- “Beer before wine, you’ll be fine; wine before beer, you’ll feel queer” is a well-known saying.
- However a new study has found it to be a complete myth.
- The type of alcohol you consume or the order in which you drink alcoholic beverages have no effect on your hangover, it simply comes down to the quantity.
“Beer before wine, you’ll be fine; wine before beer, you’ll feel queer.”
It’s a saying oft-heard upon frequenting a drinking establishment, the idea being that the order in which you consume your drinks will play a part in how bad your hangover will be the next day.
However, a new study has found that this theory is in fact a complete myth.
Researchers from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the University of Cambridge concluded that drinking too much alcohol will result in feeling bad regardless of what you drink, and in what order.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 90 German students between the ages of 19 and 40 being given alcoholic drinks in various orders.
The participants were divided into three groups:
- Group 1 drank around two-and-a-half pints of lager, followed by four large glasses of white wine.
- Group 2 consumed the same amounts of alcohol, but drank the wine first.
- Group 3 (the control group) had only beer or wine.
The researchers then analysed how the students felt the next day and whether they had vomited by using a questionnaire and assessing them overnight. They were measured for thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate, and loss of appetite.
The test was then repeated a week later but the order in which each group consumed their drinks was reversed, and the control group drank whichever alcohol they hadn’t had the first time.
It transpired that the hangovers suffered by participants were equally bad depending on which form of booze they’d consumed and in which order.
The researchers also found that considering factors such as age, weight, and drinking habits did not lead them to predict how bad a person’s hangover would be.
However, the study did find that women suffered slightly worse hangovers than men.
Lead study author Jöran Köchling, from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, said: “We didn’t find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around.
“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.”
Cambridge University’s Dr Kai Hansel added that drinkers should pay attention to their hangovers as it’s the body’s way of sending a message.
“They are a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to change their future behaviour.
“Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favouring one order over another.”
The myth of “beer before wine, you’ll be fine” is often heard in the UK, and there are similar variations in French and German.
However, in North America you’re more likely to hear a saying encouraging drinkers to begin their nights with spirits before moving to beer if they want to avoid a dreaded hangover: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.”
But at the end of the day, it’s how much alcohol you’re consuming that you need to be wary of, not the type or order.
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