Everyone may have their own hangover ‘cure,’ from Gatorade, to aspirin, to chugging water before falling asleep. And a slew of new hangover cures have popped up this year – such as the hangover pill that prevents dehydration, the ‘Hydration Station’ spa, or even simply the fad of drinking Sprite to make you feel better after a night out.
Sprite, for example, was found to quicken the metabolic process of alcohol, as it turns alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) into acetaldehyde. Compared to several teas and various soft drinks, Chinese researchers actually found that Sprite made the metabolization of alcohol in the body faster, decreasing the amount of time a person had to deal with side effects like hangovers.
Perhaps you can quicken the metabolic process, or prevent a hangover completely, with something delicious, buttery and soft: like comfort food. Gastroenterologists suggest eating fatty foods doesn’t necessarily “line your stomach” per se, but it may provide a better foundation for your stomach to handle alcohol.
“It’s not about lining your stomach as such – but if you put fat in your stomach before a drink, once it gets into the duodenum [the first part of the small intestine] it will slow down gastric emptying, so that drink will not be emptied so quickly from the stomach,” Dr. Nick Read, a gastroenterologist and medical adviser to the IBS Network, told the Daily Mail. “This means you’ll get drunk less quickly, which could mean a milder hangover.”
Hangovers are mostly the result of dehydration, which occurs after a night of drinking since alcohol is a diuretic – meaning it leads to the production of urine. Headache, nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness are common features of hangovers.
“The rate of alcohol absorption depends not only on the presence or absence of food, but also on the type of food present,” the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes on its website. “Foods with a higher fat content require more time to leave the stomach; consequently, eating fatty foods will allow alcohol absorption to take place over a long time.”
“In some cultures, they drink olive oil before alcohol for this reason,” Dr. Read continued. “The same applies to mashed potatoes: some people say you should have two spoonfuls with plenty of butter before a drink. It’s the fat in the butter that’s important.”
However, even if you happen to be a lucky person who doesn’t get hangovers, it doesn’t mean your body isn’t experiencing the complete effects of alcohol – which can be damaging in excessive amounts. “It’s true that some people are less prone to hangovers,” Dr. Sarah Jarvis, a medical adviser to the charity Drinkaware, told the Daily Mail. “But that does not mean they are immune to the longer-term effects of alcohol.”