Want to make New Year’s Day feel as good as New Year’s Eve? Here’s how to have that toast (or two or three) and not hurt so much in the morning.
According to a new review of research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it takes five to seven alcoholic drinks for men and three to five drinks for women to feel a hangover. And the consequences aren’t just limited to partying a bit too hard the night before — one study found that hangovers cost the U.S. $2,000 per year per working adult in lost productivity.
When it comes to avoiding that horrible morning after (and not being such a drain on the national economy), remember that the two triggers of hangovers are — no surprise — alcohol and sugar. Opt for drinks with lower alcohol content and avoid sugary mixers. And “with any kind of alcohol, remember to drink after you put some food in your stomach. A well-balanced meal high in protein will help keep you full and less susceptible to overindulging,” says Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a weight-management expert and medical director for bistroMD.
So to make this year different (at least that’s our resolution) here’s what she recommends you enjoy this New Year’s Eve:
Liquor: Stick with the clearer varieties, such as vodka and gin, since dark liquors like bourbon and rum contain congeners, which are the byproducts of distillation and can increase the frequency and severity of hangovers in some people. Too much sugar from mixers can also lead to a headache, so avoiding them is another way to keep the nausea at bay the next morning.
And if you’re trying to slim down, “Jack Daniels whiskey and vodka have only 55 calories per shot, so they are a good option when watching calories,” says Cederquist. “However, watch what you mix them with. Many mixers have double or even triple the calories than the liquor you’re drinking. Consider mixing with water or a low-calorie juice.”
Wine: Our bodies produce a chemical called acetaldehyde when we break down alcohol, and overindulging leads to an excess that contributes to headaches and vomiting. So avoiding booze with higher levels of acetaldehyde — like wine — might minimize hangover symptoms. But you won’t have to give up your vino completely — oenophiles recommend dry reds with lower alcohol content, and drinking a glass of water between each helping of wine to prevent acetaldehyde from building up to hangover-worthy levels.
Beer: For some, it’s easier to drink beer in moderation, since the premium varieties tend to fill you up with their proteins and unfermentable sugars; if you decide to opt for a cold one, however, Cederquist recommends light beer — it contains less alcohol and fewer calories than regular beer.
And if you forget all of this advice and get carried away this New Year’s Eve, there’s always this: one study from the Annals review found that taking a vitamin B6 supplement reduced the number of hangover symptoms by 50%.