‘Beer before liquor, never been sicker’ myth explained: Real Talk with Shelly & Ted

Shelly Sloan is the Health Promotion Coordinator and Ted Winkworth is the Alcohol and Other Drug Program Coordinator. You can find them at The Lifestyles Center in Walker Health Center. Shelly received her master’s degree in community health education and is a certified in health education specialist. Ted received his master’s degree in counseling and is also a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor.


Dear Shelly and Ted,

Do I have any health issues to worry about if I start using chewing tobacco?


Lovely Lippy Lump


Dear Lovely Lippy Lump,

I’m just going to put myself out there and say it: chewing tobacco is really gross. I do not have any hard statistics but I feel like if I go out on the street and ask 100 people if they think that it is gross, 99 of them will say yes. The stuff smells and it requires you to spit tobacco juice into an old soda bottle. Yes, there are health risks, namely cancer. Everyone I know who is missing a tongue or a jaw are former (and some current) tobacco chewers. And let’s not forget the fact that it is intentionally filled with fiberglass to cut your lip open (so more nicotine can get into your blood stream). In the words of my friend Keith, “Look at your life. Look at your choices.” My suggestion is to just quit. Chewing tobacco will not be allowed on campus after we go tobacco free in January of 2014. Best to head to Mary Walker and start working on quitting now.



Dear Shelly and Ted,

Is there truth to the saying “beer before liquor makes you sicker, liquor before beer you are in the clear?”


In the Clear


Dear In the Clear,

This saying, while clever, is unfortunately a myth. The reason people believe in it is due to the fact that a person who has already been drinking beer is more likely to be feeling saucy and line up too many shots at the bar later in the evening. In that case, the rhyme will hold true. The second part, “liquor before beer and you’re in the clear” could potentially be true if someone takes a couple of shots to grab a buzz and then slowly drinks beer for the rest of the night to maintain it, but often people who pregame with liquor will go overboard and end up getting sick anyway. A better rhyme would be liquor makes you sicker. The order does not really matter too much.



Dear Shelly and Ted,

My roommates and I seem to always get our periods at the same time. Is there a reason why females that live together have their menstrual cycles synchronize?




Dear NSync,

Many people believe this, however, there is no solid evidence out there that proves this is true (or not true, for that matter). Think about it—some women may go longer in between cycles than others and some have longer periods then others. Add in the fact that stress, diet and exercise can also affect the menstrual cycle, so who knows if it is actually true or not. People who think that this theory is true often believe that it has something to do with pheromones, which are chemical signals that a person releases that could affect others by behavior or development (like attraction–or in this instance, a menstrual cycle).



If you have a question, you can submit anonymously at www.lifestylecenter.net/RealTalk or send a Direct Message on Twitter @LSC_Oswego

Real Talk contributions by Peer Educators: Elsaa Batista, Jillian Bergemann, Halie Bloom, Kyle DeCarr, Julie Jacques and Racheal Richardson

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