Beer Before Wine? Turns Out It Doesn't Matter

Charles Smith

You may have subscribed to this old adage in the past when drinking alcohol, in the hope of avoiding a hangover the next day.

However, as unpleasant as they are, hangovers do serve a goal - experts say they are nature's warning system to encourage us to drink less.

In conclusion, the researchers said their findings debunk age-old myths regarding drinking beer and wine in a particular order and that drinkers should instead focus on how intoxicated they think they are and whether they feel sick to gauge their hangover the next day.

Kai Hensel from the University of Cambridge added: "The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover".

Researchers Germany's Witten/Herdecke University split a group of 90 volunteers into three groups. The first group consumed about two and a half pints of beer (with an alcohol content of 5 percent each) followed by four large glasses of wine (with an alcohol content of 11 percent each).

One week later, participants in the first two groups were switched to imbibe the opposite drinks, as were the control subjects who initially drank either beer or wine.

The third drank only wine or beer. This time, people drank in the reverse order: Those who had started with beer on the first day were given wine this time, those who had started with wine were given beer first, and those who had drunk only beer were given wine and vice versa.

The day after each trial, students were asked to rate the severity of their hangover symptoms - such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, thirst, and nausea - in a questionnaire. For example, they couldn't assign a control group to drink beer or wine without alcohol, as the participants in an alcohol study were not interested in being in a non-alcoholic group. This way, the researchers could compare the reactions of each individual to the same person's earlier experience.

It was also not possible to predict hangover intensity based on factors such as age, body weight, drinking habits and how often people usually got hangovers.

The researchers note that the study used only lager beer and white wine, so it's unclear if the results apply to other types of alcohol.

The researchers found that participants in all three groups had similar hangover scores.

"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".

Jöran Köchling, from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, who was the first author of the paper, said: "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".

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