Will Beer Before Liquor Really Make You Sicker?

Picture this — it's been a long week of grueling work and countless hours spent at the office. At long last, Friday at five o'clock arrives. You ditch the office apparel for something more or less appropriate and prepare to blow off steam with friends and cocktails. Maybe you'll indulge in a beer in between cosmopolitans and martinis, because hey, it's Friday! There's just one catch — you're not in college anymore and your alcohol tolerance is not what it used to be making hangovers worse than ever.

Characterized by throbbing headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, and lethargy, hangovers are caused by the over-consumption of alcohol. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, hangovers are caused by a handful of conditions that occur while drinking including dehydration, exposure to acetaldehyde, increased inflammation in the body, stomach irritation, and disrupted sleep cycles.

But why fear a hangover when there's one simple trick that might keep you from getting sick? You can remember the hack by its popular, punchy catchphrase "Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you're in the clear," (via Healthline).

While it's nice to hold onto the idea that you can circumnavigate hangovers by consuming alcohol in a specific order of operations, the catchphrase is baloney.

There are better ways to avoid alcohol sickness

Let's be real, no one wants to deal with a hangover. They affect your body and mood in equal parts and can decimate your chances of having a productive day. Unfortunately, the order in which you consume your alcohol has nothing to do with the severity of the hangover you'll get from it. According to Healthline, the popular phrase might originate from the social tendency to consume alcoholic beverages with a lower ABV, like beer, at the beginning of the night before drunkenly ordering shots at the bar later in the night, leading to a nasty hangover.

However, the reality is as harsh as hangovers themselves. By the time you wake up in the morning after a night of drinking, all of the alcohol has been absorbed by your body and the hangover kicks in. Regardless of how you drink, if you drink too much, it will catch up to you all the same. Whether you enjoy liquor or beer first, it all goes to the same place and leads to the same result — a hangover (per Healthline).

The best way to avoid a hangover is painfully obvious — avoid alcohol entirely. But if you do choose to consume alcohol, Healthline suggests not drinking on an empty stomach, avoiding nicotine, and limiting just how much you consume. And as always, drink responsibly!