The Benefits of a “Dry January”

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Holidays, January 4, 2017

After a holiday season filled with overindulging, you might be ready to make some lifestyle changes. Are you willing to kick off 2017 with a hiatus from alcohol? The benefits may prove motivating!

Liquid Calories
Every alcoholic drink you toss back contains calories and these can add up – fast! Each bottle of beer, glass of wine, and shot of hard alcohol brings along a minimum of 100 empty calories. Pour in a few sugary mixers and the calories multiply, making many popular mixed drinks rack up more than 400 calories each. Two servings of alcohol a day for a year adds up to nearly 75,000 calories, and that’s not counting the mixers. That means saying bye-bye to these drinks could save you more than 20 pounds a year.

Drying Out
The concept of an alcohol-free January was sparked by a charity in the U.K. called Alcohol Concern. Part of the intention behind this program is to make social drinkers more mindful about their choices, fundraise for alcohol awareness, and reap the personal benefits. According to the organization, participants in the month-long challenge can lose weight, sleep better and save money.Weight loss aspirations aside, there’s science to back up additional benefits. Studies reveal that even just a month of cutting out alcohol can also spark improvements in liver function and blood sugar control for some people.

Bottom Line: Dry January is not a treatment program, but may be a beneficial hiatus for social drinkers. Taking this 31-day pledge can force you to be more mindful about your alcohol consumption and the calories that come along with it!

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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