Alcohol free? What might that help?

“Can you go a week or can you go a month without any alcohol? And if you can’t, why not? What is it that’s driving your need for alcohol?”  Dry January started in the UK in 2012 and has quickly spread to be a trend in the US. It just happens to coincide with our Whole 90 challenge but why are we challenging our clients to test out going without? 

What do you stand to gain from giving up alcohol for a month?

Liver relief

Because the liver is a tolerant organ, positive changes can occur within weeks of going dry.   The liver can focus on its other jobs, such as breaking down other toxins produced by the body, metabolizing fats and excess hormones that need to be broken down.

Decrease risk of cardiovascular disease

Alcohol is metabolized by the liver and an enzyme called dehydrogenases. However, when you drink in excess, the enzyme gets saturated and is metabolized by a different enzyme.  When it’s metabolized by this different pathway, it produces lots of free radicals which is known to oxidize bad cholesterol (LDL), and when the LDL is oxidized it deposits on the carotid arteries forming blockages.

Reduce risk of cancer

A  person’s risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer increases with the more alcohol they drink regularly over time. Links are shown between alcohol consumption and the development of the certain  types of cancer like esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal. Regular drinkers who abstained from alcohol for just one month were found to have a “rapid decrease” in certain chemical messengers in the blood that are associated with cancer progression, a recent study found

Weight loss

While alcohol is high in calories, and wine, beer, and mixed drinks add sugar to one’s diet, cutting it out may help to lose weight.  According to a University of Sussex study, more than half of the participants (58%) lost weight. 

Better Sleep

Almost three-quarters — 71% — of people who took part in Dry January said they slept better and 67% had more energy, according to the same University of Sussex study 

Improved Cognitive Function

People have a sense of achievement and they feel better and mentally sharper, said George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

New habit formation

Regular drinkers have the ability to learn how to break out of the habit of NEEDING to imbibe every evening.  Learning to substitute alcohol consumption during this period for a healthy habit like an after dinner stroll or a glass of sparkling water in lieu of alcohol will help keep the habit in place after the period is over.

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