Drink This

The Best Tips for Dry January

Going alcohol-free for a month can be one of the most surprising, rewarding ways to be happier this year. You in or what?

Shunning alcohol for a month—with a ton of other people taking on the challenge with you—is what makes "Dry January" a compelling resolution. The increasingly popular annual ritual has a host of benefits beyond giving you more things to post about on Facebook. You can make serious progress toward increasing your chances of losing weight, lowering your cancer risk, boosting your heart health, and even having better sex, all in just 30 days. A pile of scientific studies says so.

And best of all: January 2nd isn't too late to go alcohol-free for a month; you can reap the rewards of a dry month any time of the year. Here's all the motivation you need to be alcohol-free for 31 days; check 'em out now and revisit them when you need to strengthen your willpower. And to blast even more fat—and shrink your belly in just 7 days—click here for The Best Tea to Melt Fat—Fast. Test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week!

1
You’ll eat much less
even after half a drink

According to a Dutch study, people who drank only half a shot of alcohol ate 20 percent more than those who abstained. That’s right: Just half a drink—a 6-ounce beer, 2.5-ounce glass of wine or half a shot—can make you hungrier. And that can lead to a domino effect. Read on.

2
You can lower your
risk of liver damage
and diabetes
in just one month

In 2013, 14 staffers at New Scientist magazine whose drinking ranged from eight to 64 12-ounce bottles of beer per week took a short-term break from alcohol. Ten people gave up the booze for five weeks. Another four didn't. Doctors at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London tested their blood before and after, and discovered that the teetotalers' liver fat—a predictor of liver damage—fell 15 to 20 percent! The abstainers’ blood glucose levels—a key factor in diabetes—also dropped by an average of 16 percent! Speaking of dropping things, you can drop 10 pounds with these 25 Easy Ways to Lose Weight—Fast!

3
You’ll sleep
better…

Though booze can make you fall asleep initially, it disrupts shut-eye. That conclusion was reached by a review of 27 studies on the topic. Another recent study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain. If you want restorative sleep, those waves don’t help. Once you give up alcohol, however, you’ll get better sleep and start feeling more refreshed and sharp.

4
...which will give you
more energy and
speed weight loss

Getting better sleep makes you eat better. According to a 2013 study published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, drinking booze results in shorter, less quality sleep, which caused study subjects to shift from eating carbohydrates to eating fats. And each 30-minute deficit of sleep caused the subjects to eat 83 additional calories, on average! So not only will a Dry January ensure you're refreshed from additional shut-eye, you'll be more likely to eat energy-boosting carbs instead of slug-making fatty foods. If you average an additional hour of quality sleep, you can look forward to saving almost 5,000 calories in 30 days — about a pound and a half!

5
You’ll eat 384
fewer calories a day

That’s what researchers found in a new Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study. Examining the eating and drinking habits of 22,000 Americans, they discovered that alcohol causes people to eat that much more, on average. Why? Booze might make us more sensitive to food aromas and less likely to resist chowing down. After 30 days, you'll save 11,520 calories. That's three pounds right there!

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6
You’ll boost
your metabolism

When you consume alcohol, your body uses the ethanol for energy, not other sources like fat. Skip the booze and your body will burn carbs, then flubber. Why not maximize your results by working out in a fasted state in the morning? When you work out first thing, your body is low on glycogen, so your body will skip right to burning fat. Can’t Lose Weight? Fitness Experts Explain Why

7
You’ll have
better skin

Alcohol is a diuretic, which leaches fluids from your body. (Translation: It causes you to pee more that you otherwise would.) But unlike tea and coffee, which are also diuretics, alcohol decreases the body's production of the antidiuretic hormone that helps the body reabsorb water. That'll show up on your face. After just a few days of abstinence, you'll notice that your skin looks and feels more hydrated, and skin maladies like dandruff, eczema or rosacea may also improve. Did you know that alcohol is one of the 20 Foods That Age You 20 Years.

8
You'll lower your
risk of cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking booze has been linked to an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, liver, breast, colon, and rectum—and the risk increases the more you drink. You can guarantee you'll lower your cancer risk in just 30 days. How? Replace your post-boozing McDonald’s menu with snacks and meals high in fibrous fruits, veggies and legumes. In a 2015 study, scientists from Imperial College and the University of Pennsylvania found that swapping a meat-heavy Western diet for a high-fiber one increased healthy, protective gut bacteria and lowered colon cancer biomarkers—in just two weeks!

9
You'll be
well hydrated

If you're used to having a few brews or glasses of wine at home each night, replace the ritual with flavored seltzers or detox waters you make yourself. Not only will saving the calories from booze help reduce your waistline, spiking plain H20 with antioxidant-rich citrus fruits and berries will maximize body detox and weight loss. Here are Best Detox Water Recipes for Weight Loss.

10
You'll improve
your heart health

Per the American Heart Association, drinking alcohol can raise the level of triglycerides and harmful fats in the blood. That can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and heart disease. How? According to a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Lipidology, drinking booze is closely related to the ingestion of fat. Consuming one makes your hypothalamus signal that you're craving the other. That’s some scientific stuff, we know. For some simpler answers about your waist, check out these 50 Weight Loss Questions Answered in 5 Words or Less!

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11
You'll reduce your
risk of stroke and
nerve damage

Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to stroke and neuropathy. Why? The American Heart Association says that regular heavy drinking can raise blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeats over time. And according to the National Institute of Health, excessive boozing directly poisons nerves.

12
You'll do better
at work

In the New Scientist study, participants who quit booze for 30 days reported an 18 percent increase in concentration and a 17 percent boost in performance at your job. Quit raising a glass and you'll be on your way to getting a raise.

13
You can reduce
your cholesterol level

In the New Scientist study, staffers who quit alcohol found their blood cholesterol levels fell by an average of 5 percent in just 30 days! This is because abstaining helped their bodies sweep out those nasty, fatty triglycerides.

14
You'll have
better sex

While a glass or two of wine or a few cocktails may seem to set the mood, it's actually a depressant, which is the last thing you want in the bedroom. It can play havoc with a man's ability to get and keep an erection, and dampen the libido for women as well. And while all alcohol affects the liver’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen, beer contains phytoestrogens — plant-derived estrogens that dampen virility and fertility. Taxing the liver with alcohol can make it less effective at metabolizing hormones, which can convert androgens into estrogens, resulting in a diminished sex drive.


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