Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feasting on Yeast

We've all been there. You had a few too many last night, and you wake up with the hangover of the century wishing you could take it all back.

Lately there has been a trend surfacing that says if you eat yeast a few moments before you start drinking, it will allow you to drink more, with less of a chance of having the "brown-bottle flu" the next morning.

Legendary brew master Jim Koch, who owns the famous Samuel Adams Brewery, is a professional drinker who tastes all of their beers before they are shipped out. While you'd think it'd be every guy's dream to have this job, that eventually equates to a lot of beer over the course of the day. Koch swears by the method of swallowing a small amount of yeast with yogurt before the start of any drinking. The thought is that the yeast will break the alcohol down in the stomach before it can be absorbed into the blood stream.

But while this may sound like a cure-all for anyone looking to drink more after a big spoonful of yeast, there is some science behind it that is slightly disproving the overall theory. When sugar becomes present around yeast, it shuts off it's genes that would enable alcohol degradation and focus solely on dissolving and feeding off the sugars. While there is still some sugars in most alcoholic beverages, it's already feeding off the sugars from the drink instead of the alcohol itself.

So in this case, Koch's technique of staying sober longer is more of an urban legend. The alcohol just doesn't absorb as fast into the bloodstream because of the stomach's intake of food. Or another explanation could be that Koch is an experienced drinker and can handle his liquor better than most since he does it for a living. In either case, studies show that the best way to prevent a hangover is water (a fairly obvious answer).

But you're supposed to drink before and after every alcoholic beverage consumed which could easily be more of a an issue to try to keep up on. There are hundreds of hangover cures or prevention techniques that people swear by, and to each his own. But in the case of eating yeast before drinking, I think it's safe to assume that this one is officially debunked.

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