Chorizo, anyone?

“Until coffee gained popularity, beer was the breakfast beverage of choice in most urban areas of the United States.” (Mental Floss)

“In 2009, researchers at Newcastle University’s Centre for Life said that eating a bacon sandwich can help cure a hangover.” (Mental Floss)

Newcastle University researchers in Tyne, England determined recently that a bacon sandwich can help with recovery from a hangover.

No surprise here when considering the properties of the ingredients. Bacon affords fat, protein, and salt, while the bread brings carbohydrates. The sandwich first satisfies the appetite and, as the metabolism speeds to digest the food, it increases the rate at which it clears alcohol from the body. The protein in the bacon is metabolized to amino acids, converted in the brain to neurotransmitters, filling the deficit caused by a night of heavy drinking. The salt in the bacon aids in rehydration through electrolyte replenishment.

On the other hand, in many parts of the US, prior to coffee becoming popular, beer was the goto beverage to accompany breakfast. Talk about a hangover cure!

All this talk of hangovers raises economics questions. People are willing to give up something (usually cash) to experience the effects of alcohol, and are then willing to give up something again (cash to buy a bacon sandwich at a diner as a hangover cure, perhaps) to avoid the after effects of the hangover.

Let's say that the alcohol on question is beer, costing $1 per bottle at happy hour. And, let's imagine that a bacon sandwich at the local diner is $5. If someone imbibing 5 beers knows he or she will be hungover the next morning, would he or she be willing to pay $10 to have a bacon sandwich to take home that evening? Probably not. Would he or she be willing to pay more than $10 for beer guaranteed not to cause a hangover? Probably so?

What's the difference in these scenarios? In the first, the drinker probably underestimates the discomfort of the hangover, and is willing to defer the cost to the next day on the off chance that it won't happen. Plus, carrying a bacon sandwich out of your local bar tends to raise eyebrows! On the other hand, certainty that his or her bet will not cause a hangover worth something, not only will he or she not have to pay the cost of the bacon sandwich the next morning, but there's no looming dread of the next morning's ache.

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