OK, we all love a glass or two of liquid fun to oil the cogs and make a night out more... well, fun!
Alcohol can definitely help relax us after a stressful week, aid social interaction and transform everyone, including ourselves into the most hilarious and awesome being on earth... not to mention the years we will amuse ourselves with in years to come of the funny stories from our drunken antics.
Obviously too much of a good thing in this case has extremely detrimental effects to our bodies and even our lives. We are all I think aware of how harmful alcohol can be when abused.
However... I'm not writing this to rattle on about that. Rather, let's look at the positive effects of laying off the sauce for a wee month each year, which are vast!
I'm talking significant weight loss, better sleep, reduced risk of cancer and diabetes, glowing skin, less liver fat, stronger nails and most likely an improved bank balance!
Could there be something to this whole dry January thing?
You bet your Aperol Spritz there is!
Let's take a look at what happens to your body in the short term when you abstain from your favourite tipple.
Your body begins to detoxify.
Alcohol is after all toxic to your body.
Your blood sugar stabilises.
Less craving stodgy, sugary and generally naughty foods.
Within 1 week
Your sleep improves.
You're mood will probably improve too and no-one likes a cranky Nancy.
Your bodies overall hydration improves.
You'll probably notice you skin looks better.
I noticed that the fine lines on my face vanished and my deeper lines lessoned.
Plus the skin on my face looks tighter, puffiness disappears and I feel fresher and more focused!
After 2 weeks
Liver fat reduces by 15 per cent.
You'll notice weight loss and a smaller waistline.
Want to get beach ready? Well then, hola "Someone switch my G&T to a soda and fresh lime pronto!" and you'll be tanning that more svelte version of your body in no time! (Well in two weeks time... but who's counting...)
Alcohol inhibits your bodies ability to burn fat and what a lot of people may not realise is when you're drinking, your body can't break down food either. When it can't metabolise, the body stores whatever you're eating as fat. So It's no surprise then that you'll start to drop any excess pounds!
I usually find at this point I get lot's of those "you look really well" comments with a "what have you been doing?"
Be aware if at this point you gush about it being down to a few weeks off of the amber nectar some may react to this by recoiling with genuine terror in their eyes.
"A whole TWO WEEKS of no drinking? Really? Did you become a nun/monk, or have no social life AT ALL?"
Wait till you tell them it's been a whole month... that really puts the fear of god in them. I swear someone nearly fainted when I told them I had gone a whole six months without drinking. I literally saw their knees slightly give way as they steadied themselves on the bar. Fortunately they had their watermelon martini close to hand to counterbalance the shock. Phew!
After a month - this is where it gets exciting. Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, drop in insulin resistance and therefore a decrease in diabetes risk. A dramatic drop in growth factors linked to cancer.
OK, let's get down to the sciencey bit...
A study involving 141 moderate- heavy drinkers, with 94 abstaining for a month and the rest continuing to drink revealed some dramatic health benefits throughout the abstainers.
Those continuing to drink showed no particular changes over the month (no shock there). The abstainers, however, displayed big improvements. The most striking change was a fall in insulin resistance by an average of 26 percent. That's pretty amazing!
They saw improvements in liver health plus an average 13 percent fall in cholesterol levels, 6 percent drop in blood pressure and a 1.5 percent decline in weight. Which according to Gautam Mehta of university college in London who led the co-led the study is "as much as you could hope to loose if you were dieting."
Which is really impressive! A diet without dieting. Awesome!
This of course doesn't mean you can now eat your body weight in pizza and chocolate cake and expect to loose weight because you're alcohol free! That ain't gonna happen. Obviously. But without changing what you eat and just abstaining from that glass, or four, of whatever takes your fancy will have an impact.
All joking aside, I'm not suggesting you need to abstain for soberly ever after but a simple month off once a year could save your life and at the very least will have a very dramatic effect on your health, waistline and bank balance.
It's certainly worth considering.
Suddenly that soda water and lime or fresh juice seems all the more appealing..