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Hangover: ‘Beer before wine, always fine’? Maybe not

Hangover: ‘Beer before wine, always fine’? Maybe not

Hangover: ‘Beer before wine, always fine’? Maybe not

‘Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer’ goes the age-old aphorism. But scientists have now shown that it doesn’t matter how you order your drinks – if you drink too much, you’re still likely to be ill.

European researchers have bad news for those who experience hangovers after a drinking session: Try as you may to change up the order of your alcoholic beverages, if you drink too much, you will still be hungover.

There are no effective hangover remedies, rather, societies appear to rely on folk remedies (such as ‘hair of the dog’) and old folk sayings. Such sayings exist in numerous languages: other examples in English include “Grape or grain, but never the twain,” while Germans claim “Wein auf Bier, das rat’ ich Dir — Bier auf Wein, das lass’ sein” and the French say “Bière sur vin est venin, vin sur bière est belle manière.”

The results of a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that there is no difference in the intensity of the hangover brought on by drinking wine first followed by beer or the other way around.

Ninety volunteers, aged between 19 and 40 years old, were recruited and split into three groups. The first group consumed around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of wine. The second group consumed the same amounts of alcohol, but in reverse order. Subjects in the third, control group consumed either only beer or only wine.

The researchers found that none of the three groups had a significantly different hangover score with different orders of alcoholic drinks. Women tended to have slightly worse hangovers than men. While neither blood and urine tests, nor factors such as age, sex, body weight, drinking habits and hangover frequency, helped to predict hangover intensity, vomiting and perceived drunkenness were associated with heavier hangover.

“We didn’t find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around,” said Jöran Köchling, a researcher at Witten/Herdecke University and lead author of the study, in a statement.

Importantly, hangovers can lead to reduced productivity, impaired performance (including missing work or academic underperformance) and even risk to daily tasks such driving or operating heavy machinery.

Hangover symptoms occur when higher-than-normal blood alcohol concentrations drop back to zero. Surprisingly, the phenomenon is not particularly understood, though it is thought that their underlying causes include dehydration, our immune response, and disturbances of our metabolism and hormone.

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