You Drink More Than You Think


A new study has confirmed everything we know about our drinking: that we lie to people about it.

…Researchers surveyed over 40,000 people with standard alcohol survey questions about their quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption — “How many drinks have you had in the past month?” and so on. But in a smart twist, they then asked a more immediate question: “How many drinks did you have yesterday?” This method is useful for detecting under-reporting because of the improbabilities it reveals.

For example, if a person who said they only have one drink a month also said they had a drink the night before, you can easily surmise that person is lying. The study used that method to extrapolate out the likelihood that others were lying as well.

What’s interesting, though, is that the group least likely to lie about their consumption is heavy drinkers. Light drinkers were 79% more likely to claim they drank less than they actually did. Heavy drinkers, defined as 30 or more drinks a week, were only 50% likely to lie.

Alcohol. It keeps you honest. Sort of.