Are Beer Goggles Real?

Aug 17, 2011 12:01 pm

Do people get more attractive after you drink beer?

photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yersinia/">Yersinia</a> on Flickr
photo: Yersinia on Flickr
The Food Scientist turns to the important topic of beer goggles.
 

What are beer goggles?
The term “beer goggles” is used to describe the short-term effect of moderate drinking that causes, “physically unattractive persons (or objects) to appear beautiful,” according to Urban Dictionary. Beer goggles may not stand up to the merits of medicine as a legitimate ailment. Nonetheless, impaired judgment and the effects of alcohol on the body (and mind) are conditions worth discussing to shed light on this frequently used slang term.

What causes beer goggles?
When it comes to alcohol, the effects generally begin with the first drink, regardless of tolerance. Almost immediately, the effects of ethanol — the "active" ingredient in every can of beer, glass of wine or shot of tequila —can be sensed by the human brain. By affecting the activity of the neurotransmitter Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) — the inhibitory chemical responsible for controlling excitability — ethanol puts the mind in a soothed, sedated state. What does this have to do with beer goggles and your vision? Like I said, GABA affects more than one area of the brain, including the occipital lobe, which is responsible for vision and visual perception. When the occipital lobe is under the influence, what you see — or what you think you see — is not always what you get. The more you drink, the greater the effects.

Possible Side effects
Blurred or affected vision and mistaken beauty aren’t the only downfalls of alcohol consumption. Other parts of the brain responsible for controlling motor functions — such as walking, reaction time and memory retention — are equally afflicted by one too many pints of ale. As always, drink responsibly and try to keep your wits about you.


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