Sugary Alcoholic Drinks and Bad Hangovers: The Sugar Connection

Do sugary drinks give cause a hangover

Have you ever noticed that some hangovers are worse than others? There are a lot of factors that make up how bad your hangover experience will be, but a lot of it has to do with the sugar content. Liquor also plays a role but to a different degree.

Sugar and alcohol both have a lot in common.

They both cause dehydration and they are both processed through the liver. These commonalities mean that, when combined, sugary, alcoholic drinks produce a much more severe hangover than alcohol alone. There are many theories as to why sugary alcoholic beverages seem to result in a worse hangover than low(er) sugar counterparts, but no real proof positive.

Daiquiris, sweet martinis, and Mai Tai’s all contain sugar and alcohol.

Many people have noted that the cause of hangovers is dehydration. As noted above, both sugar and alcohol are dehydrating. Therefore, combining sugar with alcohol causes a double dose of dehydration –which is why many drinkers advocate drinking water with your alcoholic beverage. Dehydration also causes your body to lose vital nutrients and minerals. Since sugar doesn’t provide any nutritional value, your body is continually depleted.

Your liver also plays a role in processing both alcohol and sugar.

The liver has difficulty processing alcohol and may be too busy trying to process it to help control your sugar, making it seem like you get drunk faster with a more severe hangover.

You can help to mitigate the hangovers caused by drinking sugary, alcoholic drinks.

One is to choose your liquor carefully. Try drinking liquor that has a lower alcohol content so that you can drink more without experiencing bad hangovers.

If you enjoy mixed drinks, try skipping fruit juices and colas in favor of fresh fruit, like a lime wedge and maybe a splash of seltzer. Just be careful, carbonation has been linked to bad hangovers. Think champagne. Sweet dessert wines are also culprits of bad hangovers since they are high in sugar. Try a light beer as an alternative. Try switching up your favorite drink or limiting your consumption of sugary, alcoholic beverages to just one to beat sugar hangovers.

Learning to manage sugary alcohol drinks is especially important if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia. It is also important to know which alcoholic beverages have a lot of sugar if you have a sugar intolerance to sucrose or fructose and need to avoid those sugars. Try pairing your drink with food to maintain a steadier blood-sugar level and to help save your liver from working overtime. Also, stay hydrated. Drinking water, either as a mixer or in addition to your drink, can help save you from a hangover.
 

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