hangovers

Is Hangover-Free Alcohol Coming?

David Nutt, a British professor, has invented a synthetic alcohol that allows people to enjoy the sociable effects of drinking without the hangover that often follows. Nutt calls his invention “alcosynth,” and hopes that it will completely replace normal alcohol by the middle of the century.

Advocates of alcosynth believe that it could greatly reduce the social costs of drinking, which is the third-leading risk factor for death and disease in the UK, after smoking and obesity.

Professor Nutt contends that the beverage industry knows conventional alcohol will disappear, and have been planning for it for years, but doesn’t want the change to happen soon because companies are making so much money from conventional alcohol. He thinks that a health-conscious public will demand a no-hangover alternative.

Neil Williams, from British Beer and Pub Association, claims there’s no need for alcosynth, pointing out that there are other ways to avoid a hangover, such as limiting consumption and sticking to lower-strength beverages.

Hangover Cure? Scientists Are Working on It

Did you know that scientists have formed an Alcohol Hangover Research Group? A few weeks ago, Olga Khazan of The Atlantic sat down with Richard Stephens, a member of the group and a professor of psychology at Keele University in the U.K.

Professor Stephens had a number of interesting observations. Alcoholics, who ought to have the most experience warding off hangovers, actually suffer the worst ones. One big contributor to hangovers is the production of formaldehyde and formic acid, which happens about ten hours after drinking—which is why the proverbial “hair of the dog” can make hangovers less painful. There’s no cure for hangovers—yet—but a big fried breakfast can help because it’s rich in carbohydrates, which replace depleted sugar levels. And finally, more than 20 percent of drinkers aren’t susceptible to hangovers. Lucky them.

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