The first of July is imminent and for many of us, that means the start of 31 days alcohol-free. Dry July is the perfect excuse for a serious health-kick, so if you’ve been indulging in a few too many cosy winter red wines or yummy pub dinners it could be coming at just the right time for you. For anyone signing up to raise money, you’ll also be helping people living with cancer – in July alone, over 11,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer.
If you’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing about going Dry, we’ve got expert advice from dietitian Gael Myers about the five major benefits you’ll experience taking a month off from drinking.
You’ll feel lighter
The kilojoules in alcohol can really add up. Drinking just two cans of beer each day means chugging down an extra 8100 kilojoules each week. That’s like eating a whole extra days’ worth of food!
You’ll make better food choices
Science has confirmed what we’ve long suspected – we don’t make the best food choices after we’ve been drinking. A 2015 study published in the journal, Appetite, found that men ate more kilojoules and showed a preference for high-fat foods after having just two standard drinks when compared to those who hadn’t been drinking. Laying off the booze could mean you’re less tempted by a late night kebab or fast food run, making it easier to stick to your healthy eating goals.
You’ll have more energy
You might feel like alcohol helps you drift off into dreamland, but alcohol can actually be the enemy of good quality sleep. A less than restful sleep can mean waking up groggy and finding it harder to concentrate throughout the day. When you stop drinking you might find that your energy levels increase, you’ll be able to go harder at the gym and you’ll feel sharper at work.
You’ll save cash
Booze is an expensive habit. While a bottle of aged whiskey can set you back $100, even with less expensive tastes it’s easy to burn a hole through your pocket. The average Australian household spends $1700 on alcohol each year – that’s money that could be better spent on holidays, gadgets and eating out.
You’ll take a big step towards reducing your risk of cancer
Drinking booze increases your risk of at least 6 different cancers including bowel, liver, mouth and throat. This increased risk is seen with all types of alcohol, even red wine. Quitting alcohol or reducing the amount you drink will go a long way towards cutting your cancer risk.
Gael Myers is an accredited practising dietitian, a member of the Cancer Council WA and the campaign coordinator for LiveLighter