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3 Beer Myths That Won't Go Away

3 Beer Myths That Won't Go Away

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Today’s beer drinkers demand more than the thin, yellow lagers from the giant multi-national breweries. They are better informed and have a more developed palate than ever before, and the craft beer industry has been happy to grow along with the surging ranks of beer fans. However, there are many pervasive myths and misconceptions about every aspect of beer that refuse to go away. Let’s take a look at some of the most heinous falsities and set the record straight on dark beers, proper serving and storage temperature, and the damage done by years of beer advertisements.

Myth: You Can Judge a Beer by Its Color

Some of the most prevalent myths about beer surround dark beers. Beliefs range from dark beers being "heavier," or that they’re higher in alcohol, or that they have more calories, or that dark beers are ales while light beers are lagers. All of those things are false, and the only thing that you can assume when looking at a dark beer is that it was probably made with more dark malts and it might have a more roasted flavor profile than a lighter beer.

There’s no telling how these myths began, but the idea that a dark beer is "heavier" than a light beer, or that dark beers are akin to a "meal in a glass" might be traced back to many people’s first experience with a dark beer: Guinness Draught.

The idea that the heavy body of the stout will fill you up faster and add inches to your waistline — the "liquid bread" effect — is false. Guinness is, ounce-for-ounce, lighter than most other beers! A pint of the Irish ale clocks in at around 170 calories, while a 16-ounce serving of an American lager like Coors or Bud is around 200 calories. The confusion likely comes from the full and silky mouthfeel of the stout. The brewery uses oats in the brewing and nitrogen gas in the packaging of the stout, and both contribute to the rich and creamy impression that the beer leaves on your tongue.

Likewise, a beer’s color has no correlation with its strength; Guinness is also only around 4 percent alcohol-by-volume. Dark lagers can be brewed just as easily as a dark ale; keep an eye out for Uinta’s Baba Black Lager, a traditional German Schwarzbier, or even Guinness’s own Black Lager for examples of lager beers that are light in body but not in color.

Click here to find the other two beer myths.

— John Verive, Beer of Tomorrow

6 Myths about Drinking and Driving

We’d make our roads a lot safer if we could separate drinking and driving altogether. But no one’s been able to do that. The words seem to go together – you hear them on the news and in conversation all the time.

One of the reasons drunk driving is still with us is that people believe they are exempt from the consequences. They believe “facts” – in reality persistent myths – that convince them they’re in shape to get behind the wheel. Check out the most common myths about drinking and driving – are you aware that they’re false?

1. Coffee Will Sober You Up

Coffee has no effect on the alcohol in your system. If you’re tired, as you might be after an evening of partying, a coffee will wake you up a bit. But you’ll just be a wide-awake drunk.

2. It’s Just Beer (or Wine)

Whether it’s beer, wine, or the hard stuff, alcohol is alcohol. To get drunk, you might have to drink more volume with beer than whiskey, but you’ll still be impaired. A 12-ounce beer equals a shot of whiskey or a glass of wine.

3. Drive Slowly and You’ll Make it Home

Drinking and then driving slowly home is just asking for trouble. First, slow drivers are dangerous on roads. Second, police officers know to stop drivers who are driving slowly precisely because they fit the profile of an impaired driver. Slow or not, if you’ve been drinking you’re in no shape to handle a vehicle.

4. You’re An Experienced Driver – You’ll Be OK

Even one drink is enough to reduce the judgment and reflexes of an experienced driver.

5. If You Eat Before Drinking, You’re Good to Go

Eating can slow the absorption of alcohol, but it doesn’t prevent it. And since you don’t feel the alcohol’s effects as quickly, you might end up drinking more.

6. Splash Cold Water and Open Up a Car Window

Cold water and air make you feel more alert for a moment, but the effects fade fast. Only time can remedy the effects of alcohol.

It’s easy to see why these myths won’t go away: it’s convenient to believe them. They absolve drivers of the responsibility of calling a taxi, or designating a driver, or otherwise making arrangements.

