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Is sprite good for hangovers? If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’ve heard that sprite is a hangover cure and are not too sure if it’s true.
Well, you’re not alone. With so many hangover cure myths out there, it’s hard to separate the facts from the fads.
If you search sprite for hangovers, you’ll see a lot of big media sites suggesting that sprite could be the miracle hangover cure you’re looking for.
But is sprite actually good for hangovers?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at Sprite for hangovers. Firstly, we’ll examine why it’s reported as a hangover cure in the media. Then we’ll examine whether there’s anything in Sprite that’s actually beneficial.
Why is sprite said to be good for a hangover?
The headlines are based on a study published in 2013 from a Chinese laboratory study that measured the effect of different drinks on the speed liver enzymes metabolize alcohol.
They tested 57 drinks and found that only two drinks increased the speed of liver enzymes that break down acetaldehyde.(1)
But what is acetaldehyde?
Well, it’s one of the harmful by-products of alcohol metabolism. Acetaldehyde is highly toxic and your liver quickly breaks it down into acetic acid which is safe.
However, during periods of overindulgence, the enzymes that break down acetaldehyde become saturated. That means, there isn’t enough enzyme around to clear the amount of acetaldehyde left behind.
Acetaldehyde reacts with your cells causing inflammation. This process is known as “free radical” or “oxidative” damage. As acetaldehyde levels build, you get more inflammation and damage. And scientists think that this is one of the ways in which drinking too much alcohol causes hangovers.
The study mentioned above showed that 2 drinks (out of 57) increased how fast acetaldehyde is cleared. The first drink was called “hui yi su da shui” (a type of soda water) and the second was called “xue bi” (probably Sprite, although the study did not report that either of these drinks were the popular drink known as Sprite).
What are the issues?
The researchers suggest that because these drinks speed up how fast acetaldehye is cleared, they could help with reducing the negative effects of drinking too much alcohol.
But there are a few problems with that assumption…
1) Acetaldehyde is not the only problem
Firstly, hangovers are caused by many different negative effects of alcohol. Not just inflammation caused by acetaledhyde.
For example, alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your kidneys flush out water which can cause dehydration. In addition, alcohol significantly reduces your sleep quality by preventing your brain from reaching the REM stage. REM sleep is essential for feeling fully rested. Other than this, congeners in alcohol can also make hangovers worse.
So, you can see there are many different factors involved in hangovers. And it’s not as simple as saying speeding up acetaldehyde clearance solves all the problems.
2) not tested in humans
The experiment was done in a lab. That means it wasn’t tested in humans. So, the study only showed that sprite speeds up acetaldehyde breakdown, not improves hangovers.
In summary: The study didn’t exactly show that sprite is good for a hangover. Rather, it showed that sprite (or another fizzy lemonade drink) helps clear one of alcohols toxic by-products faster.
Is sprite actually good for hangovers?
So, with the research study out the way, we can focus on whether sprite contains anything that could be good for hangovers.
If you take a closer look at sprites' ingredients label, you’ll notice that one of the ingredients is fructose corn syrup.
Interestingly, there are a couple of old studies that have shown fructose can speed up alcohol metabolism.(2)
Perhaps it’s the fructose in sprite that was the reason for the study’s findings?
Either way, it’s all speculation at present, and nothing concrete is known about sprite or fructose enhancing alcohol metabolism. And even if this was the case, it doesn’t mean sprite is necessarily good for hangovers.
Is sprite a hangover cure?
You’ve probably guessed the answer to this question already. Although there’s uncertainty around whether Sprite is good for hangovers or not, one thing is for certain: that is sprite is not a hangover cure.
In fact, a hangover cure doesn’t exist.
Even if Sprite was to have some improvement in acetaldehyde clearance, it’s unlikely to have a noticeable difference to hangovers.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve had too much alcohol for your liver to handle. Trying to “cure” your hangover by drinking sprite is the wrong approach.
And it’s certainly not going to have any effect if you’ve already woken up with a hangover. By this stage, the damage is done.
Therefore, the best approach is to prevent hangovers from happening in the first place. Drinking less alcohol (and at a slower pace), eating before going out, and keeping well hydrated is all that’s required.
Sprite for hangovers – Final verdict
That brings us to the end of our look into whether Sprite is good for hangovers.
Unfortatnelty, there isn’t much evidence that it’s particularly beneficial for hangovers.
You may come across reports that say otherwise, however, it’s based on a small-scale study done in a lab that showed that Sprite enhanced acetaldehyde breakdown. It wasn’t tested in humans and there was no mention of hangovers.
If you’re interested in drinks that may be beneficial for hangovers, check out our article on the best tea for a hangover.