Bacon Sandwich Really Does Cure Hangovers?

By Potter · Apr 9, 2009 · ·
  1. Potter
    Researchers claim food also speeds up the metabolism helping the body get rid of the booze more quickly.

    Elin Roberts, of Newcastle University's Centre for Life said: "Food doesn't soak up the alcohol but it does increase your metabolism helping you deal with the after-effects of over indulgence. So food will often help you feel better.
    "Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good."
    Ms Roberts told The Mirror: "Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of aminos which tops these up, giving you a clearer head."

    Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible.

    The reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat is what provides the sandwich with its appeal.

    Ms Roberts said: "The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There's something deeper going on inside. It's not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on.

    "Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it's made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who's been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn't taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour."

    She explained that the reaction released hundreds of smells and flavours but it is the smell which reels in the eater. "Smell and taste are really closely linked," she said. "If we couldn't smell then taste wouldn't be the same."


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  1. Gradient

    Interesting article. Now I admit that I haven't done much research on the neurological dynamics underlying a hangover, but if memory serves, hangovers are primarily a byproduct of dehydration of the body and brain (along with the accommodation of alcohol by relevant organs). I don't firmly understand how the organic components inside the bacon sandwich act to alleviate symptoms caused by this; perhaps, and quite likely, there is more to a hangover than I've been exposed to!

    There is one minor assertion by the article that I take issue with. In terms of neurotransmitter depletion - it's certainly true that amino acids are the precursors to a few of the neurotransmitters important to mood (predominantly catecholamines from tyrosine, and serotonin from tryptophan). However, the distribution of amino acids present in the bacon (or any red-meat) will generally tend to have lower quantities of these amino acids, and higher quantities of more structurally-related ones like valine, leucine, and isoleucine. When the brain absorbs precursors to neurotransmitters, due to electrostatic interactions, the presence of other amino acids renders the uptake of important precursors to be limited, and thus inhibited. Therefore, when one eats a big steak for dinner, many compounds that are critical to the synthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are prevented from entering the brain (including co-factors like vitamin B6 for example). I've been told that a carbohydrate-rich diet, supplemented with such amino acid precursors, therefore, would function to best 'prime' relevant neurons to synthesize their appropriate neurotransmitters in the hopes of improving mood. Of course, all of this remains speculative and based upon conventional models of neurotransmitter synthesis and amino-acid interactions.

    Sorry for the clunky post, but this article sparked some interest. It's certainly nice to have a reliable hangover cure!

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