The old adage that drinking beer before wine prevents hangovers turns out to be a myth, German researchers say.
In a formal study, they found the order in which one consumes alcohol is irrelevant to how one feels the morning after.
Many languages offer variations of the proverb, “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer,” but the concept has never been scientifically proved, researchers with Witten/Herdecke university in Wuppertal note.
“It is so well known that really every 5-year-old would know this in Germany,” said study co-author Dr. Kai Hensel, who now works at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Hensel and colleagues enrolled 105 volunteers with an average age in their early 20s (about half were women) and randomly assigned them to one of three groups.
In one group, over about five hours, participants drank Carlsberg beer until they reached the legal driving limit (a breath alcohol concentration of at least 0.05 percent). Then they switched to drinking wine until their breath alcohol concentration had roughly doubled.
In a second group, the order of drinking was reversed, with participants consuming wine first and then beer.
In a third group, participants drank only beer.
A week later, in a second session, researchers switched things up. The first group drank wine first, and then beer, while the second group drank beer first and then wine. The group that drank only beer in the first session drank only wine in the second session.
Alcohol consumption could be terminated early at the volunteer’s request or if safety concerns were raised. All volunteers slept overnight at the study center after consuming the alcohol, under medical supervision.
The next day, participants were surveyed about hangover symptoms – and the researchers saw no differences between the three groups.
“Neither type nor order of consumed alcoholic beverages significantly affected hangover intensity,” the research team reports in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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