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Nov 4, 2008 03:19 AM

Thought: Are vegetarians hit harder by alcohol?

Just a thought on foods here.

I've always wondered (being a meat lover myself) whether vegetarians, due to the foods that they eat (or lack of meat), can make them slightly more prone to feeling the effects of alcohol on their bodies? I've read cases where people have converted to being a vegetarian and suddenly coming up with worse and more frequent hangovers.

Now I know that everyone is different, and it really depends on your body size, gender, and how efficient your liver is, but I can't help but wonder whether the foods we eat can influence our body's reaction to alcohol? I have read some articles showing studies where vegetarians can have lower levels of certain vitamins such as B12 and vitamin D and even Omega3.

I know that eating greasy foods (usually meats - burgers, pizzas, sausages) prior to drinking helps reduce the apparent effects due to coating the stomach with oils and fats, but I'm more interested on whether anyone knows whether prolonged exclusion of meat is related to alcohol effects on the body.

Your thoughts?

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  1. When I was a vegetarian, I drank more and felt fewer effects than I do now. Of course, I was in college then, which may skew the results slightly.

    1. unless the vegetarian as a rule, tends to eat poorly or very little ( say lives off french fries or salads)...I would say no. what would meat have to do with the metabolism of alcohol considering that excluding meat doesn't mean excluding protein? I'm thinking that any of the converted who are experiencing more hangovers, could be perhaps that they haven't educated themselves on how to eat balanced meals that cover all the food groups.

      lack of certain vitamins and minerals also tends to rely on how well you eat, no matter what type of diet you follow. you can get omega 3's from flax, as well as algae, and a number of other botanical sources. As for B12, it depends on what type of vegetarian you are, if you eat dairy, you're ok. A vegan would have to be extra careful and perhaps supplement. And most soyfoods are fortified with vitamins and minerals. There are LOADS of people out there who don't get enough vitamin D. Again, many soymilks are fortified with vitamin D. There are anemic meat eaters out there as well.

      I'm not so sure i agree with you on the stomach oil coating thing. Some people "carb up" before drinking or after drinking because a heavier calorie laden meal tends to sober people up a little. Alcohol does affect people differently who have empty stomachs. Heavier meals tend to be carb-laden, as well as somewhat greasy (particularly if you're chosing those foods while you're half in the bag), but i'm thinking that drinking a cup of olive oil prior to a bender, wouldn't exactly help you.

      I have not eaten meat in nearly ten years...and only very very occasionally eat fish, my diet runs weeks and months being only vegetarian (lacto ovo). I have had frequent bloodwork over the years, and have never had a deficiency anywhere, not even iron. I had to educate myself on what to eat, and not to rely on french fries or peanut butter sandwiches, and i eat better than ever now. (i understand you'd disagree as a meat lover, I just simply don't crave the stuff). I eat more whole grains etc, and i'm mindful of the whole vitamin D,Omegas and Vitamin B12 thing. And I drink. And believe me, I eat well from the foodie point of view too.

      Alcohol however, is a diuretic, and that could i guess, leech more vitamins and minerals from your body. If you're already not getting enough or those things, yes, i guess your h/o's would be more pronounced I suppose. But I don't think that'd be specific to omni's or veg's.

      Re: was less than ten years ago that I could barely look at a glass of red wine without becoming very ill or having a blinding migraine.......and it's now my drink of choice. I think our bodies cycle through what we can and can't tolerate, the same as we sometimes do with allergies. I think my h/o's were worse when i was younger, maybe due to some of the crap I drank. Then again, my drink of choice would have been beer then, which now gives me baaaad headaches from even a couple. For what it's worth in relation to the OP, I ate meat pretty much up until around the same time as I began to tolerate red wine....hmm....