There are all sorts of reasons for waking up and feeling truly terrible. A pounding head, groaning stomach and foul mood are usually all symptomatic of a night misspent in the company of likely lads like Jim Beam and Captain Morgan. But, every once in a while, you might find yourself suffering from an episode after a quiet night in. In these cases, you can be justifiably furious that you’ve been struck down, despite abstaining from your usual vices. What the hell is going on??
To global gasps of disappointment, it turns out that hangovers don’t have to have their roots in booze. As disastrous as this news may be, it has become clear to scientists that our diets can also have a drastic effect on how feel when we wake up, to the point where an indulgent dinner can even produce hangover-like symptoms.
As with most of our problems, the issue lies with junk food. Typically, takeaways are high in an array of ingredients that can have a negative effect on our bodies. Chief among these are sodium and fat. For anyone who’s ever woken up feeling lethargic, bloated and headachy after an evening without any alcohol, it’s more than likely that these two culprits are to blame.
Excess fat and sodium pose several problems to the human body. On the one hand, the complex structures of the artificial trans and saturated fats that are sprinkled liberally throughout most junk food typically take up to 12 hours to fully break down. This means that, unlike a normal large meal, you will normally find yourself waking up mid-takeaway digestion. This is why the morning after a pizza is usually sluggish, snoozy and bad tempered.
The second problem is salt. Even a moderately restrained approach to takeaway ordering can still result in a meal that sometimes contains more than you’re entire daily allowance in one sitting. This, obviously, is not good. The result is that that salt sitting in your gastrointestinal tract draws water from other areas of the body, leaving you dehydrated and more than likely causing a pounding headache. And just like that, you have the recipe for the mother of all hangovers, without drinking a thing.
Given the potential ramifications, the future of fast food overindulgence could seem a little gloomy. However, despite the depressing reality of what your favourite edible treats can end up doing to you, there are potential solutions to the problem. The first, and most straightforward, is to drink a pint of water along with your meal. At the very least, this should help to counter the effects of the salt coursing through your system and help you to stave off the headache. The second, and probably less straightforward to arrange, is to try and book in a mid-morning nap for the next day. At the very least, this will buy your tummy some extra time to digest.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, if you put bad things in your body, you will usually end up regretting it. It is an unavoidable part of indulging in the things we like. But at least with fast food hangovers there are potential steps that we can all take to soften the blow. Even if we can’t stomach too much booze, we’ll always have room for a burger.