There are many theories about how to prevent hangovers – drinking water and eating a meal after drinking alcohol – but do these remedies actually work?
The research isn’t encouraging. At least that’s what study leaders found after surveying Canadian and Dutch college students about their drinking habits.
“In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover,” lead study author Dr. Joris Verster said in a news release. “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.”
Approximately 79 percent of Canadian students who said they had not experienced a hangover had a blood alcohol concentration less than .1 percent. Additionally, among the Dutch students, there was not a “meaningful difference” in hangover severity between those who had eaten a meal after drinking and those who did not.
“In reality, only eating before drinking will help by slowing down the delivery of alcohol to your blood stream,” says Dr. Tony Hampton, family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago. “Fat in the diet is most effective at this.”
Another hangover remedy Dr. Hampton says is false is that red wine is less likely to cause a headache than beer. In fact, just the opposite is true.
“Red wine has compounds like tannins that can trigger headaches in those who are susceptible to headaches, and that will only make the hangover worse,” says Dr. Hampton. “Moderation or avoidance of alcohol consumption is the best defense against a hangover.”