For Preventing Hangover, Wine First or Beer First?

Alicia Farmer
February 10, 2019

A third group drank only beer or only wine.

The volunteers, aged between 19 and 40 years old, were recruited and split into three groups.

The new study put these proverbs to the test. One group drank 2½ pints of beer, followed by four large glasses of wine.

They were asked to refrain from drinking alcohol in the week preceding each binge and were handed out standardised meals, calculated to their individual needs based on gender and age. Another group had four glasses of white wine and then two-and-a-half pints of beer.

A week later, the first two groups of students switched the order of the drinks they consumed and the third group drank the beverage they hadn't consumed before.

The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge and Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, aimed to discover how the order in which alcoholic drinks are consumed can affect the next morning's hangover.

In addition to the English "Grape or grain, but never the twain", Germans say "Wein auf Bier, das rat' ich Dir-Bier auf Wein, das lass' sein" (Wine after beer, I recommend it; beer after wine, let it be), and the French say "Bière sur vin est venin, vin sur bière est belle manière" (Beer after wine is poison, wine after beer is the lovely way).

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Unfortunately, for tactical drinkers, "using white wine and lager beer, we didn't find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around", Joran Kochling from the Witten/Herdecke University said in a statement. Control-group subjects who drank only beer on the first intervention received only wine on the second study day (and vice versa).

In both trials, the students were medically supervised overnight and given water before bed.

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.

However, there was a difference between the sexes, with women tending to have slightly worse hangovers than men.

'We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking'. However, vomiting and perceived drunkenness were associated with more severe hangover, the study authors said.

Instead, hangover intensity was best predicted by whether the patients themselves felt that they were getting drunk, or if they threw up during their 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". "They can help us learn from our mistakes".

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