Oct. 12, 2013 at 8:43 AM ET
Scientists in China recently tested over 200 beverages to see if any of them could help cure the leading health crisis of our modern age – the hangover. Turns out, Sprite stimulates the body to metabolize the sickening byproducts of alcohol more quickly.
A hangover might not exactly be a genuine health crisis, but many days of productivity have been lost to the droning headaches, aching bones, and nausea that come with this self-induced form of mild alcohol poisoning.
If Sprite manages to help with hangovers without even trying, what might happen if someone set out to make a lemon-lime flavored drink specifically designed to prevent a hangover? Let’s find out.
RESQWATER (pronounced “rescue water”) has recently rolled out across the United States. It’s billed as an “anti-hangover drink” and is full of ingredients the manufacturer claims will help prevent a hangover when ingested in between alcoholic drinks. These include homeopathic-sounding things like organic prickly pear cactus fruit extract and milk thistle, as well as science-y stuff like electrolytes, B vitamins and N-acetyl L-cysteine.
“Sugar, B-vitamins, electrolytes, water etc, all have been shown to have a role in alcohol breakdown,” NBC News health and diet editor Madelyn Fernstrom told TODAY.com when reviewing RESQWATER’s nutritional label, “but in the amounts found in this drink, who knows?”
I decided to find out for myself by engaging in a night of slightly irresponsible alcohol consumption, supplemented with RESQWATER. I was curious to see if it would do a better job than my usual trick for warding off a hangover – matching each adult beverage with a glass of water.
The manufacturer recommends one 8-ounce bottle of RESQWATER for every two or three alcoholic drinks consumed, and possibly another as a nightcap. They also recommend drinking the concoction cold, which is good advice, because while it has a pleasant enough lemon-lime flavor, there’s a funky sourness lurking beneath the surface, reminiscent of coconut water, which is minimized when chilled.
My experiment took place the same evening I was playing around with my Dogfish Head Randall Jr. beer infuser, and I was happily concocting several interesting and inspired brews. When my experimentation was through, I’d gleefully consumed about four bottles worth of beer, with ABV’s ranging from 5.5 percent to 10 percent.
I was feeling fine and the night was young, so I downed my first RESQWATER and retired to the man cave to enjoy a couple of drams of whiskey and catch up on my man-shows until about 2 a.m.
Whiskey invariably leads to a nasty morning for me, so I was putting my faith in RESQWATER to save me from this ill-advised behavior. I drank another bottleful before hitting the sack and hoped for the best.
I awoke the next morning feeling surprisingly well. I had no headache, no body stiffness, no oh-lord-please-let-me-die feeling. Even more, I felt noticeably better than when I match each glass of beer or booze with a glass of water.
I did sweat a bit when I got to moving around doing Sunday chores, but I was essentially hangover-free, ready to tackle a busy day without the burden of the bourbon I had imbibed the night before. RESQWATER did the trick!
To make sure things would stay that way, I drank a third bottle soon after waking up, a “hail Mary” move the manufacturer says can provide some relief, but not as much as swallowing the stuff during a night of drinking.
Each 8-ounce bottle of RESQWATER retails for $4.49, putting the price tag of my symptom-free Sunday at about $15. While that might sound steep, it was a small price to pay for getting the poison of my poor decision-making out of my system and getting on with life.
“Bottom line with this, and other kinds of ‘hangover’ treatments,” said Fernstrom, “The ingredients are all geared to help the body metabolize alcohol more quickly. The faster it gets out of your system, the less bad you feel.
“It’s worth a try if you have the money,” she added. “There’s nothing in this that is potentially harmful.”
According to the Economist, hangovers cost the American economy a whopping $220 billion dollars in lost productivity every year, and drinks like RESQWATER and plain old Sprite now give us hope for recovering the costs of all this wasted time.