Kick The Habit
Christmas is over and many of us will have eaten and drunk to excess and want to get back to normality. January is the month when we kick start our healthy habits, starting with dry January
But does giving up alcohol completely after over doing it in the festive season a good thing? Dry January is a campaign run by Alcohol Change UK and it aims to encourage people to give up booze for 31 days. Each year millions participate either for personal reasons or for charity, with more than four million people planning to take part in January 2020.
A study by Dr Mehta, Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, suggests that in just one month of abstaining from alcohol, we could lose weight, see a decrease in blood pressure and improvement in diabetes risk of almost 30 per cent. There are also links with drinking to certain cancers, so cutting down can only be a good thing. So short term there are some benefits. But what about long term?
It might be an opportunity to look at your drinking habits generally and see if you can cut down going forward. If you drink to relax, why not look at other ways to wind down, such as taking up a new hobby, walking or joining a gym.
If you drink during the week, try reducing this by having a couple of alcohol-free nights and if you are on a night out drinking, alternate your alcoholic drinks with a soft drink so you aren’t drinking as much.
However, if you’re a heavy drinker and want to cut down completely, always take the advice of your GP. It may not be good for your health to suddenly stop as this may cause withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe.
If you’re missing the taste of alcohol then there is now a bigger range of alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits. In fact, according to market research company CGA, sales of no and low alcohol have risen by 48 per cent and wine and spirits producers are far more aware of how health-conscious consumers are becoming. The demand for low and no alcoholic alternatives has led to the removal of alcohol without sacrificing the appeal of the drink. Vineyards continue to use similar processes when creating a low-alcohol bottle of wine, as they would alcoholic. The best quality grapes will be plucked, and producers will aim for characteristic of each grape to come through in the final taste.
While it’s difficult to evaluate the full benefits of Dry January, if you combine with taking up exercise and eating healthily, it will be a good start to 2020.