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The Mylohas site has a suggestion on how to keep warm this winter – top up your bath with some sake

Throwing its hat into the ring with speculation on why sake is becoming more popular with young people (I haven’t seen any figures for this yet), it points to the increased interest in fermented foods and emergence of easy-to-drink styles such as sparkling sake.

It also suggests that sake‘s higher alcohol content means that it takes more courage for those who aren’t good with alcohol to order, instead of wine or beer. (I swear I’m not making this up. Why a few percentage points difference means you have to be “brave” to drink sake rather than wine is beyond me.)

However, you can do more than drink sake: it can allegedly warm you all the way through and make that fuzzy feeling from a warm bath last longer. The article quotes a piece from the Diet Plus site that suggests running a warm bath (37 – 38°C) and adding 2-3 gō (360 – 540 ml) of sake, mixing well and then soaking for about 10 minutes. (It makes all the usual claims about beautiful moisturised skin, which I have yet to see convincing evidence for, plus accelerated metabolism which is a new one.) 

After a brief panic that the vapour generated by the vaporising alcohol may contain alcohol so people who aren’t good with alcohol and anyone feeling unwell must be careful (again, I am not making this up), the article manages to introduce a little bit of science: the warming effect from drinking alcohol comes from the breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde, which dilates blood vessels and improves circulation, leading to a feeling of warmth.

However, what neither article mentions is that this is a temporary effect as blood nears the surface of the skin – where it is quickly lost and eventually lowers core body temperature, leaving you colder in the long run while preventing you from feeling the cold normally. 

The Diet Plus article – while using a lot of weasel words – further claims that sake is said to contain much higher levels of adenosine than other types of alcohol, and that adenosine prevents constriction of blood vessels and therefore improves circulation. (And eases back pain and boosts metabolism, allegedly.)

Adenosine is a vasodilator, but only when administered intravenously. There’s no mention of how it’s supposed to act when added to bath water, and no citations to back up the claim that sake has more adenosine than anything else. (I couldn’t find anything on a cursory search.)


Articles like this really annoy me – there’s a little bit of credible science in it, but the rest is fantastic claims wrapped in vague language. But if you bathe in sake and come out with a transformed skin, skeleton and metabolism, let me know.