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

10 February 2019, 07:25 | Randall Craig

DisobeyArt via Getty Images

DisobeyArt via Getty Images

A third group acted as a control group and had only beer or wine.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 90 German students between the ages of 19 and 40 being given alcoholic drinks in various orders.

The type of alcohol you consume or the order in which you drink alcoholic beverages have no effect on your hangover, it simply comes down to the quantity.

The new study put these proverbs to the test.

Scientists in the United Kingdom and Germany have joined forces to answer an age-old mystery: whether the expression "beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" has any merit.

One group drank two-and-half pints of beer, followed by large glasses of wine. During the drinking task, the participants were asked to rate their perceived level of drunkness.

The drinkers were split into three groups. On a second intervention day (crossover) ≥1 wk later, study-group subjects were switched to the opposite drinking order.

It was discovered that, no matter what order drinks were drunk in, participants still reported the same hangover scores. Old folk wisdoms such as "Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" exist in many languages.




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

Lead study author Jöran Köchling, from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, said: "We didn't find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around". All volunteers were kept under medical supervision overnight.

The next day, the team assessed the acuteness of the participants' hangover using an 8-item scale that included the hangover markers "thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, tachycardia, and loss of appetite".

The study found that changing the order of the beverages made no significant difference to the hangovers and that it was also hard to predict the intensity of a hangover even with given information like your age and weight. "We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking", Kochling said in a Cambridge news release.

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.

Although women tended to have slightly worse hangovers than men, none of the groups had significantly different hangover scores, the findings showed.

"Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favouring one order over another", senior study author Dr. Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, said in the statement. "They can help us learn from our mistakes".



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