You can skip the water and late-night fries next time you're out drinking if you're consuming them to stave off a bad morning. Tactics to prevent hangovers when you've had too much might be a waste of your time.
Researchers in the Netherlands and Canada surveyed nearly 800 Canadian students about their hardest-partying night in the past month, asking them to recall how many drinks they had and over what period of time, plus the severity of their hangover, if any, the next day.
The authors estimated the students' peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and found that 89 percent of drinkers with a BAC of 0.08 percent said they had hangovers the next day. (As a reference, 0.08 percent is the legal limit for driving in the United States.) That number rose to 92 percent of participants with a BAC of 0.1 getting a hangover, and 98 percent with BACs at or above 0.2 had the familiar nausea, headache, and other assorted symptoms in the morning. As lead researcher Joris Verster, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology at Utrecht University, told the BBC, "The more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover." Science!
A few caveats: This was an observational paper asking people to recall information (about drinking, no less), and the study hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed journal — the data was presented over the weekend at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Amsterdam. But it supports Verster's previous research, which found that downing water (along with booze or before bed) or eating food after drinking only made a slight improvement in next-day misery compared to people who just let it ride. Verster told the BBC that the next step to figuring out hangovers is to conduct controlled trials, which means some lab rats are going to get paid to drink — and then pay the price.