What Is a Hangover Anyway?
A hangover is the collection of physical and mental symptoms that occur after excessive alcohol consumption. Some scientists suggest that a hangover is actually the first stage of alcohol withdrawal. It typically occurs the morning after drinking and can last for several hours or even a full day. Hangovers are caused by the body's reaction to alcohol, which is a central nervous system depressant. When consumed in large amounts, alcohol can disrupt the body's normal functions and cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea/vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue/insomnia, and thirst/dry mouth.
One of the primary causes of a hangover is acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical produced when the body metabolizes alcohol. Other factors that can contribute to a hangover include dehydration, low blood sugar, and the presence of congeners, which are impurities found in some types of alcohol.
Factors That Influence Hangovers
So why do hangovers happen? One of the primary factors that influences the likelihood of a hangover is how much alcohol you consume. The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to experience a hangover. This is because the body can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time, and when you drink more than your body can handle, the excess alcohol remains in your system and causes hangover symptoms.
Another factor that can influence whether or not you get a hangover is the type of alcohol you consume. Some types of alcohol, such as red wine and whiskey, contain higher levels of congeners, which are impurities that can contribute to the severity of a hangover. Darker drinks tend to have more congeners than lighter drinks, such as vodka or gin, so if you’re trying to avoid a hangover, you may want to opt for a lighter color.
Other factors that can influence a hangover include your body weight, body fat percentage, hydration levels, and food consumption. People who are overweight or have a higher body fat percentage may be more prone to hangovers because alcohol is absorbed more slowly in fat tissue. Additionally, if you’re dehydrated, you may be more likely to experience a hangover because alcohol can contribute to dehydration. It’s generally recommended to eat a meal or snack before drinking alcohol, especially if you’ll be consuming alcohol over an extended period of time. Consuming food before drinking can help to slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, which can help to reduce the intensity of the effects of alcohol.
Finally, the ingredients present in the drinks you consume can also influence whether or not you get a hangover. Mixers, sodas, and syrups that are high in sugar can cause an increase in blood sugar levels and can contribute to dehydration. Other drink ingredients can have negative effects on the body and contribute to the severity of a hangover, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re drinking and how much.
How to Find the Best Beer for No Hangover
If you're looking to avoid a hangover after a night of drinking beer, there are a few things to consider. Some beers may contain additives or preservatives that could potentially contribute to the severity of a hangover. Additionally, lighter beers tend to have fewer congeners while also having the added benefit of fewer calories (like Island Active, which has only 88 calories). Finally, pay attention to your overall alcohol intake and try to drink in moderation to minimize the risk of a hangover.
Choosing a clean, all-natural beer (like any of our delicious lagers!) that contains high-quality ingredients is an important step toward living a hangover-free life. There are several ingredients that you’ll want to actively avoid.
One type of ingredient we avoid in our beer is artificial flavors. It’s possible that artificial flavors used in beer may contribute to the severity of a hangover, although the research on this topic is limited. Some people may be sensitive to certain artificial flavors and may experience negative side effects, such as digestive issues or allergic reactions, when consuming them.
Another ingredient we avoid is fillers. Some common types of fillers used in beer include corn, rice, and oats, which can all be sources of gluten. Additives and preservatives may have negative effects on the body when consumed in large quantities. These ingredients can contribute to the severity of a hangover by causing digestive issues or other unpleasant symptoms.
Additionally, many beers contain added sugars, which most definitely can cause dehydration and contribute to a hangover. These sugars can also contribute to weight gain and other health problems if consumed in excess.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to avoid beers that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are organisms that have had their DNA modified in a laboratory setting, and they are often used in the production of beer ingredients such as corn, wheat, and barley. GMO crops may cause allergic reactions in some individuals due to the fact that they often contain proteins that are not naturally found in the original plant and have the potential to exacerbate a hangover.
AIM FOR LIGHTER BEER
A no-hangover beer likely contains fewer congeners, so think ‘light’ (like Island Active). In addition to containing fewer congeners, lighter beers also tend to have fewer calories than darker beers, so it’s a win-win. If you're trying to watch your calorie intake, choosing a lighter beer can be a good way to reduce your calorie count while simultaneously reducing the potential for a hangover. There are many different types of light beers on the market, so it's worth taking some time to explore your options and find a beer that you enjoy.
DRINK IN MODERATION
Finally, the simplest and best way to help prevent a hangover when drinking beer is to drink in moderation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that men consume no more than two drinks per day and that women consume no more than one drink per day. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
If you're struggling to stay healthy while still enjoying a drink, it can be helpful to have a plan in place to help you stay on track. For example, you might consider setting limits for yourself, such as only allowing yourself to have one or two drinks per night, or only drinking on certain days of the week. You might also consider finding alternative ways to relax and unwind, such as taking a walk, meditating, or practicing yoga.
Wake Up Hangover Free With Clean, Active Beer
There are several factors that can impact the severity of a hangover, including the type and amount of alcohol consumed, individual differences in how the body processes alcohol, and the presence of congeners (byproducts of alcohol fermentation) in the drink. To help avoid a hangover, it’s important to drink in moderation, stay hydrated, and consider the type of alcohol being consumed.