You’ve heard the old sayings, I’m sure: “Wine before beer, you’re in the clear; beer before liquor, you’ll be even sicker.” It seemed like a pretty good baseline rule for when you hit the bar with your friends. The problem is it’s a load of BS—drinking your alcohol before beer won’t help you avoid a hangover after all.
Science debunks the old theory. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this month says that taking drinks in a particular order isn’t guaranteed to help prevent a hangover or sickness.
Sticking to one kind of drink won’t help you either. You’d think if you just had wine all evening or stuck to tequila rather than mixing things up, you’d be in better stead the next morning, right? Unfortunately that’s wrong too. Prepare to be hungover.
The results were based on where participants fell on the Acute Hangover Scale. The study focused on 90 people split into three groups of 30. The first group had 2.5 pints of beer followed by four glasses of wine; the second group did the same in reverse. The third group stuck to only beer or wine. They came back in a week later to do the experiment again, only the opposite way from last time. The result? Changing drinks really made no difference when it came to where everyone fell on the AHS, though women did seem to have it worse.
Hangovers aren’t all bad news. While they may feel terrible, there are some advantages to feeling hungover after a crazy night. As the paper points out, the symptoms of a hangover provide “a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to modify future behavior, and hence pass on this evolutionary advantage to next generations.” See? Every cloud has a silver lining.
The next time you go out, there’s no need to strategize your drinking order. Pace yourself on how much you’re drinking, but if you want to mix wine and beer, just accept that you probably won’t be “in the clear.”
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