Will Dry January alter drinking habits in the future?

Dry January is a campaign run by Alcohol Change UK, who encourage ‘going dry’ for both health reasons and for charity. In 2018, 4 million people signed up for Dry January, and an estimated 4.2 million signed up in 2019.

Alcohol Change UK have a free app, to help track calories, days sober, and money saved. The app is available to use after January as well. The app also has the option to donate to Alcohol Change UK, which goes towards helping people who struggle with alcohol-related issues.

20 people in the UK die each day from health problems linked to alcohol. Drinking can cause issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and increases the risk of breast cancer, liver disease, stroke, and heart disease. Abstaining from drinking in January can be the start of giving up or reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. Early benefits of giving up include better sleep, better skin, and better mental health.

You could also lose weight drinking less alcohol. One pint of beer is around 200 calories, and a large glass of red wine contains 120 calories. Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect, and often increases hunger.

Stopping drinking for one month and then resuming as usual won’t really do much in general to improve your health. Alcohol Change UK hopes that Dry January leads to healthier choices involving alcohol for the rest of the year, and to consider your overall relationship with alcohol.

According to Macmillan, the average person spends around £50,000 on alcohol in their lifetime, with the heaviest drinkers spending £167,000.

We asked our consumer community whether they took part in Dry January using a filter steer. We then asked the people who answered “Yes” what their alcohol consumption will be like after Dry January. These are the results:

Drinking habits after Dry January

The results show that 57% of people want to reduce or completely cut down on their drinking, indicating that Dry January has an effect on alcohol consumption which outlasts the month itself.

Alcohol remains a large part of our culture, but campaigns such as Dry January highlight the benefits to our health if we limit or stop our alcohol consumption. With more and more people signing up each year, it is becoming more common to examine our drinking habits. It suggests that the recent increase in low-alcohol or alcohol-free drinks speaks directly to a market ready for change.

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