'Beer before wine' theory makes no difference to hangover

"Beer before wine and you'll feel fine, wine before beer and you'll feel queer," many swear by this old saying when drinking, but scientists have concluded it's a myth.

Researchers gave alcoholic drinks to 90 volunteers, aged between 19 and 40, as they sought to examine the "influence of the combination and order of beer and wine consumption on hangover intensity".

The drinkers were split into three groups, with the first drinking around two and a half pints of beer followed by four large glasses of white wine.

The second group had the same amount of alcohol but in reverse order, and volunteers in the third group had either only beer or wine.

People drinking in London. Credit: PA

Volunteers were all asked about their hangovers the next day at regular intervals and kept under medical supervision overnight.

Several of the participants vomited and were given a score on a so-called "acute hangover scale", based on factors including thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate and loss of appetite.

They were asked to conduct the experiment again a week later with the first and second study groups switching to the opposite drinking order.

The results revealed no matter what order you knock back your drinks in - if you have too much, you are still likely to be ill.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Using white wine and lager beer, we didn’t find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around," said author Joran Kochling from Germany’s Witten/Herdecke University.

"The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover."

Bottles of beer, lager and wine. Credit: PA

Dr Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at Cambridge University and senior author of the study, said: "Unpleasant as hangovers are, we should remember that they do have one important benefit, at least: they are a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to change their future behaviour.

"In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes."

Asked about the reasons for conducting the study, he said: “Firstly, 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."