Here's why coffee doesn't actually help to sober you up

Coffee won’t actually help you sober up [Photo: Lisa Fotios via Pexels]
Coffee won’t actually help you sober up [Photo: Lisa Fotios via Pexels]

If you need to sober up, you know the drill: a strong cup of coffee should help counteract the effects of one too many Porn Star Martinis.

Or will it?

Because while we hope the caffeine will help us to sober up, scientists have now revealed that chugging the black stuff could actually have very little effect on our drunk state.

On Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped on Monday, professor Tony Moss of London South Bank University told presenter Jimmy Doherty that contrary to popular belief coffee doesn’t help decrease blood alcohol levels.

He suggests that though the caffeine might make you feel more alert, your hand-eye coordination and other motor skills will remain affected by the alcohol in your body.

In order to test out his theory, professor Moss asked five students to take part in a controlled experiment.

Each participant was asked to drink a vodka and tonic containing enough alcohol based on their individual height and weight to make them feel tipsy.

They were then given a simple hand-eye coordination test where they had to guide a metal hoop around a wire without touching it.

Unsurprisingly all of them failed to complete the task.

After drinking a strong cup of coffee, the participants reported feeling more alert but when they attempted the test again they still failed.

Testing their blood alcohol levels with a breathalyser, professor Moss revealed that the participants’ levels hadn’t altered after drinking the coffee.

He went on to say that the only way to sober up after drinking too much alcohol is waiting it out.

“We know from wider research that coffee isn’t an antidote to alcohol,” he said.

“Taking coffee is a stimulant that will reverse that feeling of being slightly tired as your blood alcohol is coming down.

“The only thing that’s going to sober you up in that respect is a bit of time.”

Coffee won’t actually help you sober up [Photo: Stockpic via Pexels]
Coffee won’t actually help you sober up [Photo: Stockpic via Pexels]

According to the NHS, on average, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol. However, this can vary, depending on factors such as your weight, height, how much you’ve eaten, the type and strength of alcohol.

“If you drink a large (250ml) glass of wine, your body takes about three hours to break down the alcohol,” the site continues.

“If you drink one pint of beer, your body takes about two hours to break it down.”

“If you have a few drinks during a night out, it can take many hours for the alcohol to leave your body. The alcohol could still be in your blood the next day.”

It’s not all negative news for coffee lovers though, earlier this year the black stuff was revealed as having the secret benefit of helping people to lose weight.

Apparently, coffee contains ingredients that can boost your metabolism.

Nutritionist Sarah Flowers explained: “Your daily cup of coffee can help boost your metabolic rate, by stimulating thermogenesis, helping you in turn to burn more fat.”

And last year science revealed that drinking three cups of coffee a day could actually help you to live longer.

Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London looked at data from more than 500,000 people in 10 European countries in order to look at the effect of coffee consumption upon the risk of death.

They found that higher levels of coffee consumption were, in fact, linked to a reduced risk of death.

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