But it’s important that you know that they are myths. Alcohol, when mixed with driving, can kill. That’s no myth.

Treating Mild Diarrhea Without Medication

In some cases, taking an antidiarrheal drug will slingshot you from water stools straight to constipation, an equally unpleasant event. To this end, try these helpful home remedies to treat a mild bout of diarrhea without the use of pills.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

One of the biggest problems with diarrhea, and what leads many people to the emergency room, is dehydration. Diarrhea causes the body to lose a lot of water and electrolytes (like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) it needs to function normally. If not treated appropriately, dehydration can become dangerous, especially in young children.  

To manage a mild bout of diarrhea, you will need to replenish fluids and electrolytes (salts) lost. Drink plenty of water, clear juices, clear broths, or an electrolyte-rich sports drink.  

There are also things you should avoid when you have a bout of diarrhea. Avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, prune juice, sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol, all of which have a laxative effect. It is also a good idea to avoid dairy products.  

Young children and babies with diarrhea should be given pediatric rehydration drinks, marketed under such brand names as Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or Gastrolyte. Breastfed infants should continue to breastfeed. Children should continue with their regular diet, plus rehydrating fluids, rather than be put on a restrictive diet.  

If you want to avoid the artificial colorings or flavorings used in some commercial rehydration drinks, you can make a homemade rehydration drink using only salt, sugar, and water.   You can also purchase oral rehydration salts over the counter at most drugstores. Follow the preparation instructions as too much salt can be harmful, especially to children.

Eat a Bland Diet

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that research shows it doesn't help to follow a restrictive diet to treat diarrhea, although there are foods to avoid and foods that are better tolerated.  

The BRAT diet was a commonly-recommended food plan for easing digestive distress. It is comprised of four bland, low-fiber foods that will help to firm up stools: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.   Bananas are especially useful as they help restore any potassium lost through diarrhea.

Other bland, easy-to-digest foods can be added to as the diarrhea symptoms begin to resolve, including baked skinless chicken breasts, oatmeal, baked potatoes, and chicken soup with saltines. Avoid foods and beverages that cause gas, such as carbonated drinks, beans, cucumbers, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables.

If diarrhea lasts more than a couple of days, check the foods that you are eating. Diarrhea can be exacerbated by foods high in fiber (such as bran, whole grains, and brown rice) as well as greasy foods or those sweetened with sorbitol.

Use Probiotics

Taking probiotics in food or supplement form might help shorten a mild bout of diarrhea.   Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are beneficial to your digestive system.

Diarrhea can cause you to lose a lot of the healthy bacteria in your stomach and intestines. Probiotics (which include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria and Saccharomyces boulardii yeast) can quickly replace these protective microorganisms and help restore normal bowel function. This is especially true with S. boulardii which exerts powerful antidiarrheal effects.  

While dairy products should be avoided during diarrhea, yogurt or kefir with live probiotic bacteria are extremely beneficial. Other natural probiotic sources include fermented foods like miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, aged soft cheeses, cottage cheese, green olives, sourdough bread, and tempeh.

While kimchi is often cited as a "super-probiotic," it contains hot spices that may worsen diarrhea.

Side effects of probiotics, whether in food or supplement form, tend to be mild and may include an upset stomach, bloating, and gas.

6 Common Atrial Fibrillation Myths — Busted!

Butterflies in the stomach can signal excitement or nervousness, but fluttering in the chest can signal a short circuit in the heart’s natural electrical wiring called arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common arrhythmia, is an off-speed rhythm in the heart’s upper chambers.

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Afib may be linked to conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, chronic lung disease or just part of the aging process, among others. But in 10% of cases, Afib isn’t associated with any other disease.

Afib can cause heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, chest discomfort and shortness of breath. However, up to 30% of Afib episodes cause no symptoms at all. Electrophysiologist Walid Saliba, MD, addresses some common myths about Afib:

Myth #1: If you had just one or two episodes of Afib, it probably won’t come back.

