Our aim was to determine whether alcohol hangover is associated with eating unhealthy foods (hot chips, soft drink) or healthy foods (fruit, vegetables).
Daily diary study across 13 days (micro-longitudinal design).
We examined a sample of 605 young adults (71% women; ages 17–25; mean age 19.91 [SD 1.86] years) who completed daily diaries in the university community and reported drinking alcohol at least twice during the 13-day study period. Each day, participants reported on their hangover severity, their consumption of fruit, vegetables, hot chips (French fries), and soft drink, and their alcohol consumption from the previous day. Linear mixed models were used to examine within-person associations between hangover severity and food consumption, by gender. Exploratory models also controlled for previous day alcohol consumption to acknowledge potential variability in hangover susceptibility.
On days when participants reported higher severity of hangovers, they reported consuming more hot chips (β = .09, p = .001), more soft drink (β = .08, p = .001) and less fruit (β = −.06, p = .05). In our exploratory model controlling for previous day alcohol consumption, the predictive effect of hangover severity on hot chips remained (β = .08, p = .009) and significant interaction effects were observed between gender and previous day alcohol consumption on fruit (β = −.03, p = .003) and vegetable (β = −.03, p = .03) servings.
Higher hangover severity may lead to greater intake of some unhealthy foods such as hot chips, an effect that may not be reduceable to those associated with alcohol consumption per se. Interventions that target excessive drinking primarily, but also emphasize the importance of a healthy diet, should be considered for this population.