The science behind the tactical chunder: Does it actually work?

It’s better than throwing up in the middle of the club


You're walking to the club after preing that slight bit too hard. You start feeling sick or a little too drunk and the worry of not being let in to the club starts to creep in. The solution? It's not to go home and try another night, no way. The solution is the tactical chunder.

Whether that's in a bush or in the club toilets, the tactical chunder is often used (especially on those sports socials) in a bid to sober up a little and last the whole night. Others use it before bed in an attempt to ward off that unforgiving hangover the next morning.

But does the tactical chunder 'method' of sobering up actually work? Or is it just damaging your health? We looked into the science of the tactical chunder and whether it actually sobers you up.

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The science behind getting smashed

When we drink alcohol, the water-soluble ethanol (the molecule that makes alcohol alcohol) enters the blood stream in under 10 minutes, ready to be taken to whatever part of the body it wants.

This is where, after enough is in the bloodstream, alcohol begins to take effect on the body. Ethanol is also fat-soluble, meaning the alcohol is able to literally enter the brain. Nice!

When ethanol is in the brain it binds to glutamate receptors which send out chemical signals to the rest of the brain. This is what causes the slurred speech, slow reactions and the blacked out memory that causes you to text all your mates about what you did the next morning, as ethanol is sent instead. So next time you wake up with hangover anxiety over what you did last night, at least science can be partly to blame?

What is a tactical chunder?

In case you have got this far and don't know what a tactical chunder is, Urban Dictionary describes it as: "When on a heavy drinking session the bloated feeling of too much liquid can be removed and loss of control to drunkeness can be avoided by voluntarily being sick otherwise known as going for a tactical chunder."

People across Britain treat it as the way to go to get sober, with some even going so far as to to say it "changed my life".

Debunking the tactical chunder – does it work?

Because alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream so quickly, TC-ing won't reduce your blood alcohol content, unless you throw up as soon as you drink which, let's be honest, would really put a dampener on everyone's night, literally.

It might help with any nausea you will inevitably feel when you overdo it, but it won't help with your actual level of drunkenness.

There might be a placebo effect of feeling more with it, but definitely don't use the tactical chunder to sober up before you have to meet your boyfriend's family or call your grandma.

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Alternative methods to cure a hangover when the tactical chunder doesn't cut it

Sadly, the only thing that will reduce the blood alcohol content (how drunk you are) is time. But while nothing can really counteract the effect of alcohol, curing the hangover the next morning is a different story.

Sure we all have our favourite methods, but here are just a few to try out:

1. Pre-empt the hangover

Eat before you drink – this is crucial. Food slows the absorption time of alcohol into the bloodstream. Carbs and fatty foods are the best.

2. Stay hydrated

Medical experts say to alternate between one alcoholic drink with one water, but everyone knows this is way easier said than done. Drink lots before you sleep and fill up an empty glass beside your bed.

3. Paracetamol and a healthy breakfast

Taking paracetamol before bed has been known as the way to go, but this actually damages the liver. Taking it first thing in the morning instead will at least get rid of that headache a bit in no time. Also a healthy breakfast is a must to replace all the nutrients lost (especially if a tactical chunder has occurred.)

4. Have a fry up

Yeah, okay, I said a "healthy breakfast", but orange juice and eggs count/ Just treat yourself by adding in everything else as comfort food for when you wake up feeling (and looking) like actual death.

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Looking good

Despite the popularity of the tactical chunder, science has proved this is purely a myth. While you may feel better afterwards, it definitely will not have an effect on blood alcohol content which is the real test of drunkenness.

So, moral of the story: the only way to sober up or prevent a hangover is, not by doing a tactical chunder but, unfortunately, to just not get that drunk. Sorry.

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