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Whisky hangover 'worse than vodka, a study suggests'

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Whisky hangover 'worse than vodka, a study suggests'
    Drinking whisky will result in a worse hangover than vodka, according to research by US scientists.

    The reason might lie in the number of molecules called "congeners" which it contains compared to vodka, the Brown University team said.
    But the study also suggested that sticking to vodka all night rather than whisky would not improve your performance at work the next day.
    The study is published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

    The 95 volunteers for the research, all healthy alcohol users, had one night of "acclimatisation" before drinking either whisky or vodka the following night.

    They were given enough alcohol to put them a third over the legal driving limit for the UK.

    On the third night they were given a "placebo" drink containing no alcohol.
    On each occasion, they were then asked how they felt the following day, and were tested on how well they could concentrate on tasks.

    The volunteers who drank whisky reported far more hangover symptoms such as headache nausea, thirst and fatigue compared with those who drank vodka.

    However, the overall performance at the concentration task was roughly the same between the two groups.

    Professor Damaris Rohsenow, who led the research at Brown University in Rhode Island, said: "While people felt worse, they didn't perform worse after bourbon (a type of whisky made in the US) than after vodka."

    He said that the study also showed that workers in "safety-sensitive" roles could be impaired by drinking - long after the alcohol itself had disappeared from the bloodstream.

    Chemical trace
    The study, which also monitored sleeping patterns in the volunteers, found that disrupted sleep was no worse in either group.

    The reason why whisky might cause more unpleasant hangovers might lie in the number of molecules called "congeners" which it contains compared to vodka, said Professor Rohsenow.

    These include small amounts of chemicals such as acetone, acetaldehyde and tannins.

    Chris Sorek, the chief executive of charity Drinkaware, said that social drinkers should be aware that no alcoholic drink removed the risk of a hangover.

    He said: "Christmas is a time to socialise and celebrate, but many people will be drinking excessively - drinking too much of any alcoholic drink can have a number of undesirable short and long-term effects."

    While exceeding recommended daily limits might mean hangovers the following day, he said, in the long term, regular heavy drinking could increase the risk of cancer or liver disease.

    Saturday, 19 December 2009



  1. Nature Boy
    This is pretty common knowledge. Darker drinks, especially in the case of wines and spirits, result in messier hangovers. Thankfully SWIM doesn't get very bad hangovers. Rarely does he get those severe headaches a lot of people complain about.
  2. dyingtomorrow

    SWIM's liquor of choice is Whiskey. He can pound back a fifth in a night and feel pretty decent the next day. Vodka on the other hand always makes him feel like shit the next day.
  3. rawbeer
    This needs correction for variation - drink a fifth of Glenmorangie in one night, then a fifth of Country Club Vodka (commonly refered to as 'headache in SWIMs town) and see which hurts more.
    But as nature boy said this has been folk wisdom for years, and obvious to anyone who's drank a lot of different stuff. It is interesting to see scientific validation, but it's kind of like proving that oranges are orange.
  4. Hollow Hippie
    I think it's interesting though that they showed what was doing it, common knowledge should be no impediment to science.
  5. rawbeer
    True but SWIM has seen cogeners, tannins, etc. implicated before. Fusel oil is a usual suspect also.
    And notice the language - 'might' - these are still only suspects, this study hasn't actually proven that they're responsible (although I understand that correlation is no proof of causation, they're just being professional with their words, so good for them).
    They have shown that in a controlled study whatever kind of whiskey they used imparted a worse hangover than whatever vodka they use but it still seems over-general. The quality of the spirit (how it was distilled - the cut, that is how much tails and feints remained in the spirit) is just as important as it's style (rum, vodka, etc.) and the real art of distillation, when it comes to dark spirits, is retaining those flavorful esters, oils, cogeners, tannins, etc. while minimizing the toxicity of the drink. Hats off to the people who can make a tasty whisk(e)y that doesn't leave you hurting!
  6. anonuser30500
    Swim would say that its folk lore almost, that clear alcohols are better than the heavily coloured ones.

    But as stated above a lot of factors come into play and you can find shitty illegal vodkas in the UK which will wreck Swims entire body for a few days. A real fine whiskey, costly stuff, usually comes with a better hangover, and mild compared to cheap and nasty booze.

    Some cheap whiskey can give Swim a headache a few minutes after sipping it. A real fine whiskey, the high is better than a shot of cocaine at first. You have to be VERY careful you know your own level when using whiskey.
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