A new study has found that nobody is immune to hangovers, although many people claim to be.
Those who have never experienced a hangover have simply not had enough alcohol in their blood to induce one, according to researchers from the Netherlands and Canada.
“We have been working with Canadian and Dutch students on this issue. In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover,” said lead author Dr. Joris Verster at Utrecht University.
“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.”
For the study, researchers surveyed the drinking habits of students to gain a better understanding of what happens the morning after a heavy night of drinking.
A total of 789 Canadian students were surveyed about their alcohol consumption during the previous month. They were questioned about the number of drinks, the timeframe of consumption, and the severity of their hangovers.
The researchers calculated the estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration in those who experienced hangovers and those who didn’t. They found that four out of five (79 percent) of the students who claimed not to experience hangovers had an estimated blood alcohol level of less than 0.10 percent.
In order to examine whether eating or drinking water directly after consuming alcohol made a hangover less likely, the researchers surveyed 826 Dutch students on their latest heavy drinking session. A total of 449 students (54.4 percent) reported eating right after consuming alcohol.
The students were then asked to rate their hangover (from absent to extreme). The findings showed that hangover severity was not very 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. From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol,” said Verster.
“These are early questionnaire-based studies, and are amongst the first of their kind. This means they have limitations, but they do give us an indication of what happens. Our next step is to move forward with more controlled trials.”