The Great Hangover Debate: Wine or Beer?

Let’s say that you’re at a restaurant with your friends, and everyone is ordering drinks. All around you, people order beer after beer after beer, with no apparent consideration for the hangover that awaits them in the morning. So you, being the sensible one of the group, opt for a glass of red wine.

According to science, you have just made a terrible mistake.

For the most part, your hangover intensity will be determined by congeners, or toxins found in the drink itself. Guess what has the greater amount of congeners? That’s right, your beautiful glass of 8-dollar Merlot. If you order a glass of the house white, however, you might be safe.

Drink for drink, red wine will generally cause a more severe hangover than beer. However, other factors must be taken into account. Some research shows that beer is much more popular than wine when people binge drink. So if you stick to your one glass of red while your friends take turns chugging pitchers, it’s obvious who will feel worse in the morning.

Likewise, beer is more readily available at social scenes and other venues such as sports stadiums and music events. If there is only one wine available and you hate it, you’re stopping after one drink. When you find a beer you don’t like, you can usually move on to another type.

Finally, look at what constitutes one drink for beer and wine. Because beer has a lower alcohol content, it will take more of it to cause an effect. This produces more exposure to congeners, to potential allergens like yeast, and yields itself more to binge drinking because it is slower to take effect in the body.

Does this mean that, because of contributing factors, that beer will actually cause the worse hangover? It would seem so. But those tricky scientists – just when you think beer might be worse than wine, those scientists come through with a new breakthrough.

This one comes courtesy of researchers in Australia (of course): a hangover-proof beer, designed to hydrate the drinker and provide vital electrolytes. This may once and for all put an end to the argument. And until then, wine still causes a worse hangover – provided you are able to control the amount of drinks you have. This obviously doesn’t mean you can drink 10 beers and shrug it off, saying, “At least it wasn’t wine.”

Want to know what consistently ranks at the top of the list as least likely to cause a bad hangover?

190 proof Everclear.

But that’s probably because it will kill you first.


Legal Stuff: We should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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