Use your head to prevent rude awakening in 1998

December 31, 1997|By Knight-Ridder News Service

In Germany it is a katzenjammer, translated as "wailing of cats."

In France they say guele de bois, meaning "wooden throat."

In Norway it is called jeg har tommermen, which means literally "carpenters in my head."

It is the pounding head, gurgling stomach and lack of energy known to Americans -- particularly after tonight -- as the hangover.

In 1994, Skyy Vodka bragged in ads that it was a "no hangover" alcohol.

The ad campaign was banned by government regulators who disputed the claim, but the ads underscore the fact that more drinkers are wary of hangovers. For those revelers who drink tonight, here's how to minimize the New Year's pain.

Drink light spirits. The darker and more opaque the alcohol, the more hangover-producing impurities it has.

The cause of hangovers is not actually alcohol but chemical by-products of fermentation called congeners.

Among hard liquors, goldish-brown bourbon has the most cogners and clear vodka the fewest; stout beers have more than lagers; red wines have more than white wines.

Don't drink on an empty stomach.

Food gives the liver time to eliminate some alcohol by slowing absorption into the bloodstream.

Eat fatty foods before and during your party.

Foods with cheese and meats will work. They also slow the release of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Try to drink slowly, perhaps no more than one drink an hour.

A long shot: vitamin K.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently found that lab animals given vitamin K metabolized ethanol, a key ingredient in alcohol, faster, which may limit a hangover.

But this is a last resort.

Pub Date: 12/31/97

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