Scientists have had their say on the ‘beer before wine and you’ll be fine’ hangover theory

Scientists have had their say on the ‘beer before wine and you’ll be fine’ hangover theory
Scientists conducted a test to see whether the order drinks are consumed will prevent suffering a hangover (Photo: Shutterstock)

Scientists have conducted a test in an attempt to definitively confirm or deny the old myth that drinking beer before wine will prevent drinkers from developing a hangover.

Researchers aimed to discover whether the saying ‘beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer’ is actually true.

A drinking test

University of Cambridge and German researchers asked 90 volunteers aged between 19 and 40 to consume alcoholic drinks in order to examine the “influence of the combination and order of beer and wine consumption on hangover intensity”.

The volunteers were split into the following three groups:

  • Group one consumed around two-and-a-half pints of beer, followed by four large glasses of white wine
  • Group two consumed the same drinks, but in reverse order
  • Group three consumed either only beer or only wine

The following day, each group were quizzed about their hangover at regular intervals and were kept under medical supervision over the course of the night.

Volunteers were then given a score on a so-called ‘acute hangover scale’ based on a number of factors.

These included:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of appetite

Volunteers were then asked to undergo the same experience the following week, with the first and second groups switching the order they consumed their drinks.

The study found despite the order in which drinks are consumed, if you have too much you will suffer a hangover the following day (Photo: Shutterstock)
The study found despite the order in which drinks are consumed, if you have too much you will suffer a hangover the following day (Photo: Shutterstock)

Those in the third group who only drank beer in the previous test swapped to wine this time around, and vice versa.

A correct drinking order?

The results from the study suggest that, regardless of the order in which drinks are consumed, if you have too much you will suffer a hangover the following day.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, with author Joran Kochling, from Germany’s Witten/Herdecke University, stating, “The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover.

“The only reliable way of predicting how miserable you’ll feel the next day is by how drunk you feel and whether you are sick.

“We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking.”

Dr Kai Hensel, senior clinical fellow at Cambridge University and senior author of the study, added, “A clear result in favour of one particular order could help to reduce hangovers and help many people have a better day after a night out – though we encourage people to drink responsibly.

“Unfortunately, we found that there was no way to avoid the inevitable hangover just by favouring one order over another.”