There are many theories about what causes hangovers. Many people think that drinks with a higher alcohol content
cause greater hangovers, other people believe that it is related to the sugar or even the components of the drink, but today we will tell you the reality.
The central part of an alcoholic beverage is ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. But there are other compounds in alcohol as well. They are called congeners, and experts suggest they may be the cause of hangovers.
Typically, dark alcohol or darker colored beverages have higher levels of congeners than lighter colored alcoholic beverages.
What are congeners?
During the distillation or fermentation process in alcohol manufacturing, manufacturers also produce congeners.
Yeast ferments sugars and turns them into alcohol. It does this by converting the amino acids from sugars into ethanol. Congeners are a byproduct of this reaction.
The amount of congeners in a drink depends on the carbohydrate used, the original sugar, and the strain of yeast that ferments the sugar. Likewise, the amount of congeners in alcohol made from grapes or cereal grains also differs.
Some congeners produced in the distillation process are
These compounds are responsible for giving flavor and aroma to the alcoholic beverage. Thus, the amount of congeners in a drink gives it a particular flavor profile.
For example, acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that gives rum and bourbon a fruity smell. For its part, isobutyl alcohol is an alcohol that has a sweet smell.
All types of alcohol contain an active ingredient called ethanol. But during the fermentation process, toxic secondary products called "congeners" are also usually formed. And according to several studies, as we have previously noted, alcoholic beverages with large amounts of congeners appear to increase the frequency and intensity of hangovers, because the body has difficulty breaking them down.
Hangover depending on the drink
How long does a hangover last
with your favorite drink? How much hangover does each drink give? Not all drinks leave the same hangover, as we have said it depends on the production process. Below, we analyze some of our favorite drinks and the chances of them leaving you with a hangover.
For many of us, Russia's national drink is associated with questionable life decisions (no surprise, considering most brands are 40% alcohol mixed with water).
But a study by the British Medical Journal found that vodka is actually the drink least likely to cause a hangover: it's so pure that it contains virtually no congeners.
Ideally, mix vodka with a soft drink or fruit juice, as sugary soft drinks can contribute to headaches the morning after the night before. But be careful. Because vodka is almost tasteless, it's easy to drink too much by accident.
Clear spirits in general
Other colorless drinks, such as white rum, sake and gin, are similarly low in congeners (although not as low as vodka) and are therefore less likely to make you feel sick. It's no surprise that craft gin is on the rise.
Darker liquors with more congeners, such as whiskey and bourbon, cause much more severe hangovers than clear or lighter-colored liquors. One of the congeners, methanol (found in the highest levels of whiskey and red wine), has been found to remain in the body after all the alcohol has been removed, which could explain why a Jack's hangover Daniels can knock you out for days.
Many of us are attracted to champagne, especially on New Year's. But Boris Tabakoff, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado, explains that bubbly drinks like prosecco, champagne and cava can also cause a deadly hangover.
Are conspecifics really responsible for hangovers?
Research shows that conspecifics may be responsible for hangovers, but they are not the only cause.
The common belief is that hangovers are due to dehydration. However, congeners also influence the severity of the hangover.
However, people can drink a variety of alcoholic beverages with congeners in varying amounts. The hangover is the collective effect of these drinks. Although there is not enough research in this area, there is evidence that drinks with high concentration congeners cause more severe hangovers. It takes fewer drinks high in congeners to get a hangover.
The body has to break down all the components of the alcoholic beverage to recover from a hangover. A congener hangover can occur if you have had a couple of drinks high in congeners the night before. Since the body also needs to break down congeners and ethanol, hangover symptoms last longer.
In a 2010 study, researchers asked study subjects to consume placebo, vodka, and bourbon. Next, they were asked about their hangovers. Participants who consumed bourbon had more severe hangovers compared to the group that drank vodka.
Therefore, they concluded that high-binding beverages cause severe hangovers even when consumed in the same quantity as low-binding beverages.