Cheers to a growing health trend
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
How many times have you said, or heard, “I’m never drinking again,” after a particularly alcohol-fueled event or night out?
There’s no need to take such a drastic step. How about starting small – say, a month? That’s the premise of a public health campaign, Dry January, launched in England around 2014. The nonprofit that created the campaign hoped that increased drinking over the holidays and especially, New Year’s Eve, would make it easier for people to consider not drinking at all for the month of January.
It’s not a march toward Prohibition by any means. What health experts are hoping for is a general change in attitude towards alcohol. Those experts have, for many years, exposed the many problems associated with alcohol, from heart and liver disease to immune system dysfunction and cancer. Some medical experts will say red wine is good for the heart, but studies show that cutting out alcohol completely, even temporarily, is a benefit to the body.
A study conducted by the Department of Biochemisty at University College London reported that even a brief period of abstinence from alcohol improved insulin resistance in their participants.
Another study of 857 participants conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex reported weight loss, decreased blood pressure and improvements in diabetes risk of almost 30% in their subjects. Almost 65% drank less alcohol even six months after Dry January.
Dry January seems to have launched an entire lifestyle - the sober curious movement. Sober curious culture encourages a sober lifestyle, but welcomes individuals who aren’t willing, ready, or planning to give up alcohol completely. Sober curious folks have the option to choose, to question, or to change their drinking habits for health-focused reasons (mental and/or physical), or not.
There are sober curious events, restaurants and outings popping up throughout the country. Non-drinkers, who were scornfully referred to as Teetotalers before and during Prohibition, say they appreciate feeling better, saving money and having places to go where they don’t feel pressured to indulge.
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