Want to avoid a hangover? Don’t drink too much, scientists conclude
The only way to prevent a hangover is to drink less alcohol – drinking water or eating won’t help you avoid the pain
Source: The Telegraph
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
28 Aug 2015
People who claim to be immune to hangovers are just kidding themselves, as there is no way to avoid the nausea and pounding headache, scientists have concluded.
Although one quarter of people claim to be able to consume alcohol without consequences, researchers have found they are probably just not drinking enough for it to have an impact.
Likewise people who claim water and eating help stave off that energy-sapping morning after feeling, it is likely that they did not drink as much as they thought.
To find out whether some people really were immune to a hangover, scientists in the Netherlands and Canada monitored the drinking habits of more than 1,600 Dutch and Canadian students.
The researchers calculated the estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration in those who experienced hangovers and those who didn’t. They found that four-fifths of those who claimed not to experience hangovers had an estimated blood alcohol level of less than 0.10 per cent – the equivalent of about two large glasses of wine.
Lead author Dr Joris Verster, of Utrecht University, the Netherlands said: “In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover.
“The majority of those who in fact reported never having a hangover tended to drink less, perhaps less than they themselves thought would lead to a hangover”.
The researchers also looked at whether eating or drinking water directly after drinking alcohol made you less likely to experience a hangover.
They questioned 826 Dutch students on their latest heavy drinking session, and whether they had food or water after the alcohol. They were then asked to rate their hangover from ‘absent’ to ‘extreme.’ Results showed hangover severity was virtually no different between the two groups.
‘Those who took food or water showed a slight statistical improvement in how they felt over those who didn’t, but this didn’t really translate into a meaningful difference,” added Dr Verster.
“From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol.”
Previous research has suggested that drinking pear juice before a heavy night of drinking could reduce the effects of a hangover.
Australian government scientists found that for those suffering the effects of the night before, the fruit significantly increased concentration.
They also reduced memory loss and sensitivity to light and sound and even slightly decreased the alcohol levels present in the blood.
Many celebrities in America also swear by an oral electrolyte drink for children with stomach bugs. Adults who buy the product for themselves now make up one third of sales of Pedialyte.
However the new research suggests that only steering clear of excess alcohol will stop a hangover.
Dr Michael Bloomfield, of University College London, said: “Throughout the world the economic and social costs of alcohol abuse run into hundreds of billions of euros per year.
“It’s therefore very important to answer simple questions like ‘how do you avoid a hangover?’
“Whilst further research is needed, this new research tells us that the answer is simple – ‘drink less’.”
The research was published was presented at the European College of Neuropsychpharmacology in Amsterdam.