Dry January

Dry January

Publish Date December 23, 2022 4 Minute Read

What is Dry January?

Dry January was created as a motivator for abstaining from alcohol, resetting your health and getting a fresh start in the new year after indulging during the holidays. It’s believed to have been started by a British charity in 2012 and has gained much popularity worldwide.

According to recent research, drinking excessive alcohol, including binge drinking, has increased by 21% since the pandemic. To put that into perspective, just 1 year of this sustained extra drinking is estimated to lead to 8,000 more deaths by alcohol-related liver disease by 2040. Dry January is an opportunity to cleanse your system and recharge your health. And with our list of refreshing mocktails and hydrating beverages, you can still enjoy fun, colorful drinks.

How Much is Too Much Alcohol?

According to Dietary Guidelines, alcohol risks “can be minimized, however not eliminated” by limiting drinks to 1 per day for women and 2 per day for men. One standard drink is considered to be 12 oz. of beer at about 5% alcohol, 5 oz. of wine at about 12% alcohol or 1.5 oz. of liquor or spirits at about 40% alcohol. For some people, alcohol consumption is not recommended, including pregnant women, those about to drive or operate heavy machinery, individuals under the legal drinking age of 21, and those taking certain medications or who have conditions that are exacerbated by alcohol.

Dry January Benefits

Let’s dive into the various benefits of giving Dry January a try.

  • An Immune System Upgrade According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a single episode of drinking can suppress the immune system for up to 24 hours. Excessive alcohol consumption also damages many immune-specific cells in the GI tract, disrupting gut barrier function, which can let microbes into the circulatory system.
  • Reduce Your Cancer Risk Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of many types of cancer, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, squamous cell carcinoma, liver, colorectal and breast cancer.
  • Save Yourself Some Injuries Studies show that even just moderate drinking can double your chances of bodily injury.
  • Higher Quality Sleep Alcohol in certain doses has been shown to interfere with and cut out much of the highest quality or “REM” sleep. After a week, you may notice catching higher quality Zs and more energy upon waking.
  • Better Mental Health A recent population study showed that the highest levels of mental wellbeing went to the group who quit alcohol altogether (as a Dry January would mimic). According to some statistics, 15% of all suicides are alcohol-related, and over 100,000 people die each year from alcohol-related self-harm.
  • Healthier Weight Many studies have shown that alcohol in excess can not only stop the body from burning fat, but contributes to a fatty liver, which is often found in obesity. Excess alcohol also adds “empty calories” (these are calories without significant nutrients). Ditching alcohol can also help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, which is a popular goal in January.

Give These Mocktail Recipes a Try!

Raspberry Mint Kombucha Smash

Ruby Red Shandy Mocktail

Mojito Mocktail

Grapefruit Sunrise Mocktail

Here’s our list of 10 more favorite nonalcoholic drinks to add some variety to your Dry January. And remember, you don’t always need to have a fancy drink. There are many different hydrating options, including bottled water, flavored sparkling water, plain sparkling water, coconut water, and flavored or enhanced water. Thirsty for more info? Here’s another article about hydration and different types of water.

Whatever your reason to try Dry January, we can help add variety to your drink menu. If you need help with your hydration or any nutrition goals, be sure to schedule a one-on-one Telenutrition visit with one of our registered dietitians today.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.