Wet January: the case against going dry
It’s a simple idea. Don’t drink alcohol for the first month of the year. But is there any evidence that Dry January is actually worthwhile? Read on to work out whether you should bother.
There is some evidence that quitting drinking, even for a short period, can reduce the risk of liver damage and improve blood-glucose levels. However, there’s no evidence that Dry January has any long-term positive effect.
Most research on crash diets shows that cutting something out for a burst instead of knuckling down for a long-term change results in a speedy return to old habits and a loss of any of the short-term health benefits.
If you’re serious about cutting down the grog, it’d be better to have two alcohol-free days each week all year rather than one month of abstinence.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to abstain from drinking. You’ll sleep better; you’ll think better; you’ll generally be a better human.
But there's something to be said for having the ability to truly drink socially. One pint when you get together with your mates, or choosing to drink only on weekends. Most of us probably lack that strength and drink too much.
Taking part in Dry January can easily con you into turning a blind eye to the quantities of booze you put away the rest of the year.
Ultimately, if you want to take a month off of alcohol: do it. Just realise that this isn't a long-term health plan and everyone will find it pretty dull if you carp on about it down the pub or on social media.
In other words: please #DryJanuary responsibly.
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