Vegans Suffer Worse Hangovers Than Meat Eaters, Study Finds

by : Cameron Frew on : 23 Dec 2019 11:41
Vegans Suffer Worse Hangovers Than Meat Eaters, Study FindsShutterstock/Pixabay

Lowering your meat intake has its benefits: positive impact on the environment, more regular laxation. However, the vegan lifestyle may not be the best for braving a hangover. 

In recent years, veganism has become a far more popular dietary choice. Alongside the well-noted health benefits (reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, for example), the ethical and moral considerations of the meat industry cannot be ignored.


However, when recovering from a night on the lash, your exclusively-veggie diet may exacerbate that post-drinking cocktail of misery.

the hangoverWarner Bros.

As part of a new study from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, researchers looked at the correlation between dietary nutrient intake and the severity of a hangover.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the Dutch researchers carried out the experiment on 13 social drinkers ‘between 18-30 years old’ and ‘mentally and physically healthy’.


Prior to the experiment, participants were asked to 24-hour dietary intake diary, detailing everything they ate. Then, researchers were not present during alcohol consumption, ‘and thus had no influence on the participants’ (drinking) behavior’.

Warner Bros.

As per the study, ‘participants, therefore, dictated their own time period of drinking, types of alcoholic beverages consumed, and their activities during drinking (e.g., staying at home, going to a bar, dancing, etc)’.

In order to calculate how severe each of the participants’ hangovers were the next day, the study explains: 


Overall hangover severity was assessed with a single one-item rating on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 (absent) to 10 (extreme).

In addition, using the same scale, severity of 23 hangover symptoms was assessed, including headache, nausea, concentration problems, regret, sleepiness, heart pounding, vomiting, being tired, shaking/shivering, clumsiness, weakness, dizziness, apathy, sweating, stomach pain, confusion, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, thirst, heart racing, anxiety, depression, and reduced appetite.

The researchers found that, out of the 13 drinkers, those who had a diet low in zinc and vitamin B3 suffered the most from hangover symptoms. While vegans are able to secure those nutrients in their diet, the study infers that they are more easily available in meat-based products – ergo, vegans are more deficient in them.

vegan dietPA

However, it must be noted that while B3 is found in meat, poultry and fish, it’s also in avocados, mushrooms, peanuts and whole grains. Zinc – which was linked with the severity of vomiting in the study – is most commonly found in meat, shellfish and dairy.


The study also notes that its sample is too small for the findings to be considered conclusive – so veganism is still a more-than-viable dietary choice, regardless of whether you enjoy a drink.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Food, Alcohol, Diet, drinking, Veganism


Journal of Clinical Medicine
  1. Journal of Clinical Medicine

    Dietary Nutrient Intake, Alcohol Metabolism, and Hangover Severity