Does drinking beer before wine prevent hangover?

Charles Smith

Those in the third, control group consumed either only beer or only wine.

Ninety participants aged 19-40 y (mean age 23.9), 50% female, were included (study group 1 n = 31, study group 2 n = 31, controls n = 28).

"The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover".

One group drank around two and a half pints of lager, followed by four large glasses of white wine.

Participants were monitored while drinking. The second group drank the four glasses of wine first, then the 2½ pints of beer. To test the adages, the study used a crossover in which participants in study groups one and two were switched to the opposite drinking order a week later.

European researchers have bad news for the 76% of Americans 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.

A joint study by researchers from the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom put the old sayings to the test, using 90 volunteers split into three groups.

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The myth of "beer before wine, you'll be fine" is often heard in the United Kingdom, and there are similar variations in French and German. They were then kept under medical supervision overnight.

But more importantly, the next day the participants were asked about their hangover and given a score on a devised hangover scale, based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, stomach ache, nausea, loss of appetite, and an increased heart rate.

In this multiarm, parallel randomized controlled matched-triplet crossover open-label interventional trial, participants were matched into triplets and randomly assigned according to age, gender, body composition, alcohol drinking habits, and hangover frequency. "The only reliable way of predicting how miserable you'll feel the next day is by how drunk you feel and whether you are sick", Jöran Köchling of Witten/Herdecke University told Fortune.

'We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking'.

Unfortunately, however, scientists have yet to find the ever-elusive "hangover cure" for which drinkers from time immemorial have been waiting.

However, in North America you're more likely to hear a saying encouraging drinkers to begin their nights with spirits before moving to beer if they want to avoid a dreaded hangover: "Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you're in the clear".

"One should be mindful of the important benefits of a symptomatic hangover-a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to modify future behaviour, and hence pass on this evolutionary advantage to next generations".

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