With the holiday season now behind us, many are looking toward the beginning of the new year as an opportunity to start fresh. One way to do that may be by joining Dry January.
The new trend challenges people to not have any alcohol for the entire month. It comes from "Alcohol Change U.K.," an organization that encourages responsible alcohol consumption.
Dr. Mitchell Shulman said on the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS that starting this challenge after the holiday season is a great time.
"The idea being that we tend to drink too much over the holidays, so maybe it would be a good idea to abstain for a month to give our body a chance to calm down and be happier."
Shulman pointed to recent studies that show conventional thinking surrounding drinking may be wrong. While many believe a few drinks every day is okay, Shulman says there may not be a safe amount to drink at all.
"Even a single glass a day, and the key point being a day, regular alcohol consumption, may actually increase your risk of all sorts of cancer...So the real concern now is maybe we should all be cutting down on the amount that we drink."
Shulman acknowledges many people may be unwilling to cut out alcohol altogether long-term. "The key thing here is the amount that you are consuming on a regular basis and binge drinking," Shulman said. "I really want to discourage people from binge drinking, and that's where you drink a whole bunch of alcohol in a short period of time."
Shulman says that while he thinks it is still okay to have a glass of wine with dinner, there are many health benefits to reducing your overall alcohol consumption. He says drinking less can lead to a loss in high calorie intake and a healthier liver. He also recommends drinking less if you happen to smoke as well.
"Studies have shown that if people drink and smoke, one of the most effective ways to help them stop smoking would be to cut back on their drinking," Shulman notes.
When choosing to have a drink, Shulman recommends having a non-alcoholic beverage as well.
"I'm not going to tell you not to drink. No one out there is going to listen to me at all if I tell them not to drink. But if you want to take advantage of Dry January to cut back on the amount that you drink, I think that's a great idea. If you want to keep from drinking as much for the rest of the year, I think that's an awesome idea."