Scientists test 'beer before wine and you'll feel fine' hangover theory

Charles Smith

We all know the rule - beer before wine makes you feel fine, wine before beer makes you feel queer.

Hensel's research team divided around 90 volunteers aged 19-40 into three groups. 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.

The old wives' rhymes we tell ourselves about responsible alcohol consumption have basically nothing to do with reality, a new study on drinking has found.

In the first trial, one group of students was given two-and-a-half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of white wine.

All participants were asked to self-assess how drunk they were at the end of each experiment via a questionnaire. The third group drank only beer or only wine.

The second group had the same amount of alcohol, but in reverse order.

The second group of students drank the same amount of alcohol as the first group, but in the opposite order.

In addition to the English "Grape or grain, but never the twain", Germans say "Wein auf Bier, das rat' ich Dir-Bier auf Wein, das lass' sein" (Wine after beer, I recommend it; beer after wine, let it be), and the French say "Bière sur vin est venin, vin sur bière est belle manière" (Beer after wine is poison, wine after beer is the lovely way). A new study finds that the order in which you consume alcoholic drinks won't actually help you avoid a hangover. They were then kept under medical supervision overnight.

The evaluation revealed the order of the drinks did not matter for the extent of the hangover, nor did gender, weight or general drinking habits.

You'll suffer the next day if you drink too much, regardless of how you sequence your drinks, according to researchers at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. "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.

One of the study's findings was that those who vomited were more likely to have a bad hangover.

Instead, hangover intensity was best predicted by whether the patients themselves felt that they were getting drunk, or if they threw up during their drinking.

"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 behavior", said Dr. Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge and senior author of the study, in a statement.

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