Table of Contents
A huge, greasy fry up is usually enough to help anyone struggling with a hangover.
But is ploughing through plate piled high in eggs, bacon and sausage really the best way of getting over the night before?
MailOnline asked the experts for their opinions… and no, they don’t recommend the hair of the dog.
MailOnline asked the experts for their opinions… and no, they don’t recommend the hair of the dog
A Full English
Expert ranking: 6/10
Most Brits’ go-to hangover cure is a big, greasy full English breakfast.
And there could be some science behind why eating a plate full of eggs makes you feel better.
They are packed with an amino acid called cysteine, which breaks down alcohol into water and carbon dioxide.
In a 1974 lab study, rats were fed lethal amounts of acetaldehyde — a toxin the body produces when it breaks down alcohol. Rats that were given cysteine were more likely to survive than those that did not.
However, Dr Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian at Birmingham’s Aston University, noted that the evidence cysteine works as a hangover cure is limited.
A full English breakfast is the go to hangover cure and eggs could be the reason why it works. Eggs take the edge off a hangover due to their high levels of cysteine found in the amino acids
Aside to the protein, there isn’t any evidence that the other vital parts of a fry-up — sausages, bacon and beans — can cure your hangover.
But nutritionist Helen Bannister, from Helen Jane Nutrition, recommends sticking to eating eggs when hungover, rather than a full fry up.
As well as the cysteine in eggs breaking down alcohol, the food is also a source of other key nutrients, she told MailOnline.
Ms Bannister said: ‘Eggs are also a great source of protein to help balance blood sugar levels keep us going throughout the day so instead of a full fry up opt for scrambled or poached eggs.’
Despite the limited evidence, many Brits remain convinced that a fry up will cure their hangover woes.
A One Poll survey of 2,000 Brits in 2016, revealed that four in 10 who chose to eat a fry up reported recovering from their hangover in less than three hours.
That is in comparison to those who took painkillers (19 per cent) and those who just stayed in bed (13 per cent).
Expert ranking: 3/10
Pizza, burgers, and chips are tempting when you have a hangover.
But it probably isn’t the best thing to eat, according to experts.
London-based registered dietitian Jo Travers explained that for the liver to process alcohol after drinking, it has to put other jobs on the back burner.
She told MailOnline: ‘One of the liver’s functions is to release stored carbohydrate into the bloodstream when blood sugar dips too low.
‘This is why people often crave carbs on a hangover as this job isn’t being done very efficiently.
The body craves carbohydrates on a hangover to help pick up blood sugar levels. That’s why pizza, burgers and chips are up there with people’s top hangover cures. But, experts say it’s not the best for a hangover
‘This can be counterproductive and can lead to a cycle of spiking and crashing.’
So, rather than turning to pizza, she recommends eating a small portion of wholegrain carbs alongside protein and fibre to maintain even blood sugar levels.
Eating too much junk food will also increase cravings, according to Ms Bannister.
She said: ‘Crashes cause symptoms such as mood swings (including feeling ‘hangry’), increased food cravings, feeling more hungry as well crashing our energy levels.’
Expert ranking: 5/10
Providing fluid and electrolytes, smoothies will help to combat one of the biggest contributors to a hangover — dehydration.
Because alcohol is a diuretic and increases your urine output, this can make you more dehydrated.
This is especially the case if you sweat or vomit.
Dehydration will give you a splitting headache, make you tired and feel a bit lightheaded.
So, a smoothie might just be the thing to help.
Fruits and vegetables are easier on your digestive system than greasy and fried foods, which is especially important when you are experiencing nausea or stomach discomfort. Hydrating is also key when recovering from a hangover
Ms Bannister explained: ‘When you are dehydrated you also lose electrolytes, which are essential minerals such as potassium and sodium.
‘We can boost these through the foods we eat.
‘Bananas are particularly rich in potassium as well as avocados, beans, lentils, vegetables like spinach and broccoli, and nuts and seeds.’
But water is better if you want to simply hydrate.
It’s a healthy and cheap option, says registered dietitian Tai Ibitoye.
She told MailOnline: ‘It is important to prioritise good fluid intake in the morning and throughout the day. Drink plenty of water.
‘If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, mint or infuse with fruits. You could also add some no-added-sugar squash or fruit juice for flavour.’
Coffee, although good at making you feel more alert, should be avoided.
It is also a diuretic and may dehydrate the body further and exacerbate hangover symptoms, Ms Ibitoye added.
Fruit and veg
Expert ranking: 7/10
It’s a less popular hangover cure but eating your five-a-day after a night of booze might be the kindest thing to give your body.
Fruits and vegetables are easier on your digestive system than greasy and fried foods, which is especially important when you are experiencing nausea or stomach discomfort, nutritionist Kim Pearson told MailOnline.
She said: ‘Finding an appealing way to eat them when you’re hungover is key.
‘For example, try an omelette or frittata, or a berry smoothie with frozen berries, avocado and a good quality berry protein powder.’
Eating these healthy foods will also help you replenish vitamins.
Fruits and vegetables are easier on your digestive system than greasy and fried foods, which is especially important when you are experiencing nausea or stomach discomfort, nutritionist Kim Pearson told MailOnline
Ms Travers said: ‘Fruit and vegetables can provide antioxidants which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals produced when alcohol is metabolised too, so including these are good.
‘B vitamins are also depleted when processing alcohol so taking a B-complex supplement may help your recovery, but the jury is still out on this.’
Although she encourages people to eat their veggies, she admits a full English may also do the job because it contains carbohydrates and proteins.
She said: ‘A slice of wholegrain toast with peanut butter and some slices of tomato or avocado would fulfil all these criteria but so might a fry up if you stick to healthier options and watch the portion sizes.
‘Not too much processed meat — baked beans, tomatoes, egg and granary toast, for example.’
Hair of the dog
Expert ranking: 0/10
If you find yourself suffering the unpleasant effects of a night of drinking, you might be tempted to try the hair of the dog.
But does this trick of consuming alcohol as a hangover remedy actually ‘cure’ your sore head?
Well, unfortunately experts say it simply delays the inevitable hangover and might even make it worse.
Ms Ibitoye said: ‘Avoid the hair of the dog — it may postpone the hangover but will get worse when it is experienced.
‘Also, the routine “hair of the dog” drinking can result to increased tolerance of alcohol and this could lead to alcohol dependence.’
Unfortunately experts say hair of the dog simply delays the inevitable hangover and it might even make it worse
Miss Pearson also agrees that continuing to drink is never a good idea.
She said: ‘Drinking more alcohol only delays the inevitable and can lead to even more severe hangover symptoms later on.’
She added: ‘It is much better to focus on healthy habits such as drinking plenty of water, eating a nutritious meal, and getting plenty of rest to help your body recover from a night of drinking.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide