AN alcohol-free January can appeal to the health conscious among us following the festive season. We discuss the merits and drawbacks of the custom as thousands of Scots are nearing the halfway point in the yearly challenge.
Last year, over 6,000 Scots took part in the Dryathlon 2015 challenge for Cancer Research UK and raised £605,159 in the process. Yet the real number of participants across the country is certainly even higher, as there’s no requirement to take part in a charity campaign in order to give up alcohol for the whole of the month.
The fashion for winter abstinence comes as new guidelines from the UK’s Chief Medical Officers indicate that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, ideally spread over three days over more.
Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) is a charity group focused on reducing the negative impacts of alcohol across Scotland.
AFS conducts studies with a mind to influencing alcohol policy throughout the country and educating others on the effects of drinking.
Evidence suggests they do keep up that reduction and the social acceptability continues after Dry January.
Dr. Niamh Fitzgerald, Lecturer in Alcohol Studies at the University of Stirling
Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland:
“Taking part in a campaign like Dry January gives people the perfect opportunity to take a break from alcohol so they can reassess how much they’re drinking. Research has indicated that a month off alcohol can lower liver fat, blood glucose and blood cholesterol. Other short term benefits of cutting down or not drinking at all include no hangovers, better sleep, losing weight and saving money”
The charity also stresses that those who drink more than the recommended guidelines of 14 units per week are putting themselves at increased risk of breast, bowel and oral cancers, as well as liver disease and mental health problems.