A pint of water after a big night? Or a takeaway to soak up the booze? There's no point, say scientists.
Scientists have solved one of the burning questions of our time: how to avoid a hangover. And their answer? Drink less.
They found that hangover cures just don't work. Drinking water after a big night out, or eating a meal to soak up the alcohol, is simply pointless. The only sure-fire way to avoid the morning-after misery of nausea and a pounding headache is to limit your intake.
Researchers in the Netherlands and Canada monitored the drinking habits of more than 1,600 Dutch and Canadian students to discover whether some were - as they had claimed - immune to hangovers.
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They calculated the estimated blood alcohol concentration among those who experienced hangovers and those who said they did not. Four-fifths of those who claimed not to suffer from hangovers had an estimated blood alcohol level of less than 0.1 per cent - the equivalent of about two large glasses of wine. Dr Joris Verster, the study's lead author of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said: "In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover.
"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."
The researchers also analysed whether eating, or drinking water, directly after drinking alcohol made someone less likely to experience a hangover. They questioned students on their latest heavy drinking session, and whether they had food or water afterwards. They were then asked to rate their hangover from "absent" to "extreme".
Results showed hangover severity was virtually no different 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," added Dr Verster.
"From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol."
The research was presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Amsterdam.