Ask DR ELLIE CANNON: Do I really need dry January?

Mail Online | 12/30/2018 | Dr Ellie Cannon For The Mail On Sunday
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I am a 52-year-old man who drinks a couple of times each week, though not excessively. My GP says I have slightly high blood pressure and I am a little overweight. Will ‘dry January’ make me healthier?

The short answer is yes. Even for someone drinking less than the maximum 14 units a week (about seven medium glasses of wine), avoiding alcohol for a month is likely to reap some tangible health outcomes.

New - Year - Loss - Alcohol - Reduces

Firstly, it will kick-start some New Year weight loss. Cutting down alcohol reduces calorie intake, as long as units are not replaced with sugary alternatives. A couple of pints of beer amounts to 364 calories – more than the average fast-food burger.

Not only does alcohol lead to increased blood pressure due to the resulting weight gain, but a high level of alcohol consumption in the long term increases blood pressure independently of weight.

Reason - Anyone - Trial - Month - Abstinence

A further reason for anyone to trial a month of abstinence is to explore their psychological relationship with alcohol and improve mental health.

Even in those not exceeding the weekly alcohol units limit, it is valuable to test and review that and reduce the chances of any growing dependency.

Dry - January - Call - People

Dry January can be a useful wake-up call, often when people don’t realise they need one.

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