to be tied more to the person's habits than any magical fat-burning qualities on the part of alcohol. Maybe people who can moderate themselves around alcohol are also good at moderating themselves around food? Maybe people who refuse to drink replace it with food (that is, they celebrate special occasions by going out to eat rather than getting drunk)? Whatever the reason, moderation wins again, even beating abstinence.

For women, the results are even more dramatic. Studies have shown that women who consume more than one drink a day are 70 percent more likely to avoid obesity (unless you're already overweight, in which case you will only get fatter). Men don't see anywhere near those results.

The reason for this is still not clear but some experts suggest it could be as simple as drinking alcohol instead of eating actual food, which women are statistically more likely to do.

After correcting for the Charlie Sheen variant.

Women and men also metabolize alcohol differently, so what results in an energy balance in men actually translates into a net loss for women, costing their bodies more effort to metabolize it. This means that at the end of the night, those calories are used up more efficiently than if you didn't drink, regardless of whether or not they ended up in the toilet or the back of a cab. So your next trip out to the bar could potentially qualify as a full-blown workout.

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How else can you ruin your child's life? We thought you'd never ask; check out 6 Slacker Behaviors That Science Says Are Good For You and 7 Incredible Ways Sports Improved (And Even Saved) Lives.

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