'Beer before wine, always fine'? Not really, study says

Wine first or beer, drinks cost you dear

Do you believe in the motto "beer before wine and you'll feel fine"?

For this advancement of science, we have to thank 90 courageous volunteers, aged 19 to 40, who were split into three groups: The first group consumed around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of wine; the second consumed the same amounts of beer and wine, only in reverse order.

They range from the "hair of the dog", the belief that the best cure for a hangover is to have another drink, to the greasy morning-after meal that supposedly "soaks up" the alcohol.

The old wives' rhymes we tell ourselves about responsible alcohol consumption have basically nothing to do with reality, a new study on drinking has found.

Volunteers in the third group had either only beer or only wine. One group drank 2½ pints of beer, followed by four large glasses of wine.

Some 90 individuals between the ages of 19 and 40 were asked to drink beer, wine or both.

Volunteers were split into three groups. On a second intervention day (crossover) ≥1 wk later, study-group subjects were switched to the opposite drinking order. This time, people drank in the reverse order: Those who had started with beer on the first day were given wine this time, those who had started with wine were given beer first, and those who had drunk only beer were given wine and vice versa.

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The third drank the same amount of alcohol, but stuck to just white wine or beer.

There is no medically proven way to prevent or treat a hangover - the symptoms of headache, nausea and fatigue that come with drinking too much alcohol.

The researchers, led by Dr. Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge, found there was no significant difference between the three groups in terms of hangovers.

In conclusion, the researchers said their findings debunk age-old myths regarding drinking beer and wine in a particular order and that drinkers should instead focus on how intoxicated they think they are and whether they feel sick to gauge their hangover the next day. However, vomiting and perceived drunkenness were associated with more severe hangover, the study authors said. "We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking", Köchling said.

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".

"One should be mindful of the important benefits of a symptomatic hangover-a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to modify future behavior".

"In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes".

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