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

February 08, 2019

Scientists on a mission to understand hangovers have dispelled the old saying "beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" as a myth.

University of Cambridge and German researchers plied 90 volunteers aged between 19 and 40 with alcoholic drinks to examine the "influence of the combination and order of beer and wine consumption on hangover intensity".

The drinkers were split into three groups. The first had around two-and-a-half pints of beer and then four large glasses of white wine.

The second group consumed the same drinks but in reverse order.

Volunteers in the third group had either only beer or only wine.

The following day they were all asked about their hangovers at regular intervals and kept under medical supervision overnight.

Several of the volunteers vomited and were given a score on a so-called "acute hangover scale", based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.

Participants were asked to conduct the experiment again a week later with the first and second study groups switching to the opposite drinking order.

Those who drank only beer the first time in the third group received only wine during the second round, and vice versa.

The results showed that no matter what order you knock back your drinks in - if you have too much, you will pay the price for it the next day.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Author Joran Kochling, from Germany's Witten/Herdecke University, said: "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."

Dr Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at Cambridge University and senior author of the study, added: "A clear result in favour of one particular order could help to reduce hangovers and help many people have a better day after a night out - though we encourage people to drink responsibly.

"Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favouring one order over another."

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