One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to drink less. Some people take that a step further and take off a whole month, especially if they were drinking harder during the holidays and have a few nights they feel guilty about!
You might be wondering what the value of taking off just one month could be, especially considering the fact that most New Year’s resolutions are dropped within a few weeks. We all have friends who claim that this will be the year they stop watching so much TV, and then two weeks later they’re catching you up on last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.
But recent study by the team at New Scientist and Rajiv Jalan from the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School (UCLMS) have shown that for those who can actually stick out the full month, taking a break from alcohol consumption can do amazing things for your body.
The trend in taking a dry month is especially popular in the United Kingdom, and British health officials have even started to encourage taking a break from booze every year. But in spite of its popularity, little has been written about the effects of taking a short break from alcohol. After reviewing the existing scientific literature, New Scientist came to the conclusion that they should run an experiment on the matter, and who could be a better guinea pig group than their own staff?
Fourteen New Scientist staff members volunteered for this remarkable experiment. Ten took the dry road for the month, while four kept drinking at their normal rate, becoming the control group. The entire group was given a battery of health tests before and after the month.
So what happened after the month was over? The results that came back were amazing.
The two big changes that occurred in the group that abstained were:
Liver fat is important because deposits of fat on the liver can lead to inflammation, which can eventually cause liver damage and even cirrhosis. The lowered blood glucose level was important because it could mean that the participants’ bodies were having better control over their blood sugar, meaning they may have had less of a chance of developing diabetes.
On top of those measurable changes, the participants also described that they were:
While this test was based on a small group and the study couldn’t predict long-term health changes, it clearly indicates that the participants came away feeling good about the experience. Perhaps it’s time for you to put down the beer and pick up the ice tea at your next happy hour!