Good News: Study Says Boozing on Vacay May Actually Spare You Pain and Embarrassment

Researchers think that margarita could save you if you drank the water.

Cocktails and regional dishes are a great pairing for many adventurous eaters and travelers. But it turns out — in a seriously encouraging twist on common perception — that drinking booze on vacation could actually be making that (questionable) street food go down easier. Win-win!

It certainly a possibility, says researchers interviewed in The Sun, who claim that that dangerous food-related stomach bugs do not hold up well against "wine, beer, gin, and other alcohols." And stomach bugs on vacation do not make for pleasant — nor very romantic — experiences.

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"Tests have shown that there’s anti-microbial properties in wine, which help defend against bacteria, and red appears to do a better job than white due to an increased number of antioxidants," Richard Conroy, a food scientist and founder of vacation illness compensation firm SickHoliday.com, told The Sun.

Sounds like a solid justification to us.

However, it’s not a new theory. In 2012, a researcher found that even centuries ago, those who drank gin stood up better against the cholera epidemic.

But it's not a theory everyone is willing to suggest travelers embrace with abandon.

“Should people really be given an excuse to drink more, especially when wine might reduce your risk of food poisoning?” Matthew Robinson, a chef, food scientist, and food blogger who runs The Culinary Exchange, mused to Jet Set.

“Wine and other booze had effects on bacteria outside real living people, or a positive correlation was seen between people who had food poisoning, but had consumed alcohol versus those that didn’t consumer alcohol,” Robinson says. "This effect is not proven, it is merely suggested."

There are interesting associations, but more work is needed to prove cause and effect, he says. “This type of data is important, as it makes a very good suggestion about what might happen — but it proves nothing."

In fact, it raises many more questions: How much does one have to drink to gain such protection? “We might accept one drink as OK and low risk. What about three? [And what if] people get so looped trying to protect themselves from food poisoning that they fall into the pool or worse — even getting sick from being drunk. How much is our risk reduced? The risk of drinking may not outweigh the benefits,” says Robinson.

So, what’s the answer? “Follow common sense," he suggests. "Eat at reputable eateries with good hygiene. Wash your hands before eating. Perhaps it would be best to just avoid all-inclusive holidays!”

That said, have a drink or two. It may help.

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