Giving booze the boot – Dry January 2020

Health leaders in Somerset would like you to reconsider your relationship with alcohol this January.

Christmas and New Year can be a very joyous time, with plenty of parties and celebrations happening across the world and with these celebrations there is often a common accompaniment, alcohol! However, whilst a few drinks here and there can be a fun way to celebrate the festivities, it’s important that we use alcohol responsibly and don’t exceed our limits.

Dr Ed Ford, Chair of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Minehead GP said: “It’s important to note that it’s now known that the risk of developing cancer starts from any level of regular drinking and increases with the amount being drunk. According to guidelines set out by England’s Chief Medical Officer, drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.

“That’s why I am asking the people of Somerset to cut down their intake of alcohol (or ‘go dry’ by cutting it out completely) this January. Despite what you may have read in the papers, a glass of red wine every day is not the healthiest thing you can do for your body; as all alcoholic drinks carry a health risk. It’s better to have some days where you do not consume alcohol at all (although this doesn’t mean you should ‘save up’ your units for use all in one go – binge drinking can be very bad for your health) so you can give your body a chance to get back to its normal state.”

There are many health benefits to reducing your intake of alcohol. According to Alcohol Change UK, participants in 2019’s Dry January event stated that:

  • 86% of them saved money
  • 70% had better sleep
  • 66% had more energy
  • 65% reported generally improved health overall
  • 58% lost weight

Ed added: “For those of you who really want to get the most benefit this January, I would highly recommend giving booze the boot for the entire month and joining the official Dry January event. According to research carried out by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical Journal, a month off lowers blood pressure, reduces diabetes risk, lowers cholesterol, and reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood. Taking a break can also help you to reset your relationship with alcohol, take a step back and assess the impact that it could be having on you.”