Does Drinking Alcohol Really Keep You Warm When It's Cold Out?

Joe Robbins / Getty
Joe Robbins / Getty

Daven Hiskey runs the wildly popular interesting fact website Today I Found Out. To subscribe to his “Daily Knowledge” newsletter, click here.

Here's something tailgaters, ice skaters, skiers and other cold weather fans might want to keep in mind: Drinking boozy beverages will make you feel warmer, but it doesn't actually keep you warm or prevent hypothermia. Instead, drinking alcohol lowers the core temperature of your body.

According to Dr. William Haynes, director of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Iowa, “Consumption of alcohol undoes many of the human body’s healthy reflexes, one of which is keeping the core body temperature warm in cold weather.” It doesn’t even take that much for this effect to kick in—just one alcoholic drink will start the process that results in a lowered core body temperature.

How does alcohol do this, and why does drinking alcohol make you feel warmer, even though you actually are getting colder?

You Booze, You Lose (Heat)

Alcohol is a vasodilator. It causes your blood vessels to dilate, particularly the capillaries just under the surface of your skin. When you have a drink, the volume of blood brought to the skin’s surface increases, making you feel warm. (That dilation is why slightly or exceedingly intoxicated people look flushed.) This overrides one of your body’s defenses against cold temperatures: Constricting your blood vessels, thereby minimizing blood flow to your skin in order to keep your core body temperature up.

Someone enjoying a drink in the cold may feel warmer from the extra blood warming his skin, but that blood will rapidly cool thanks to the chill in the air. Plus, the warmth caused by blood rushing to the skin will also make him sweat, decreasing his core temperature even further. The rapid drop often occurs without the drinker realizing it, because his skin will still feel fairly warm, which makes it doubly dangerous to drink alcohol in extremely cold weather. (You might want to put down the coffee, too; caffeine has a similar effect.)

The Big Chill

This isn’t the only bad thing about drinking alcohol in the cold. According to a study done by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, drinking alcohol in chilly weather also reduces the body’s ability and tendency to shiver, taking away yet another method your body uses to help keep warm when it is cold.

Bottom line? The age-old practice of drinking alcoholic beverages to keep the body warm in cold weather is the exact opposite of what you should do.

Fargo Brewing Company's New Beer Cans Feature Adoptable Shelter Dogs

Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images
Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images

There are worse ways to sell a product than by slapping cute pet pictures on the packaging. At first glance, it may seem like that was the strategy behind Fargo Brewing Company's new beer cans, which feature real dogs on the labels. But the pictures are meant to do more than move beer off the shelf. Each can showcases a real shelter dog that's up for adoption, and by sharing their photographs, the North Dakota beer company hopes to help these puppers find their forever families, WTSP reports.

Jerad Ryan, a volunteer at the nonprofit 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, got the idea while working his day job at Northern Plains Label. Part of the company's business comes from printing labels for local breweries. Instead of just sticking their own logo on the can, Ryan wondered if breweries would be open to sharing that real estate with shelter dogs in need of homes.

4 Luv of Dog Rescue has since partnered with Fargo Brewing Company to make that plan a reality. Six rescue dogs—Nyx, Bizzy, Jensen, Hobie, Moby, and Virginia—have been chosen to have their faces featured on select cans of Fargo Original Lager. Each dog is what the shelter calls a "One-der" dog, or a pup that can only be placed in homes with no other pets. This makes them more difficult to adopt, which is why 4 Luv of Dog Rescue felt they would make perfect candidates for the project.

Fargo produced 40 cases of the special beer cans, 25 of which were sold at a special launch event on November 4. The remaining cans will be available for local buyers to purchase through the end of the week, with a portion of the proceeds going to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue.

[h/t WTSP]

ALDI’s Wine Advent Calendar Will Soon Be Here for the Holidays

Aldi
Aldi

Getting candy from an Advent calendar is perfectly fine for kids, but adults may be craving something a little more sophisticated for the holidays. This wine Advent calendar from ALDI gives you a new reason to celebrate every day leading up to Christmas.

According to Delish, ALDI's Advent calendar was a huge success when it originally rolled out in U.S. locations at the end of 2018. The hit product is returning for the 2019 holiday season, and festive wine connoisseurs can pick up one starting November 6 at ALDI stores that sell alcohol.

For $70, you get a box containing 24 mini-bottles of vino that come from various countries around the world, including South Africa and Australia. And whether you prefer your wine red or white, dry or sweet, sparkling or still, there's a bottle that fits your tastes.

This wine variety pack from ALDI is just one example of the many creative Advent calendars made with grownups in mind. If you prefer to get in the holiday spirit with a can of craft beer, there's a calendar for that, too: It's available from Costco for $10 less than ALDI's wine version.

[h/t Delish]

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