Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pear juice, coffee, water, or Hair of the Dog won't cure alcohol hangovers

A July 2015 junk-science news article claimed pear juice cuts hangover symptoms.  A more recent news piece suggests that traditional hangover prevention tactics like loading up on greasy food or pounding water aren't really effective.  An article called Bourbon Legends on back in 2013 debunked all those over the counter remedies, urban legends and old-wives tales about how to beat back the misery.  Instinctively, everyone knows there is no Holy Grail of hangover helpers, and one sure-fire prevention method. (Share the YouTube video or read the full article.)

Old tactics like 'Beer before liquor, never sicker' just defy math.  Having three beers before two shots of tequila or two shots before three beers still adds up to five drinks. The stomach and small intestine are responsible for absorbing the alcohol and make no distinction. All alcohol varieties metabolize at the same rate.

Other nutty experiments include eating pasta before bed, popping pain relievers and downing coffee. Eating before bed only widens the waistline. Popping acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) while or after drinking can permanently damage the liver. Drinking coffee only makes a wide-awake drunk.

It's merely urban legend that wine and diet drinks avoid hangovers. Wine – especially red wine – is actually worse than vodka, gin or other clearer drinks. Red wines contain tannins, which can turn a bad headache into an all-dayer.  A 2013 study appearing in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (see related article) determined that diet sodas increase blood alcohol concentration (BAC) because of how the stomach processes the artificial sweeteners.

Throwing up only empties the stomach and it's too late anyway. Alcohol is absorbed very quickly by the stomach and small intestine linings, which may have already begun to speed the alcohol to the bloodstream well before the finger-in-the-throat trick. 'Hair of the Dog' fixes nothing.  Morning drinking is a sign of alcohol abuse and the disease of alcoholism. More alcohol never helped anyone. It only postpones the hangover, which has its worst symptoms when the BAC reaches .00.

The only proven cure is time... or just not drinking.

Visit for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today.