Germany/UK: Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine?

One of the most essential questions in life has been resolved by researchers at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the University of Cambridge in the UK, namely the question if the age-old aphorism "Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" is correct or not.

The researchers recruited ninety volunteers, aged between 19 and 40 years old, and split them into three groups. The first group consumed around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of wine. The second group consumed the same amounts of alcohol, but in reverse order. Subjects in the third, control group consumed either only beer or only wine. One week later, all participants had to consume the same amount only in reverse order and those with only wine had to switch to beer and vice versa.

The day following each consumption, the participants had to judge their hangover on a scale from 0 to 56 based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.

The result of the study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that none of the three groups had any significant difference in their hangover score  and therefore the old saying is a myth.

"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," says first author of the study Jöran Köchling from Witten/Herdecke University. “Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favoring one order over another,” adds Dr Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge and senior author of the study.

As a final piece of advice Hensel concludes "Unpleasant as hangovers are, we should remember that they do have one important benefit, at least: they are a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to change their future behavior. In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes."

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