Hangovers – is beer before wine better?

by | Addictions, Drug and Alcohol, Healthy Living, Recreational Drugs, Summer Health

If you think a binge drinking session is less toxic if you change the order of your drinks, think again . . .

First up let’s be clear – myDr.com.au does not condone binge drinking. But does the old adage – “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer, sick for a year” actually ring true?

British and German scientists have recently put it to the test. Ninety volunteers were split into 3 groups:

  • One group consumed multiple beers, followed by multiple white wines, to a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 0.11%.
  • The second group did the reverse – multiple wines, followed by multiple beers, to the same BrAC of 0.11%.
  • and the control group consumed only beer or wine to the same BrAC.

The following day, all volunteers were scored on the acute hangover scale, ranking factors included thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, heart rate and loss of appetite. They recovered for a week and then returned to test whether reversing the order of their drinks had an effect on their hangovers.

“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,” says one of the study’s authors, Jöran Köchling from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. “The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover. 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. We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking.”

While the order of drinks clearly doesn’t impact the severity of your next-day blahs, there’s no doubt hangover DO serve one purpose. “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,” exlains Dr Kai Hensel from the University of Cambridge and a senior author of the study. “In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes.” Drink responsibly – no more than two standard drinks a day and no more than 4 standard drinks on any given occasion.

Source:  Verster, JC et al. The Association between Alcohol Hangover Frequency and Severity: Evidence for Reverse Tolerance?https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916522031215?via%3Dihub ( 2019 Oct; 8(10): 1520.

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