Does Sugar Cause a Hangover? the Effects of Sugary Cocktails

  • Mixing sugar and alcohol will not immediately trigger a hangover — however sugar may contribute. 
  • Sugary mixers masks the style of alcohol, so it’s possible you’ll drink extra liquor with out realizing it.
  • However an excessive amount of sugar may additionally trigger a “sugar hangover” a number of hours after consuming one thing candy.

Received a extreme hangover the morning after too many margaritas or Mai Tais? It is a frequent false impression that the sugar in your cocktail is guilty. 

However reality be instructed, it is the alcohol, not the sugar, that is making you are feeling so unwell.

That mentioned,  sugar, particularly quite a lot of it, could make you are feeling drained or sluggish even if you happen to do not drink any booze with it. That is known as a”sugar hangover.”  

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In contrast to an alcohol-induced hangover, sugar hangovers come on in only a few hours and are associated to modifications in your blood sugar ranges. 

Here is why sugary cocktails aren’t immediately chargeable for your alcohol hangover and what it’s possible you’ll expertise throughout a real sugar hangover. 

Do sugary cocktails make your alcohol hangover worse?

Sugar will not trigger alcohol-induced hangovers, however it might make them worse. 

“Sugary cocktails will be simpler to eat in extra as a result of the sugar can masks the sturdy taste of alcohol,” says Amargo Couture, a registered dietician at Staten Island College Hospital. 

The extra alcohol you drink, the extra dehydrated you may grow to be, and the more serious that next-morning headache will really feel, says Dr. Seema Sarin, medical director of way of life drugs at EHE Well being. 

What a few sugar hangover?

Consuming an excessive amount of sugar may cause related signs to a hangover.

“When your physique digests sugar, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, inflicting a spike in your blood sugar that may make you are feeling foggy, drained, or have a persistent headache,” says Sarin.

However you digest sugar sooner than alcohol, so you may really feel these results sooner. Specifically, inside two hours of consuming sugar, your blood sugar spike causes the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine to fluctuate, which may have an effect on the blood vessels in your mind. That is why it’s possible you’ll really feel like your head is throbbing. 

After your blood sugar shoots too excessive it might drop too low, resulting in reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. 

That may trigger signs like shakiness, irritability, anxiousness, and sweating as a result of your physique releases stress hormones together with adrenaline and cortisol in response to low blood sugar. This usually happens inside 4 hours of consuming sugar.

A sugar hangover can occur if you happen to eat greater than the advisable restrict of 24 grams for ladies and 36 grams for males.  For context, a can of alcoholic cider incorporates about 22 grams of sugar.

So, if you happen to’re having an evening out and consuming a ton of sugary drinks, you might need a protracted stint of discomfort forward beginning with the sugar hangover later that night adopted by the alcohol-induced hangover the following morning. 

The way to keep away from an alcohol hangover

If you wish to keep away from a hangover, the perfect factor you are able to do is to drink sparsely or in no way, Sarin says.

“If you happen to’re selecting to drink alcohol, you are selecting to eat at the least a small quantity of sugar, and alcohol consumption is related to many illnesses,” together with hypertension, liver illness, and most cancers, Sarin says. 

Regardless of that, most individuals drink. Following the following tips can assist scale back your hangover threat:

  • Keep away from binge consuming, outlined as consuming 4 or extra drinks in a sitting for females and 5 or extra for males. 
  • Hydrate. Alcohol dehydrates you, so drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink to counteract that. 
  • Select drinks with much less sugar. Pink wine, beer, and neat spirits have little or no sugar, so you will not compound the results of feeling hungover. 
  • Skip darkish alcohols. Darker liquors like brandy and bourbon have congeners, an ingredient that may make hangovers worse.  

Finest nonalcoholic drinks and spirits



If you wish to get pleasure from a drink however restrict your alcohol consumption, attempt subbing in a few of our favourite nonalcoholic drinks and spirits, a number of of that are low-sugar.

How to deal with a hangover

If the harm is already carried out and also you’re waking up with a hangover, the perfect factor you are able to do is to hydrate, Couture says. 

“Replenishing your self with enough fluids is a particularly essential key to feeling higher throughout a hangover,” she says. “Having electrolytes available, comparable to a sports activities drink or Pedialyte, can assist rehydrate you quicker and get you feeling again to regular after a hangover.”

Different treatments for a hangover embrace taking an over-the-counter NSAID ache reliever like Aspirin or ibuprofen. Skip Tylenol, which may harm your already-taxed liver, Sarin says. 

Insider’s takeaway

Any time you drink an excessive amount of, you threat waking up with a hangover. Sugary drinks can compound that by making you are feeling bloated or providing you with a headache from an excessive amount of sugar in addition to main you to drink greater than supposed. 

Subsequent time you order a sugary drink, tempo your self. 

“Be sure you’re being attentive to the quantity you’re ingesting,” says Couture. “It is vitally simple to drink a bigger quantity of alcohol when together with a yummy and candy mixer that masks the flavour of alcohol.”

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