Order in which alcohol is consumed has no effect on hangoversBy Owen Bellwood
Research published by two leading British and German universities has debunked the myth “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer”.
The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge and Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, aimed to discover how the order in which alcoholic drinks are consumed can affect the next morning’s hangover.
To test this, 90 volunteers aged between 19- and 40-years-old were recruited and split into three groups. The first group consumed two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of wine. The second group consumed the same amount of alcohol, but in reverse order. Subjects in the third control group consumed either only beer or only wine.
A week later, participants in the first and second study groups were switched to the opposite drinking order. Control group subjects who drank only beer the first time around received only wine on the second study day, and vice versa.
After each day of drinking, participants were asked about their hangover and gave a score for how they felt from 0-56, based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that none of the three groups had a significantly different hangover score with different orders of alcoholic drinks. It also found that women tended to have slightly worse hangovers than men.
“Using white wine and lager beer, 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 first author Jöran Köchling from Witten/Herdecke University.
Hangover symptoms occur when higher-than-normal blood alcohol concentrations drop back to zero. Hangovers are likely to be influenced by ingredients other than pure alcohol, such as colourings and flavourings, it is therefore suggested that dark spirits such as rum and Bourbon may cause a more severe hangover than vodka.
Dr Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge and senior author of the study, said: “Unpleasant as hangovers are, we should remember that they do have one important benefit, at least: they are a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to change their future behaviour. In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes.”