Does 'Dry January' actually make you healthier? This is what the experts say...

    We've all heard of 'Dry January' and this year even more people will be taking part in it - but does it actually make you healthier?

    People taking part in 'Dry January' will not drink a drop of alcohol throughout the entire first month of the year.

    University College London have been doing research to find out exactly what taking part will do to your health.

    It found that liver function, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in researchers were better after taking part, and they were at lower risk of developing diabetes and liver disease.

    Participants also lost as much as six pounds in weight, and reported improvements in concentration and sleeping.

    The chief investigator for the study is Professor Kevin Moore, and he told The Belfast Telegraph: "Dry January makes you healthier, so it tells you that alcohol's bad for you - but if you do stop drinking, are there any long-term benefits? We don't know, although you can probably infer that it does have an impact. If this occurs after one month, what happens after three months? Are these effects sustained?"

    "When you give up drinking for a month, a number of measurements improve, which suggest your cardiovascular risk of having a stroke is reduced," says Professor Moore. "Insulin resistance improves substantially, which can also have an impact on cardiovascular risk."

    "Some people who stop drinking haven't even gone a week without drinking for years, and they're quite scared about it.

    "But when you do stop, the world doesn't fall out from underneath you - you can get through the day without going into rampant alcohol withdrawal. People suddenly realise they can do it, and when they feel better - and many of them do - they then ask themselves whether a month off alcohol leads to a healthier 12 months."

    But participants are being warned by charity Drinkaware that a month off doesn't mean you can booze worry free for the rest of the year.

    Overall, it appears that Dry January does have significant health benefits for the month you take part, but these can quickly vanish if you revert back to old habits at the end of the month.

    This article is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute or replace formal medical advice.

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