The Real Reason Hangovers Cause Greasy Food Cravings

The perfect cure for a hangover is a perennial debate, with remedies ranging from raw eggs and hot sauce to gallons of Gatorade. Some sufferers swear by pain relievers served on a pile of pancakes, while others insist that grease is their go-to for hangover relief.

Now that the room has stopped spinning, let's look at what brings on a hangover in the first place. According to Harvard Health Publishing, hangover symptoms occur as blood alcohol levels start decreasing, leading to over-indulgence to combat the oncoming ailments. This painful meeting with rock bottom is also why people recommend a little hair of the dog that bit you, but that's only a temporary bump in relief that leads to another crash.

Mental Floss suggests that instead of bemoaning your lack of willpower, you can point the finger at a chemical in the brain called galanin. A study shows that drinking alcohol produces galanin, and galanin makes you want to drink more alcohol. Hangover Hospital explains that this pesky chemical is also linked to cravings for fatty foods. Regardless of what brought you to this painful moment, your hangover has arrived — it's time to roll out of bed at the crack of noon and head to the nearest greasy spoon.

How does greasy food help a hangover?

The science behind the fatty food phenomenon might explain why greasy foods can help a hangover. According to Medical News Today, healthy fats aid in nutrient absorption and slow digestion, giving your body something to work on and restoring depleted reserves. Fatty foods also help maintain hormone and memory functions. While you may not want to remember what you did last night, that double-double might help your hangover become a distant memory.

David Levitsky of Cornell University College of Human Ecology tells Mental Floss: "One of the most powerful laws in psychology is the law of least effort. We go for calorically dense food because it takes the minimum of preparation and yields [the] highest caloric payoff." When a hangover brings you down, you can benefit from a healthy slice of avocado toast, but you're probably going to crawl over to that cheese pizza instead.

Looking for an excuse to scarf down that cheesesteak? You might be interested in the theory that greasy foods can stop a hangover before it even starts. Hangover Hospital suggests that the high fat content of unctuous foods can coat the stomach lining with grease that prevents the absorption of alcohol and decreases the severity of your upcoming hangover. Whether you live by the motto, "bacon before beer, never fear," or you prefer to stumble into a plate of mozzarella sticks in the wee morning hours, you may be able to leave your hangover at the diner door.