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Dry January Aftermath: Has Your Health Benefited?

After the heavy indulgences of the festive period, many of us will have decided to take up the ‘Dry January’ Challenge to give our bodies the break it deserves. The campaign, launched by the charity Alcohol Concern, involves giving up alcohol for the entire month and whilst it may have its benefits, many researchers are claiming that it may actually be bad for your health.

Alcohol Concern reported that over 17,000 people took part in January 2014 compared to just 4,500 in 2013. Were you one of these participants? Has your health benefited from Dry January? Below we look at the reported benefits of Dry January, as well as the negative impacts of going alcohol free for a month:

Health Benefits Although it is unlikely there will be no significant change in liver function during a month period, there are many other health benefits of cutting out alcohol. Some of these include improved sleep, more energy, better skin and hair quality, and of course, the ability to save money. A recent study by the University College London Medical School andNew Scientist found that giving up alcohol for five weeks helped with weight loss, lowering blood cholesterol and improving the quality of sleep.

The aim of the Dry January campaign is to give people the chance to review their alcohol consumption and encourage them to drink less generally. One of the major benefits of this is that individuals may develop better long-term drinking habits, which could help to reduce the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, liver disease and cancer. For a range of medical supplies, visit Brosch Direct.

Negative Impacts Despite these reported health benefits, many critics have claimed that Dry January could actually be bad for your health. CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, say that while drinking too much is bad for us, enjoying alcohol in moderation all year round has more health benefits. This is backed up by Professor Charles Bamforth, from the University of California, who claims that regular moderate intake of alcohol is actually good for the heart and blood circulation.

“Many people don’t realise that drinking in moderation has significant health benefits and that moderate drinkers have a longer life expectancy than non-drinkers,” he said. Bamforth went on to say that many are mistaken if they believe having a month without drinking will protect them from the effects of excessive drinking for the rest of the year. Cutting out alcohol for a month can also have a negative impact afterwards with the risk that, at first, people will abstain from alcohol, and then binge to make up for it in the months ahead.

It seems there are many arguments for and against Dry January. While there may be short-term health benefits of giving up alcohol for a month, the overall aim of the campaign is to encourage a healthy relationship with alcohol in the long term, not just after Christmas. This year, the campaign has once again proved to be a success, with many participants already reporting back that the month has been a life changing experience for them. If those individuals can take some of their newly-learned habits on board in the future, the campaign really could be judged a success.