If you've ever woken up with a hangover, your first thought after downing a greasy cheeseburger may be your sudden doubt in the old adage beer before liquor. This phrase has been passed down for ages from well-meaning friends and family to guarantee you won't feel the alcohol effects the next day. If you haven't heard the phrase, it goes, "Beer before liquor never been sicker; liquor before beer, you're in the clear." Unfortunately, it's just not true. There are ways to avoid that sickly feeling the next morning, but strictly adhering to this saying is not one of them.
Luckily for those of us who enjoy our alcoholic beverages, The New York Times explored the myths and facts associated with the beer before liquor phrase.
The Beer Before Liquor Myth
The origins of the myth are unknown, but many attribute it to how certain beverages are digested. Alcoholic drinks with higher levels of carbonation, like beer and champagne, can irritate the stomach lining, which leads to an increased rate in alcohol absorption. This leads to the assumption that if you add liquor after beer, you're going to get intoxicated faster.
Another assumption about beer before liquor, is that most people don't drink tons of beer after hard liquor. They assume since liquor was the last thing they drank, that's what caused sickness.
According to Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, "What matters most...is the amount of alcohol consumed and whether it is combined with any food, which slows absorption and minimizes sickness."
This really boils down to an issue of alcohol consumption. If you're hankering for a wild night out of heavy drinking, be ready to suffer the next morning. On a positive note, if you're willing to suffer the consequences, just worry about the total amount of alcohol, rather than the order of consumption.
Avoiding the Worst Hangover Symptoms
Even your best attempts of avoiding a hangover may fail you. While it may be almost impossible to not feel hungover after drinking, there's some tricks to lessen the hangover severity.
1. Limit This Type of Alcoholic Beverage
Limit the amount of alcoholic beverages with high congeners. Congeners are chemicals that occur during the fermentation process that help flavor different types of alcohol. Congeners can make hangovers worse, and occur more in darker liquors like red wine and bourbon.
2. Stay Hydrated
One of the most common ways to lessen the hangover side effects is to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink one glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage. Alcohol dehydrates you, so the more water you can drink to offset dehydration, the better.
3. Eat Well
Don't forget to eat a meal before drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach leads to the alcohol being absorbed into the intestines more quickly. This can raise your blood alcohol levels quickly. Eating a healthy mix of protein and carbs before drinking can help stave off a hangover.
The bottom line is, if you want to feel great at the end of the night, you should limit your alcohol consumption by sticking to beverages with lower alcohol content, like light beer and white wine. However, if you really want to walk away unscathed, stick to non-alcoholic drinks.
Watch: The 7 Health Benefits of Beer