THE impact of alcohol on the human body has been extensively tested on Portsmouth’s university students, ahead of a documentary that is airing tonight.
The fifth episode of Channel 4’s series Food Unwrapped airs at 8pm, with a feature on whether drinking alcohol really can keep you warm.
In the programme, Professor Mike Tipton from the university’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science will be testing the theory of ‘beer jackets’ – the idea that drinking alcohol can affect a person’s body temperature.
Professor Tipton, who has worked at the university for more than 20 years, said: ‘What alcohol does is increase the blood flow to the skin, making you feel much warmer.
‘It’s called a beer jacket because the warm feeling is as if you have a coat on.’
As part of the experiments, enthusiastic students were asked to feel the effect that different types of alcohol had on their body temperature.
‘There was one experiment where the students had to take seven shots of vodka,’ said Professor Tipton ‘so as you can imagine I was inundated with volunteers.
‘The reality is that different tolerances and different alcohols have a varying impact on the blood flow, especially to areas that feel flushed like the face.’
But does it actually make you warmer?
The answer, says Professor Tipton, is quite simple – no.
He said: ‘All the blood flow does is trick you into thinking you’re warmer than you actually are.
‘It’s something we have been studying for years, so to now have it broadcast as part of a documentary is fantastic.
‘This programme will reach more people in one night than I could in a whole decade of teaching.’
The programme will start at 8pm tonight, and will be available on Channel 4’s on-demand service afterwards.