Wouldn't it be great if there was a magic way to prevent a hangover? Many people have special tricks for preventing a pounding headache after a night of imbibing — like drinking Pedialyte before going to bed or eating asparagus to break down the alcohol in their system. Another common method for avoiding a hangover is to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.
A new study says none of those methods does much to prevent a hangover. It points to the one way you can avoid feeling miserable the morning after a night of heavy drinking: drink less alcohol.
(I did say you weren't going to like it.)
Researchers in the Netherlands and Canada surveyed students' drinking habits to find out if their methods of preventing hangovers were effective, BBC reports. Eating fatty foods or a heavy breakfast, drinking water while drinking alcohol, and drinking a lot of water before going to bed were common measures that students thought could prevent a hangover.
Students reported that they felt "slightly" better after drinking water before bed, but it didn't prevent the severity of their hangovers. Heads still pounded and stomachs still felt upset.
And remember that old adage — beer before wine, and you'll feel fine? Well, that's not true either. Another study, this one covered in New Scientist, shattered that myth by looking at 90 volunteers who separated into three groups. The bottom line? A hangover is a hangover is a hangover.
The solution is simple
As of now, there's no way to prevent a hangover because scientists still don't know what causes a hangover in the first place. Dehydration is only part of it, according to Dr. Joris Verster of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
"Research has concluded that it's not simply dehydration — we know the immune system is involved, but before we know what causes it, it's very unlikely we'll find an effective cure."
This raises a good question: How important is it to find a cure for this? We know that the sure-fire way to prevent a hangover is to drink less. Would people over-imbibe more often if they didn't have to worry about how they'd feel the next day? Of course they would.
Maybe a hangover is one those things we don't need to find a cure for.
Editor's note: This story was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated with new information.