Fact: Atrial fibrillation is almost always a recurring disease and lifelong treatment is needed to minimize symptoms and to avoid stroke and heart failure. Early on, episodes of Afib tend to be sporadic and self terminating. These are called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

“Over time, episodes usually become more frequent and last longer,” says Dr. Saliba. “Up to 30% of Afib episodes cause no symptoms at all, but treatment is still needed to prevent stroke in high risk patients.”

Treatment include lifestyle changes, medicine, procedures or surgery. Talk to your cardiologist to find the best treatment for you.

Myth #2: Cardioversion can stop Afib for good.

Fact: Electrical cardioversion can “shock” the heart back to normal rhythm, but it does not guarantee that normal rhythm will be maintained. Medication or ablation may be needed to maintain normal heart rhythm and minimize the risk of recurrence of the arrhythmia.

“Up to three types of medication are used in combination to treat Afib: those that control heart rate, such as beta blockers anti-arrhythmic drugs to help maintain normal rhythm and anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke,” says Dr. Saliba.

Sometimes, a pacemaker is used to treat the slow heart beat that results from using these medications to treat Afib. However, the pacemaker by itself does not convert or help maintain normal rhythm.

Myth #3: Your medicine isn’t working if you still get episodes of Afib.

Fact: Medication will not cure Afib, but it will relieve symptoms by decreasing the frequency and duration of episodes. Reducing someone’s episodes from frequent to occasional is considered adequate treatment as long as the symptoms don’t trouble them. However, medications tend to become less effective over time and when that happens, other treatment modalities such as catheter ablation is more likely to help.

Myth #4: Catheter ablation won’t help you if it doesn’t take the first time.

Fact: Catheter ablation uses radiofrequency (heat) energy or cryoenergy (intense cold) to interrupt faulty electrical pathways in the heart. Sometimes more than one catheter ablation procedure is needed to get the desired result.

“The success rate of 70 to 80% after one catheter ablation goes up to 90% after a second or third one if there is no underlying heart disease,” says Dr. Saliba. “When Afib is chronic or when there is underlying heart disease and the heart’s upper chambers (atria) are usually severely enlarged, maze surgery or Hybrid procedure (which includes surgery and ablation) may be recommended.”

Myth #5: If ablation works, you can stop taking blood thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin®) or other newer anticoagulants.

Fact: The decision to continue or stop anticoagulation depends upon the risk factors for stroke in each individual patient rather than on the success of the ablation.

Doctors calculate stroke risk in patients with Afib using a formula called the CHA₂DS₂-VASc Score. This score is based on the following risk factors:

  • Age >65 = 1 point
  • Gender Female = 1 point
  • Congestive heart failure = 1 point.
  • Hypertension = 1 point.
  • Age over 75 = 1 point.
  • Diabetes = 1 point.
  • A past stroke = 2 points.
  • Vascular Disease = 1 point

“Sometimes, a patient has a history of bleeding and cannot take long term blood thinners,” says Dr. Saliba. “In such patients, a procedure to occlude the left atrial appendage (LAA: an outpocketing of the left atrium where clots tend to form in atrial fibrillation) with a special device is recommended. This can reduce the risk of stroke without the need for long term blood thinners.”

Myth #6: If you take medication for Afib and no longer have symptoms, you’re cured.

Fact: Afib cannot be totally cured.

“Ablation or surgery offers the closest possible symptom relief,” says Dr. Saliba. “Although there is no rush to undergo ablation if you are doing well on medication, it offers the alternative to stop the medication, especially if a patient is experiencing side effects. Ablation is safe even for patients in their 60s and 70s.”

Episodes of Afib can be triggered by stress, sleep apnea, alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Your cardiologist will be able to answer any concerns you may have. Meanwhile, to minimize symptoms of Afib and to improve heart health, it’s important to make a few lifestyle changes:

3 Beer Myths That Won't Go Away - Recipes

We've been writing extensively about A5 Wagyu to give you some background on the Japanese beef and its well-earned reputation for rich marbling. One thing that's become increasingly evident in the course of our research and travels to Japan is the fact that there's a scary amount of myths out there about A5 Wagyu from Japan.

