Vodka is made by fermenting grains or crops such as potatoes with
yeast. It's then purified and repeatedly filtered, often through
charcoal, strange as it sounds, until it's as clear as possible.

CALORIES: Because vodka contains no carbohydrates or sugars, it
contains only calories from ethanol (around 7 calories per gram),
making it the least-fattening alcoholic beverage. So a 35ml shot of
vodka would contain about 72 calories.

PROS: Vodka is the 'cleanest' alcoholic beverage because it contains
hardly any 'congeners' – impurities normally formed during
fermentation. These play a big part in how bad your hangover is.

Despite its high alcohol content – around 40 per cent – vodka is the
least likely alcoholic drink to leave you with a hangover, said a
study by the British Medical Association.

CONS: Vodka is often a factor in binge drinking deaths because it is
relatively tasteless when mixed with fruit juices or other drinks.



Whisky 'madness': It triggers erratic and unpredictable behaviour
because most people drink whisky neat

CALORIES: About 80 calories per 35ml shot.

PROS: Single malt whiskies have been found to contain high levels of
ellagic acid, according to Dr Jim Swan of the Royal Society of
Chemists. This powerful acid inhibits the growth of tumours caused by
certain carcinogens and kills cancer cells without damaging healthy

CONS: Whisky 'madness' – erratic and unpredictable behaviour – is a
common problem with drinking whisky. It's caused by the way most
people drink it – neat, explains Professor Jones.

His experiments show that among people drinking the same amount of
ethanol, those drinking it in the form of spirits, such as whisky, had
the quickest and highest peak in the blood alcohol concentration,
which occurred less than an hour after drinking began.

'If you drink any alcohol on an empty stomach, it can compare with
getting it intravenously'
Professor Wayne Jones

'To slow absorption down, you could take it very much diluted or along
with a rich, calorie-dense ingredient such as cream, as in Baileys or
Irish coffee.'

Whisky also contains lots of congeners, which tend to form during the
ageing process in oak casks. A study by the BMA found that as a
result, Bourbon Whiskey is twice as likely to cause a hangover as the
same amount of vodka.



White wine is made from the fermented juice of grapes stripped of
their seeds and skins.

CALORIES: Around 130 calories per 175 ml glass; slightly more in sweeter wines.

PROS: American researchers found that grape flesh contains the
chemicals tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, which help lower arteryclogging
LDL cholesterol.

CONS: It's the sulphites formed naturally or added to white wine as
preservatives to stop it going brown which are the most likely cause
of the 'white wine hangover' many people complain of.

Sulphites also carry the risk of an allergic reaction which can worsen
symptoms such as a headache, or asthma. White wines also wear away
tooth enamel faster, making teeth more sensitive.


Colour code: Red wine can cause a worse hangover than white wine
because it contains methanol, a second type of alcohol that lingers in
your body the next day


Red wine is made from fermented grape juice – but unlike white wine,
with the skin and pips included. It's then left to mature for a
minimum of three years, during which pigments from the skins leech out
and colour the wine red.

CALORIES: Around 120 calories in a standard glass – it's slightly
lower in sugar content than white wine.

PROS: Contains more reservatrol – a plant anti- oxidant – than white
wine. This helps to prevent blood clots and reduce inflammation, which
is now considered to play a key role in heart disease. Also, the pips
and skins used in red wines contain tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol,
chemicals which help lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

CONS: Red wine drinkers can get worse hangovers than beer or white
wine drinkers. Because of the way it's made, red wine produces two
types of alcohol ethanol and methanol. The liver processes the
ethanol part of the drink first and leaves methanol until last. 'As a
result, it's likely to be floating around in the body for a lot longer
than ethanol, giving you that familiar "morning after" feeling,' says
Professor Jones.



Slow mover: Low in alcohol, beer is the least dangerous to drink

Beer is made by fermenting barley. Hops are added for flavour and
yeast to make the grains ferment into sugar and alcohol.

CALORIES: It's the most calorierich alcoholic beverage – just one pint
contains between 170 and 200 calories, about the same as seven
chocolate fingers biscuits.

PROS: Beer is the least dangerous to drink and makes you feel you
drunk the slowest.

It has the lowest alcohol content between 3 and 6 per cent for
lager, and up to 8 per cent for ale and stout.

A pint also contains more than a quarter of an adult's recommended
dose of Vitamin B folate, which stops the build-up of homocysteinea
chemical linked to heart attacks.

CONS: Beer is high in compounds called purines, which boost the levels
of uric acid in the blood, according to a study at Massachusetts
General Hospital.

This can form crystals in joints, leading to painful attacks of gout.

The 12-year study found that drinking more than two beers a day
doubled the risk.

Meanwhile, research published in the International Journal of Cancer
showed that one pint a day adds a 10 per cent risk of bowel cancer,
while two pints a day increases the risk by 25 per cent.



Brandy is a spirit distilled from red wine. Fine brandies are aged for
extra flavour in wooden casks.

Hangover hell? Brandy contains high amounts of impurities

CALORIES: Around 80 in every 35ml shot.

PROS: Because brandy is a distillation of red wine, it contains a high
concentration of antioxidants which mop-up 'free radicals' which, it's
claimed, can damage the body organs and tissues and lead to deadly

Australian scientists discovered that the antioxidants created during
the distilling process mean that 30ml of good brandy would give the
equivalent antioxidant hit of the daily recommended intake of vitamin

CONS: It could give you the worst headache of all, according to
research at London's National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
This was closely followed by red wine, then rum, whisky and gin. Not
only does brandy contain at least 40 per cent alcohol, the high
quality cask-aged variety is likely to have the highest amounts of
congeners, which are formed during the lengthy storage and
fermentation process.

Professor Jones says: 'Brandy contains literally hundreds of different
volatile compounds, which gives it the distinctive pleasant smell but
also contributes to the hangover.'



Fast acting: Champagne

Champagne and sparkling wine are made in roughly the same way as wine
but then more yeast is added and it's left to ferment in the bottle
a second time, producing carbon dioxide.

CALORIES: An average 175 ml glass of Champagne contains 133 calories,
slightly more than a glass of white wine because syrup is added to
improve taste.

PROS: The antioxidants in Champagne may help protect your brain
against damage incurred during a stroke and against neurological
disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, according to a
team of researchers from the University of Reading. They found that
high levels antioxidants, called caffeic acid and tyrosol, helped
protect brain cells from damage.

CONS: The bubbles speed up the absorption of alcohol into the
bloodstream. And contrary to popular belief, Champagne won't lift your
spirits – alcohol affects brain receptors in the same way, whatever
its source.

'Alcohol basically works in the same way in the brain receptors as
Valium,' says Professor Jones. 'It depresses brain activity and
relieves anxiety. You might think you're in a good mood, but it's more
likely the result of alcohol causing "disinhibition" , making you more
talkative and exhibitionist. '



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