The more you drink, the greater the chance you will get a hangover – and there is no way to prevent it, scientists have said. Researchers said that even drinking water and eating directly after drinking does not significantly reduce people's hangovers.
The scientists surveyed the drinking habits of 789 Canadian students who were asked about the number of drinks they had, the time period they were consumed in and the severity of their hangovers. They presented their findings at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Amsterdam.
Lead author Joris Verster, from the Utrecht University said: "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. 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."
Their findings showed that four fifths of people who claimed not to have hangovers had an estimated blood alcohol level of less than 0.10% - around twice the safe driving limits of 0.05% in many European countries.
Following this, the team looked at whether eating and drinking water after drinking alcohol means people are less likely to get hangovers. They asked 826 Dutch students whether they had food or water after their last heavy drinking session. Over 50% said they had. After rating their hangovers, scientists found no major difference in hangover severity between the two groups.
Verster said: "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."
UCL's Michael Bloomfield, who commented on the study for the ECNP, said: "Throughout the world the economic and social costs of alcohol abuse run into hundreds of billions of euros per year. It's therefore very important to answer simple questions like 'how do you avoid a hangover?' Whilst further research is needed, this new research tells us that the answer is simple - 'drink less'."