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Beer before wine WON’T make you feel fine: Order of drink makes no difference to hangover

Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine, is how the tactical tippler thinks – but the old adage appears to be a myth.

In a less than surprising revelation, researchers found hangovers are just as bad, regardless of what order you drink your drinks.

Scientists gave alcoholic drinks to 90 volunteers in different combinations in a laboratory experiment on two separate nights.

Some were asked to drink two and a half pints of Carlsberg, followed by four large glasses of white wine. A second group started with wine before beer.

Researchers had to control the drunk participants, who were singing and dancing, with a megaphone. They were sent to bed in the lab at 1am.

Participants were asked about their hangover the following day and given a score on a so-called Acute Hangover Scale.

The findings, led by a team at Cambridge University, indicated that no matter how you order your drinks, if you drink too much you are still likely to be ill.

Dr Kai Hensel, one of the researchers, said: ‘The vomiting rate was a little higher than I’d have thought. But they enjoyed it.’

The order you drink makes no difference to your hangover, according to Cambridge scientists

Volunteers were split into three groups, with the first drinking around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of white wine.

The second group had the same amount of alcohol but in reverse order, and subjects in the third, control group had either only beer or only wine.

The Acute Hangover Scale is based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.

The volunteers, aged between 19 and 40, were asked about their well being at regular intervals and kept under medical supervision overnight. 


A study of 97 adults found highly shy people are more likely to become anxious when nursing a hangover after a night of heavy drinking.

It also revealed drinking around six units of alcohol reduced anxiety in extremely coy people, who may use booze to help release their inhibitions.

Researchers at the University of Exeter sat in on a social event attended by participants, who were aged between 18 and 53. 

At the get-together participants were told to either drink or stay sober.

Participants were breathalysed and completed a questionnaire that assessed their anxiety levels on the evening and the next day.  

Results revealed a link between shyness and suffering from anxiety after a night of drinking, which the researchers named ‘hangxiety’. 

There was a moderate association between experiencing hangxiety and suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) but only among those in the ‘high-shy group’.   

Problem drinkers have previously scored higher on measures of shyness, which suggests a link between the trait and alcohol.

‘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,’ said first author Jöran Köchling from Germany’s Witten/Herdecke University.

‘The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover.

‘The only reliable way of predicting how miserable you’ll feel the next day is by how drunk you feel and whether you are sick.

‘We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking.’

Dr Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at Cambridge University and senior author of the study, said: ‘Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favouring one order over another.’

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Hangovers occur when drinking large amounts of alcohol have a dehydrating affect, causing thirst, dry mouth and dizziness, as well as low blood sugar, digestive irritation and disturbed sleep. 

A pint of standard beer (560ml) would cause you to lose approximately 280ml of extra fluid, which would amount to a large deficit over the course of an evening. 

There is a lack of evidence to show an effective method of hangover, with experts generally agreeing on moderation.

The NHS advise men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis – such as weekly – to avoid health risks.

For example, a bottle of lager would contain around 1.7 units, and a large glass of wine around three units.

There is some debate about whether the choice of drink can leave you feeling the effects of a hangover more strongly.

Clear liquors, such as vodka, gin or tequila are arguably less likely to cause a hangover compared to dark-coloured drinks which contain natural chemicals called congeners. These irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain.

Drinking patters – such as bingeing on the weekend – can generally trigger bad health habits such as a poor diet and oversleeping or ‘social jet lag’.


A team of experts at Abakus Foods have told how ginger caaspin help prevent nausea, while a hot bath can give your lymphatic system a boost. 

1. Fructose

‘This can help speed up alcohol metabolism, meaning that extra glass could pass through your body faster and you can feel ‘back to normal’ sooner. Try natural & fruity snacks to help this process. For example the jujube fruit is a great source of natural fructose and also contains potassium which can help rehydration.’

2. Greasy food

‘This has long been rumoured to help with alcohol resistance. However, the one time you can legitimately eat greasy pizza and fries is before you start drinking, and the extra oil on the intestines can help slow the alcohol absorption. It’s generally a good idea to eat well and not drink on empty stomach.’

3. Ginger

‘This can help with an upset stomach, such as vomiting and nausea. Simply make yourself a ginger tea with a slice of fresh ginger in boiled water, or chew on some ginger sweets.’

4. Sweat

‘Do this by working out or taking a hot bath, and thereby help your lymphatic system get rid of the toxins in your body. Beware of the sauna though as the excessive sweating could make you even more dehydrated and lower your blood sugar.’

5. Sleep

‘This is still one of the best ways for human recovery of any kind. While you sleep, your organs get a chance to rest and restore. In case of a hangover, your liver is working hard to break down the alcohol and sleep allows its natural healing.’


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