So we thought we'd do some mythbusting.

SHOP: Kobe Beef from Hyogo, Japan

Japan's iconic, luxurious beef is here — the one and only Kobe Beef

Wagyu is banned in the U.S.

It's true that Wagyu DNA and live animals are permanently banned for export from Japan, but the meat is not. Sometimes there's confusion because there was a ban on the meat for a while, too, but it ended in 2012 when exports resumed.

However, meat is still regulated under a strict quota and tariff system. You can only buy Japanese Wagyu in the U.S. in extremely limited supply.

As for live animals, there was a blip in the permanent ban between 1975 and 1997, when Japan did allow the export of a handful of animals. Those first few cattle began the seed stock of various breeding programs in the U.S. and beyond. That's why you might hear -- and rightly so -- that there are Fullblood Wagyu or Purebred Wagyu in the U.S. In fact, there are 26,000 of them (or 0.029% of the total 89.9 million cattle in the nation), and they all have to meet standards set by the American Wagyu Association.

The takeaway is this: 100% (by DNA) Wagyu animals are incredibly rare in the U.S. Authentic Wagyu beef from Japan is rarer.

American Kobe is cheap-ish and everywhere. I should just buy that for the real Japanese beef experience!

First, Kobe and Wagyu aren't the same thing. We wrote a blog post on the distinction.

Second, the term "American Kobe" is a total crapshoot, and in most cases when you encounter it on a menu at your favorite burger joint, unfortunately means nothing. It's most certainly not real Kobe beef, which, according to our research, has only ever been served at 9 restaurants in the U.S. (as of July 2016), including the Wynn in Las Vegas, where it's featured for $880 per pound. Not a typo.

Part of the reason this abuse of the term and marketing confusion has been able to go on so long is the price-prohibitiveness of Wagyu beef (the category into which Kobe falls, since both Kobe and A5 Wagyu beef arise from the Kuroge Washu Wagyu breed). Going for between $200 and $250 a pound at Japanese department stores and on Amazon Japan, few people are buying it. As a result, information about Wagyu beef from Japan is scarce.

The more information that's put out there about Japanese Wagyu, the more likely it is those mis-labelings and marketing sleight-of-hands will get brought into the light. Keep reading and writing, Wagyu devotees!

If it's labeled "Wagyu", and it's from Japan, you're getting highly marbled, legendary beef.

Not necessarily. The term "Wagyu" (和牛) just means "Japanese Cow". That's the literal translation. There are four Wagyu breeds that are native to Japan, only one of which deserves much of a reputation for being "special." It's called Kuroge Washu.

Only Kuroge Washu Wagyu are genetically predisposed to the fine-grained intramuscular marbling that's made Japanese beef so famous. All "Kobe Beef" and other top luxury beef brands in Japan are derived exclusively from Kuroge Washu.

It's common for opportunistic importers to sell one of the less valuable breeds -- or even a non-native breed, which falls under the umbrella term Kokusan-gyu (国産牛) -- and label is as "Wagyu" in the U.S. They get a huge markup by (falsely) applying the Wagyu brand, after all. But it's a total ripoff to the consumer, because no other Japanese breed but Kuroge Washu can achieve A4 or A5 rank.

If it's labeled "Wagyu" and it's from a farm in the USA, you're getting incredibly marbled, exceptional beef.

More often than not, you're getting a pretty ordinary beef, or a cross-breed between Wagyu DNA and something else, like Angus.

Like I said above, only 0.029% of the total U.S. cattle count of 89.9 million qualifies as Fullblood or Purebred Wagyu (which are defined, by the way, as animals whose DNA are traceable to Japanese native breeds at 100% pure or above 93.75% pure, respectively). So it makes good sense that the $26 "Wagyu" hamburger you bought is not actually likely to be from one of those animals.

Instead, you're probably chomping into a cross-breed, whose DNA percentages are not monitored or enforced -- by anyone. Sometimes you'll see, "F1" which means 50% Wagyu by DNA (i.e., the first cross between Wagyu and something else, like Angus), but again, that's a voluntary and unregulated labeling program. The most likely scenario when you get a "Wagyu" hamburger at a restaurant, you're eating meat that has only trace amounts of Wagyu DNA from somewhere far up its family tree.

