Researchers in the Netherlands and Canada monitored the drinking habits of more than 1600 Dutch and Canadian students, some of whom claimed to be immune to hangovers, and found that that classic myths of drinking a pint of water or eating a meal the day after heavy drinking are simply not effective for getting through a hangover. Sorry college students and binge-drinkers alike, it seems that the only ‘cure’ for a hangover is to not get one in the first place.
Blood alcohol concentrations were calculated among those who reported experiencing hangovers and those who said they didn’t. Four-fifths of those who claimed to be ‘immune’ only ended up having a blood alcohol level of less than 0.1 percent, which is about two large glasses of wine.
“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.” said Dr. Joris Verster. “In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover.”
The researchers then went on to analyse whether or not drinking water or eating food to soak up the alcohol actually affected the likelihood of experiencing a hangover. The students were questioned about their latest heavy drinking session and then were divided into two groups: those who had food or water afterwards, and those who didn’t. They were all then asked to rate their hangover from “absent” to “extreme”. Researchers found that the severity of hangovers was virtually identical between the two groups.
“Those who took food or water showed a slight statistical improvement in how they felt over those who didn’t, but this didn’t really translate into a meaningful difference,” said Dr Verster.
The research was presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Amsterdam, presumably bumming a few students (and professors) out in the process.
“From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol.” concluded Dr. Verster.