By Dyske February 14th, 2013
I recently came across this expression, “Asian glow” or “Asian blush”, and a new supplement called “NoGlo” that prevents it. And, last night, I went to see the opening of the show at Guggenheim Museum featuring a Japanese art collective called Gutai (which, by the way, was quite interesting, but that’s another story), and they had a full bar open to all the guests which naturally included a lot of Asian people. Sure enough, I saw some of their faces glowing red.
We want to believe that race is just a superficial difference but there are certain characteristics that are clearly different by race. Asians are less tolerant of alcohol, and I have been wondering why. I figure evolution must have something to do with it.
I also came cross this article about alcohol reducing the risk of food poisoning, which I had assumed was an urban myth, but it is apparently true; drinking alcohol can kill bacteria in our stomach. This made me ask: Would it be possible that we evolved to like drinking alcohol because those who liked it had a higher rate of survival? That is, the fact that it can kill bacteria is not a fringe benefit, but is the main reason why we developed a taste for it. In other words, those who happen to think alcohol tastes good had a higher rate of survival, so they were more likely to pass on their genes, and their offsprings would share the same taste for alcohol. Perhaps at the beginning of human history, not many people liked alcohol but they were eliminated through food poisoning, and the rest of us survived because we like the taste of alcohol. I contacted Dr. Hanson who wrote the article referrenced above and asked about this, and he agreed that alcohol does provide a benefit for natural selection.
Now back to Asian glow: Why would Asians fall behind in this department? Is it possible that Asians had more advanced knowledge in preventing food contamination? Or, were they generally cleaner? Or, did they have better techniques for preserving food? If you have any theories, please share with me.