Food & Drink

10 Hangover Myths Busted

Desperate hangovers call for desperate remedies. When the hangover monster comes knocking on your door in the morning, rousing you from your unsettled sleep, you look for any way to slay it. And while there are a few ways to recover faster, there’s quite a bit of curative misinformation floating around. In humanity’s unending quest to assuage the consequences of jovial celebration, a number of hangover myths have arisen, fooling gullible drinkers the world over. We’re here to set the record straight. Here, 10 hangover myths, busted once and for all.

Hair of the Dog Will Fix You

As much as we crave a solid Bloody in the morning and appreciate the more creative boozy curatives out there, we have to admit that the old hair of the dog cure is more fiction than fact. This should come as little surprise considering the phrase originated from a 19th century Scottish folk cure for rabies that required placing the rabid dog’s hair in the wound. Adding more ethanol to your system simply won’t undo the damage you’ve already done.

It will, on the other hand, help delay the inevitable pain. Booze contains trace amounts of methanol, which the body breaks down into formaldehyde about a day after consumption, causing nausea and other sickly symptoms. Ethanol (aka more alcohol) stops the body from going after that methanol, saving you from those symptoms. So mediating methanol levels with a dash of ethanol the next day may actually kind of work—until you finally stop drinking, that is.

Gatorade Is the Ultimate Cure

Gatorade does contain lots of electrolytes (mostly salt molecules that help regulate hydration), but so do many other drinks with less sugar and radioactive coloring. Whether or not you care about your Fitstagram status, coconut water is a much better source for these ionic saviors.

Greasy Food Cures a Hangover

While you should fill the painful void in your stomach, the common instruction to hit up a greasy spoon may actually lead you astray. Better options to cure your hangover include avocado, eggs and bananas. However, with a bit of foresight, you can still justify that burger. Fatty foods can help stave off a hangover when eaten before you begin imbibing.

You Can “Sweat Out” a Hangover

Dragging yourself to the gym will grant you a reward of endorphins, at least helping you feel better about your feeble state, but the sweat you work up by the bucket-load isn’t any different than your everyday stinky runoff. There’s no way to work out the liquor from your system—either it has already passed through your system while you slept, or you’re still drunk and should get far, far away from the treadmill. Don’t skip your 10 a.m. yoga class, but don’t expect to leave your hangover in a puddle on the mat either.

Diet Cocktails Won’t Cause Hangovers

Low-cal drinking will help you maintain your slim waistline, but it won’t cure that nauseous rumble in your tummy. Skip the caloric math and count your drinks instead.

Mixers Hydrate You

Somehow a neat glass of scotch just seems more potent than its tall cousin, the Scotch and Soda, but the former is actually kinder to your system than the fizzy version. Hydration is key to walking the intoxication tightrope, but many falsely assume mixers like soda can take the place of a sidecar of plain water. They can’t. Liquor diluted with water or soda actually absorbs faster than straight spirits. Drink your neat favorites without fear, accompanied by a tall glass of straight H2O.

Painkillers Before Bed Keep a Hangover Away

As bedtime approaches after a night of drinking, so too does the fear of waking up with a horrible hangover. So you pop a few Advil before hitting the hay, in the hopes that it will fight you hungover battles for you while you sleep. Sorry to say, it won’t. The effects will wear off long before you wake, and mixing acetaminophen with booze is a quick way to destroy your liver. Just wait until the morning to medicate.

All Liquors Are Created Equal in the Eyes of a Hangover

Darker spirits like whiskey and rum are heavier in congeners, those nasty hangover-causing byproducts of distillation, than light spirits like gin or vodka. So that Manhattan or Dark 'N' Stormy may weigh heavily on your mind the next morning. Don’t take the color coded guide to the extreme, though, and rule out all dark spirits. Just keep it in mind the next time you’re choosing a nightcap.

Coffee Will Make You Feel Better

Caffeine may cut through the fog that coats your brain like a fuzzy cocoon, but it won’t actually help restore your spirits. However, if you can’t survive an ordinary weekday morning without a cup of Joe, don’t skip it on this of all days—you don’t want to deal with caffeine withdrawal on top of everything else.

Water Alone Will Cure Your Hangover

Don’t get us wrong; hydration is incredibly important to controlling hangover symptoms, both while imbibing and the next morning. But downing glass after glass like Flipper will just make you have to pee. Water is just one of many factors that will help you conquer the pain, but it should be paired with sustenance and rest.