Drinking Water And Eating Food Won't Cure A Hangover, Because Scientists Have Found That The Only Solution Is To Drink Less
Hangover "cures" abound — a greasy meal, fish oil, over-the-counter hangover aids, more alcohol, and the list goes on. But a somewhat disappointing new research study shows that drinking water and eating food won't cure a hangover, because the only true hangover cure is to drink less. Sometimes common sense makes so much sense and seems so obvious for a reason, I suppose.
Researchers interested in the origins of hangovers and their cures surveyed almost 800 Canadian college students about their drinking habits. The researchers also calculated estimated blood alcohol concentration levels for the students, on the basis of their reported habits. As the researchers presented at the European College of Neuropharmacology (ECNP) conference in Amsterdam, there is nothing special about the people who claim never to get hangovers. Neither physical differences nor behavioral factors (like drinking water or eating food) explain why these survey participants never became hungover.
Instead, the 25 to 30 percent of people who never get hangovers simply drink way less in the first place. That's right, the secret to hangover immunity is drinking less. Those drinkers may have consumed water and food too, leading them to believe that those had helped significantly, but they weren't the deciding factor. As explained in Medical News Today:
[The researchers] found that 79% of the participants that claimed they never experienced hangovers had estimated blood alcohol concentration scores of less than 0.10%. As a point of comparison, many states in the US have a safe driving limit of 0.08%.
That's right — the reliable hangover avoiders were barely drinking past the point of being able to drive. For anyone who's ever had a bad hangover, it's clear that it resulted from far, far overshooting that point. Unsurprisingly, "they found that the more alcohol the participants consumed, the more likely they were to develop a hangover afterwards."
About half the participants in the study reported drinking water or eating food after consuming the alcohol, but the water and food were not significantly associated with reduced hangover symptoms. This conflicts with the hypothesis that a hangover is just extreme dehydration, and suggests that perhaps alcohol is doing something else (like disrupting your immune system) instead. So feel free to indulge in that hangover meal, but don't expect any miracles.