In Japan, Wagyu cattle are hand-massaged while having beer and sake funneled down their throats, as Mozart plays in the background.

We asked all our producers this very question, and a few of them laughed at us. All unequivocally agreed that it's just a rumor that won't go away.

The cattle do, however, get their hair brushed, and this may be where the "massage" rumor originated. And I guess we can't vouch for every single cattle rancher in Japan when we say cows never receive an alcoholic boost from time to time. Feed programs among the top Wagyu farmers tend to be closed guarded secrets, so I guess anything is possible. It's not within the norm, though, our producers assure us. For their part, beer and sake is reserved for the farm staff.

The reason Wagyu is so marbled is because the animals are force-fed.

Nope, again.

We've been there to observe the feeding programs at the ranches we've partnered with, and we can unequivocally say there's no force-feeding at any of the farms we work with, ever.

The minimization of animal stress is actually a hallmark of Japanese cattle-raising, and there's a simple business logic to this: Force-feeding cattle would lead to unhealthy animals and poor-quality meat.

Ruminal acidosis (a condition that can occur if the pH of the cow's stomach changes) can be triggered by excessive feeding, and leads to -- at minimum -- high animal stress, and sometimes causes death. The farms we're working with proudly talk about their practically non-existent incidence of acidosis.

Because of the scarcity of land in Japan, grazing isn't possible and cattle are instead raised in "cowsheds," expansive, open-air barns where they are protected from the elements and can be closely tended to by ranch hands. If you ask any Japanese cattle farmer, this is how it's always been done in Japan, and they're extremely proud of how happy and calm their cows are.

"Film everything," they said.

The standard of cleanliness inside the cowsheds is absolutely pristine. The grounds are routinely cleaned and the soft soil and hay in the sheds are replaced frequently. It's a comfortable place to walk and sleep.

It's all fat! I'm not paying for fat! Where's the beef!?

It's true that A5 Wagyu is among the most marbled beef on the planet, and the fine-grained marbling makes for some of the fattiest beef you can buy.

But it's good fats. One study from the Japan Livestock Industry Association, cited by CNN, says Wagyu has up to 30% more unsaturated fat than Angus cattle. And it's those unsaturated fats that makes Wagyu beef so full of rich, umami goodness -- that elusive fifth "primary taste." They also happen to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

There's a reason that A5 Wagyu from Japan is the most revered steak on the planet -- and it's got everything to do with that fat. So eat up! Enjoy your beautiful, exceptional (and, yes!) fatty A5 Wagyu beef.

Step 2: Making a Yeast Starter

Brewing any ale or beer involves two simple things. Making a strongly flavoured sugary solution (the wort) and then fermenting it with a yeast. Sugar is a preservative and any strong sugar solution can rather ironically inhibit micro-organisms. All this really means is that if you add yeast directly to your wort, it may not do anything. This is not good.

Making a yeast starter minimises this risk. It just means getting your dried yeast started with a dilute sugar solution, until it's frothing away. This allows the yeast to breed and be active enough to get to work on the work.

You can use any weak sugary solution. Just add the dried yeast, cover (to keep vinegar flies out) and leave in a warmish place for at least 2 hours, but preferably 4 or 5. You can add yeast nutrient if you want, but you don't really need to for ale.

After a few hours in the warm, the yeast comes foamily alive. It should be cloudy and visibly moving with all the carbon dioxide being released. At this point it is ready to add to the wort, which will need to be cooled down, before you can add the yeast.

The reason for a yeast starter is to get a strong yeast culture established. At this stage the yeast is both feeding and multiplying. Brewer's yeast needs air to multiply, so do NOT cover it with a tight seal. That increases the amount of oxygen it can access at least a little bit. The more it multiplies, the more likely your ale is to succeed. This is why you don't just plonk the yeast in the wort. It needs to get woken up and to increase the culture. Adding yeast directly usually will eitehr not work or will work so slowly that in the meantime other airborne micro-organisms may get in and cause spoilage.

