The 1973 classic "White Lightning" (Burt Reynolds plays convicted moonshine runner Gator McKlusky) shows how the renegade appeal of pure grain alcohol is woven into North America's cultural history. Today's 190-proof white lightning (sold as Everclear; 95.6 percent ethanol alcohol and 4.4 percent water) still is a dangerous drink and an unfortunate college campus favorite, particularly in Jell-O Shots and Kool-Aid flavored Jungle Juice.
It takes just a few ounces of these drinks to raise your blood alcohol to dangerous levels. Your liver can process only about a half-ounce of alcohol/ethanol an hour (that's 1 ounce of a 100-proof drink). The rest stays in your blood, dulling and confusing brain and body. Then, suddenly you're very drunk, and you've become a hazard to those around you and yourself. That's why Maryland has been the latest to join 14 other states in banning the sale of white lightning. More states and municipalities sign on every year.
So, if you're looking to blow off steam from hours of studying or contemplating the size of your college loans, you'll do a lot better if you use sports and physical activity to relieve stress. It'll let your brain cells survive. Then, if you're 21 or older, enjoy the benefits of one (for gals) or two (for guys) drinks. One recent study of healthy folks older than 90 found one thing they all had in common: They still enjoyed a glass of wine (it's only about 12 percent to 14 percent alcohol) almost every day.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.