science

Bad news for New Year's Eve revellers! Hangover 'cures' don't work, study says 



Do you want to curb some of the awful hangovers that come with the festive celebrations this time of year? 

Hangovers differ not only depending on how much you drink, but also the type of drink you decide to opt for that evening.

Mulled wine is a yearly festive favourite, but sadly makes you feel worse for wear than some other drinks because it’s a sweet choice that can cause fatigue and dizziness the next day because of fluctuating blood sugar. 

Whereas tequila apparently causes no hangover due to the process behind making the Mexican tipple.

Here, Femail’s Lizzie May provides the inside information you need to know what drink will cause you what symptoms of your hangover the next day.

DARK SPIRITS: MUSCLE ACHES AND SEVERE NAUSEA  

Dr Zenon Andreou, a GP and online doctor for Asda Online Doctor by ZAVA, said that by drinking a lighter spirit like vodka, gin and light beers, you are consuming less congeners with each glass.

Congeners are a by-product of the fermentation process that goes into making darker drinks like dark rum and whiskey, red wine and brandy.

With 15 years of experience sourcing, trading, and learning about wine and spirits, Steve King, managing director at Bottled and Boxed, an online alcohol retailer, said that these darker spirits can prolong your symptoms of a hangover because your body has to break down both the alcohol and the congeners. 

Congeners have been known to make symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches and nausea more severe.

Dr Andreou added that they can be toxic, which mfeans they interfere with your body’s cell functions, hindering the body’s ability to repair itself the next morning.

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RED WINE: HEADACHES  

Red wine headache is a type of hangover specific to red wines, with some people experiencing nausea and migraines within just 15 minutes of drinking a glass.

The darker wine has natural substances called tyramine and histamine which can cause the restrictions of blood vessels in the body, leaving you with a headache in the morning, says Dr Andreou.

He added: ‘These substances are sometimes up to 200 per cent higher in red wine than white wine, which is why you might feel worse after a night of drinking red.

Kerry Beeson, Nutritional Therapist at Optibac Probiotics said organic red wine might be a better alternative.

She said: ‘Alcohol can reduce friendly bacteria levels in our gut but so too can those foods that tend to go hand in hand with alcohol – high sugar, high fat and heavily processed – creating a double whammy assault on the gut and the friendly microbes that live there.

‘However, choosing organic red wine which has shown to be beneficial in small quantities.’

MULLED WINE: DIZZINESS, SHAKINESS AND FATIGUE

Although mulled wine has a lower alcohol content, when over-consumed, the natural and added sugars in mulled wine can spike your blood sugar levels rapidly, which can also cause headaches the next day.

This is due to hyperglycemia, or reactive hypoglycemia, an over or under-compensation of glucose in your bloodstream. And, as a result, can lead to unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, shaking and fatigue.

Celebrity nutritionist Yalda Alaoui said that calories vary enormously depending on the choice of alcohol you are opting for – and that affects how you feel the next day.

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While a 125ml glass of wine contains around 125kcal, dry champagne averages around 95kcal, a sugary glass of mulled wine averages at 235 calories each, causing sugar cravings and a worse hangover the next day.  

She says: ‘I recommend staying clear of sugary alcoholic beverages and opting for dry wine or champagne to minimise the disruption on blood sugar levels and reduce cravings after consumption.

‘The bonus with vintage wines is that they contain bacteria which might be beneficial for your gastrointestinal health.’

TOO MUCH OF ANY ALCOHOL:  DEHYDRATION

Dr Kathryn Basford, also a doctor for Asda Online Doctor by Zava, explained the making of a hangover and the science behind it.

She said: ‘When you drink, alcohol enters the bloodstream and inhibits the body’s production of vasopressin, a pituitary gland hormone which tells the body to retain water in the kidneys.

‘Without this, water goes directly to the bladder (which is why drinkers make lots of visits to the loo) and leaves the body dehydrated.

‘The headache that often signals the hangover is the brain’s reaction to this loss of fluid, while the nausea and lack of energy that accompanies the headache is the body’s response to low blood sugar levels and the loss of the minerals and electrolytes which help the body to function properly.

‘The more you drink, the more likely you are going to feel these effects, and the longer you might take to recover. 

TEQUILA: ‘NO HANGOVER’ IF YOU DON’T GO OVERBOARD!

Tequila is often considered the go-to drink for people on a night out, says Dr Andreou.

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Pure, quality tequila made from 100% agave goes through a different type of fermentation process which means less sugars and congeners are inside the drink to make you feel so bad the next day.

He said: ‘When consumed in moderation and alongside water to keep you hydrated, you may be able to wake up the next day almost hangover free.’      



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