Even if you are making healthier choices, you may not be eating as many veggies as you need to. "Make half your plate vegetables and/or salad," Danielle Omar, RD, blogger at Food Confidence, told Eat This Not That! Vegetables are nutrient-dense and packed with fiber, which will fill you up without overloading on calories.

Restricting yourself of any indulgences can actually cause your whole diet to backfire. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that calorie-restricting diets can actually lead to long-term weight gain due to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. This fat-storing hormone spikes due to the psychological stress from constantly saying "no" to the dessert you want so badly.

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Does HPV Go Away on Its Own or Does It Stick Around Forever?

If you have HPV, you’re probably wondering: Does HPV go away? And if so, how long does it take for HPV to go away, exactly? Both are valid questions. And the good news is the answers are: usually and it depends.

Here’s the deal: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States around 79 million Americans currently have HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

HPV has a pretty terrifying reputation because it can cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and cancers that affect the throat, mouth, and other parts of the body. But if you find out you have HPV, there’s one good thing to bear in mind: It usually goes away all on its own without ever causing any health problems.

“The vast majority of people with HPV get rid of the virus naturally,” board-certified ob/gyn Antonio Pizarro, M.D., tells SELF. “It is not lethal unless it causes untreated cancer, and it’s very likely to simply go away on its own.” Feel free to pat yourself on the back, because your body can do incredible things. Keep reading to learn what causes HPV, plus how long it takes HPV to go away.

HPV is the collective term for a group of over 100 different viruses, the CDC explains. It’s particularly easy to pass along because it’s hard to protect against. Even if you’re a safe-sex superstar who always uses protection, you can still get and pass HPV.

“The virus isn’t in secretions—it’s in the skin—so it can affect the parts of someone’s genitals that aren’t covered by a condom” or other barrier method, Dr. Pizarro says.

The virus is often asymptomatic, which is why so many people have no idea they have it, Jacques Moritz, M.D., an ob/gyn at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, tells SELF. But even in the absence of symptoms, it can still be passed on, which is part of why it’s so common.

Some types of HPV—usually strains 6 and 11—can result in skin-colored warts that show up in the genital region, including the anus. Around one in 100 sexually active people in the United States currently has genital warts, according to the CDC. This is known as the low-risk kind of HPV because it doesn’t cause cancer.

These warts can be flat, raised, single, or in cauliflower-like clusters. Even if you have them, you won’t necessarily realize it because they can blend into the surrounding skin pretty well. But if you or your gynecologist does discover them, no worries—they can be removed. Your doctor may prescribe medicine, freeze or burn the warts off, or remove them with surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. (However, they may return after the fact.) Sometimes, genital warts disappear all on their own.

Then there are certain high-risk strains of HPV—typically 16 and 18—that can lead to various cancers. HPV is most well-known for causing cervical cancer, which more than 12,000 people with cervices get each year according to the CDC. But it’s also been linked to cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. These strains don’t present with telltale warts, so you wouldn't know you had them unless your doctor tested you for HPV.

Doctors don’t routinely check for HPV in people with cervices under the age of 30 because it would cause a lot of alarm without much payoff. “The thought is that almost all women under 30 years old will have HPV at some point,” Dr. Moritz says. So, instead, doctors use Pap test to test people in this age range for abnormal cervical cell changes that could eventually (like, usually many years down the line) lead to cancer. If you have a normal Pap, you can typically wait for three years to get another one.

Diet and Stress

Eating smaller portions and making low-calorie food choices can reduce your caloric intake and contribute to weight loss. For nutrients, turn to fiber-rich whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, vegetables, lean protein and fruits. Limit sugar and salt, and use unsaturated fats rather than trans and saturated fats. Also, manage stress in your life, as high stress levels trigger the release of cortisol in your body. Experts at the University of New Mexico state that this stress hormone can relocate fat to your stomach and trigger hard-to-control cravings for weight-loss-sabotaging foods.