A night out of drinking can be a good time, but doing it on an empty stomach — or one filled with the wrong foods – can make for an uncomfortable night. Certain pre-gaming snacks can make you sick or hungover, so it's important to know which foods to avoid before drinking. Unfortunately, some of your favorite eats can cause acid reflux, stomach pains, or even a hangover when paired with cocktails.
"Since the body processes food in a specific order and does not store alcohol, it is extremely important to think before you drink and eat," says Anna Baker, Managing Director and Head Nutritionist of Nutrition Journey LLC to me over email. She goes on to explain that drinking on an empty stomach will heighten the effects of alcohol, but putting the right food in your body ahead of time will line your stomach and reduce hangover symptoms.
Baker suggests eating a well-balanced meal of meal of lean proteins, good fats, and fiber before drinking, along with plenty of water. Any foods that could potentially dehydrate you even more should be avoided. If you're trying to eat the best meal possible before a night out of drinking, consider avoiding these six foods, which can make you feel worse and even exacerbate your hangovers.
Whether it's a dessert or a soda chaser, avoid anything high in sugar as they can negatively affect blood sugar levels that are already impacted by alcohol. These foods also make post-drinking symptoms more extreme as well. "Sugary foods and drinks make uncomfortable gas even worse, so avoid before and avoid in mixers," says Michelle Blum, RD over email.
2. Fried Foods
"Fried food is difficult to digest by itself, and adding alcohol creates the perfect environment for a very upset stomach," says Blum. French fries and other junk foods also contain a lot of salt, which can dehydrate you before your night out.
3. Acidic Foods
Acidic foods such as pizza and hot sauce should be avoided before consuming alcohol. "The tomato sauce in pizza is acidic," says Blum. "When you drink alcohol, this can lead to major heartburn or acid reflux."
Like pizza, caffeine is an acidic food, so drinking coffee or energy drinks before or during drinking can cause painful acid reflux. Additionally, mixing caffeine and alcohol can have negative health effects. Caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, causing you to drink more than intended.
While salad is of course healthy, it doesn’t contain enough calories to slow the rate of alcohol absorption," says Blum. "If you do opt for a salad, make sure it includes a protein, such a grilled chicken, or even some avocado." Eating healthy fats and protein before drinking is essential for slowing the absorption of alcohol, which can prevent you from getting sick or hungover.
6. Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates such as white bread or crackers might seem feeling at the time, but they actually convert into sugar, which is quickly absorbed by the body. "Simple carbohydrates should also be avoided due to the fact that they can contribute to water excretion (dehydration)," says Baker.
Eating before drinking and staying hydrated is important, so skip the junk food and opt for a healthy balance of nutrients for a fun night out that won't have as many negative health consequences.
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