July is the month that thousands of Australians sign up for Dry July, committing themselves to a month off the booze in order to raise money for cancer research, as well as giving their liver some much needed R&R! This year James has agreed to join them. He first became interested in it when his nephew Zach decided to go dry last July. Zach was so happy with how much better he felt that this year he decided to up the ante and commit to No Beer For A Year. James has decided to join him, at least for the first month of his journey!
So what sort of things can you expect to happen in a month with no booze? A quick investigation suggests there are many benefits of even a short period of abstinence. Let’s look at a few…
A small study performed by staff members of the New Scientist magazine in 2013 produced some impressive results. 14 staff members submitted to initial blood tests and surveys, then 10 of them forswore alcohol for 5 weeks, while the other 4 continued to drink at their regular levels. At the end of the study period the abstainers noticed an average 2% decrease in body weight, 5% decrease in cholesterol, 15% decrease in liver fat and a whopping 16% decrease in blood glucose. All up, these numbers represent a significant decrease in a number of risk factors associated with heart, liver and kidney disease as well as type 2 diabetes. Pretty cool for a few weeks!
But wait, there was more! They also noticed their sleep quality improved by an average of 10%, their daytime wakefulness by 9.5%, concentration by 18% and work performance by 17%. It turns out the extra workload faced by your liver in breaking down alcohol leaves you seriously fuzzy and lower in energy. And of course the 4 that continued to drink noticed no significant differences.
So what happens when the month is over? Won’t people just slip back into their old habits? Well, it appears not. A study in the journal Health Psychology suggested that those who complete a month-long abstinence challenge like Dry July tended to drink less often, get drunk less often and have fewer drinks in one sitting six months later. This has certainly been Zach’s experience since last year.
All this and we haven’t even touched on the financial benefits. Imagine how much you’ll save without spending on that 6 pack of craft beer, those expensive cocktails and drinks on a night out, taxis to get home, not to mention the late night or next day-take away to help deal with the effects of a big night! Any way you look at it you’ll be winning!