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Giving up alcohol for just 1 month has lasting benefits

April 17: Many of us will have enjoyed numerous glasses of wine, beer, champagne, or other alcoholic beverages over the winter holidays. Thus, in January, we may feel the need to take a break from alcohol. An alcohol-free month is the best choice we could possibly make for our health, British researchers conclude.

Dry January is an initiative of the charity organization Alcohol Change United Kingdom, which encourages people to try giving up alcohol for 1 month at the start of the year.

Although the charity that promotes this effort is UK-based, thousands of peoplearound the world pledge to take part in this campaign each year.

It is fairly logical to assume that giving up alcohol for 31 days can only benefit health, since drinking regularly is a major risk factor for cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular diseases, among other issues.

Now, a study by researchers from the University of Sussex in Falmer, UK, shows just how much skipping alcohol for 1 month can improve your life and concludes that these benefits are long-lasting.

The research, which Dr. Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex led, found that people who took part in Dry January in 2018 reported higher energy levels and healthier body weight. They also felt less need to drink alcohol, even several months after participating in this initiative.

 

Dr. de Visser and team analyzed data that they collected from Dry January participants in three online surveys. A total of 2,821 people filled in a survey upon registering for the campaign at the beginning of January. In the first week of February, 1,715 participants completed a survey, and 816 participants submitted additional data in August 2018.

The researchers found that giving up alcohol for a month helped the participants reduce their number of drinking days later in the year. The number decreased from an average of 4.3 days per week before taking part in Dry January to an average of 3.3 days per week afterward.

Moreover, people who went teetotal for a month also got drunk a lot less frequently later on in the year. Rates of excessive drinking fell from an average of 3.4 times per month at baseline to 2.1 times per month on average.

In fact, Dry January participants also learned to drink less. They went from consuming an average of 8.6 units of alcohol per drinking day at baseline to 7.1 units of alcohol per drinking day later on.

By (Medical News today)

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