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6 Amazing Benefits of Giving Up Wine

Giving up wine for Sober October has some immediate and long-term positive effects on your health and well-being. 
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Many health-conscious individuals enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner as they believe that wine is a healthier choice when it comes to alcohol. Red wine has long been heralded as good for your heart and longevity and a core component of the Mediterranean Diet, considered one of the best eating patterns for longevity.

However, recent research has started to question whether drinking wine or alcohol provides any meaningful health benefits, and the risks of drinking — even at low or moderate amounts — may not be worth it. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report from January 2023, no amount of alcohol is safe for your health. Not even a drop! The WHO states that alcohol is linked to more than 200 diseases, injuries, and other health conditions. What's more, data to support WHO's new position on alcohol was reported in The Lancet, where researchers revealed that even modest consumption of wine, or any other type of alcohol, is carcinogenic and increases one's risk for several types of cancer.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults of legal age should limit alcohol to one drink a day for women (equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits) and two drinks for men. However, the Guidelines also state that no one should start drinking for a purported health benefit and that many people should not drink whatsoever.

The good news is that quitting alcohol is increasingly popular among influencers, including many celebrities and even rock stars. It appears that every day there's another celebrity swearing off alcohol — even including wine, which is often heralded as a "healthy" addition to any diet. One of the most recent examples is supermodel Gisele Bündchen who said in an interview with People, that she hasn't touched alcohol for more than two years. Bündchen said giving up a glass of wine created a huge difference in her life, and it helped her feel clearer and improved her sleep. Other A-list teetotalers include Jennifer Lopez, Bradley Cooper, Blake Lively, and Tom Hardy.

If you're thinking of giving up your evening glass of wine for Sober October, here are five benefits of giving up wine and all alcohol in general. Read on, and for more, don't miss The 15 Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks You'll Actually Like.

You'll lose llbs.

wine in fridge
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Wine can be considered a "triple threat" for your weight and waistline. Here's why: It provides 115 to 125 calories per 5 ounces, it increases your appetite, and it wears away at your willpower. According to a paper written by McGill University, alcohol has also been shown to disrupt the body's hunger hormones, ghrelin, and leptin, which can also help explain why alcohol makes us hungrier and less satisfied. The bottom line? For most of us, the more we drink, the more we will eat.

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You'll reduce your risk for several types of cancer.

pour glass of red wine with dinner alcohol
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Alcohol is also a potent Group 1 Carcinogen, according to research and the WHO. It can cause cancer because it breaks down in the body to form a compound that can harm DNA and increase the risk for seven types of cancer including oral cavity, liver, larynx, colorectum, and breast cancer. The WHO said that one's risk is increased with even a small amount of alcohol, like one drink. According to one study reported in the journal Nutrients, one of the by-products of digesting alcohol is the creation of acetaldehyde, which can cause DNA damage and block DNA synthesis and repair. At the same time, ethanol increases inflammation and oxidative stress, other conditions that can lead to DNA damage, which is linked with an increased risk for cancer.

Your liver will thank you.

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Your liver is the organ that does most of the heavy lifting for metabolizing alcohol, according to research in the journal Alcohol Research. It's well known that prolonged, heavy drinking harms the liver, but did you know that every time you have a sip of wine, some of your liver cells will die as it processes the by-products of alcohol digestion and absorption, and inflammation gets ramped up in the liver? The extent of the impact of alcohol on your liver varies from person to person, but women tend to be at increased risk. While cirrhosis may be the most known alcohol-related liver disease, there are several others including alcoholic hepatitis, steatosis, fatty liver, fibrosis, and cirrhosis are all linked to alcohol consumption. Over time, scar tissue builds up in the liver which can lead to cirrhosis, which is life-threatening. What's more, all alcohol harms the liver; five ounces of wine will be just as harmful as 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of spirits.

RELATED: 20 Best Detox Waters To Burn Fat & Lose Weight

You'll improve your heart's health.

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Red wine is often recommended as a heart-healthy beverage that can lower your risk of heart disease. However, some research suggests that teetotalers also have lower risks of heart disease and that many studies have overstated the potential heart-health benefits of wine and alcohol in general. According to one study published in The American Journal of Medicine, the researchers suggest that the body of research may overestimate the benefits of alcohol for cardiovascular disease prevention and that there are many confounding factors, in particular, lifestyle, genetic, and socioeconomic associations with wine drinking, which likely explain much of the association with wine and reduced cardiovascular disease events. For example, individuals who drink wine may eat healthier and exercise more, which could also be factors that reduce their risk for heart disease. Currently, health professionals do not advise anyone to start drinking to reduce their risk for heart disease.

You'll sleep better.

toast red wine cheers
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Most individuals who have given up wine or any alcohol will explain how much better they sleep after giving up alcohol. There is plenty of research to back that up. Wine and other alcohol acts as a sedative to put you to sleep quickly, but then it leads to disrupted, poor-quality sleep later in the night. One study published in the journal Alcohol reported that alcohol can cause insomnia and daytime sleepiness and it also reduces the time spent in deep sleep during the second half of the night. The cost of alcohol-induced sleep disturbances is thought to exceed $18 billion.

 9 Sneaky Ways to Lose Weight In Your Sleep

You'll save money.

Woman deciding what wine to buy and shopping in supermarket
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Forgoing vino is a great way to fight inflation and improve your bottom line. Reddit users in the thread, "How much money are you saving by not drinking?" details their personal financial benefits of giving up wine and other alcohol. Some say they spent $15 a day or about $400 a month, while others estimated that they spent $1,000 a month. Giving up wine (and alcohol) may help you save around $5,000 or more annually.

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Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications specialist who has written thousands of articles for national media outlets, including The New York Times, US News & World Report, and USA Today. Read more about Julie
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