Try A Dry January
Submitted by Bill McKay Jr.
Resolutions go hand in hand with the start of a new year. And Dry January, the annual
initiative to stop drinking alcohol for the first month, is one of the more popular New
Year’s challenges, drawing in millions of people in multiple countries each year.
Should you try it in 2019? Here’s what experts say.
Drinking less is probably good for your health.
Conventional wisdom (and federal guidelines) say that moderate drinking — up to a drink
per day for women, or two per day for men — is okay for health. But several prominent
2018 studies found that drinking even small amounts of alcohol may be associated with
higher risks of health problems and death, and that the risk of developing alcohol-linked
conditions, such as cancer, may outweigh potential benefits associated with booze, such
as better heart health. Most experts — even those who don’t advocate for outright
alcohol abstinence — say the less you drink, the better.
Reductions in drinking are associated with improved health and improved sleep and
improved mood, and taking just a month to reduce your drinking reduces the overall
pattern of consumption. By cutting it out for a month, you’ve consumed less for the year.
Dry January might be the start of something good
Dr. Richard Saitz, an internist and addiction medicine specialist at Boston Medical Center,
says that a month-long reprieve probably isn’t enough to significantly affect your chances
of either developing or preventing chronic conditions. But he says it can lead to short-
term health improvements that may spark long-term change.
A month without drinking will likely also force you to develop habits and hobbies that don’t
revolve around alcohol, which may stick around well after January. And you’re going to
be challenged a lot less being dry in January [when lots of people are doing it] than if you
chose to be dry in August
Just approach it in the right way
The only real downside of Dry January is that it can promote all-or-nothing thinking about
alcohol, which isn’t necessarily healthy. Depriving oneself completely can lead to future
binging, Like a dieter who eats very little and then consumes an entire box of cookies,
people who participate in Dry January may binge-drink when they do return to drinking,
or if they slip up during the month. A “less pejorative” outlook, might promote more
measured behavior. And in the long term, the best approach is drinking in moderation
year-round, rather than normalizing a pattern of heavy imbibing during the holiday
season, followed by total abstinence.
Even alcohol companies weighing the benefits of moderation. Now, cannabis firms are
soberly getting in on the action.
Makers of brews free of booze such as O’Doul’s and newcomers such as Heineken 0.0
and Pabst Blue Ribbon Non-Alc are seeing profits in a healthier low to no alcohol brews.
Brewers have quietly been introducing low-ABV and non-alcoholic craft beers, testing
how thirsty consumers are for barley-based beverages that aren’t intended to get you
goofy. Though the market is still quite small -- about $100 million annually -- they’d say
that means there’s nowhere to go but up.
It is important to note that brewers are responding to changing consumer tastes, but
there's another powerful incentive driving the trend: Non-alcoholic beer generates 1.5
times more revenue because there's no alcohol tax to pay.
Understandably many producers still have to convince drinkers that 0% beer has its
merits since the reputation is terrible but that can quickly change due to the availability of
hops we can get from around the world. In today's world there is no need for non-
alcoholic beer to be boring.
Advertising language is already becoming more positive, Ads tout what the beer has to
offer in terms of flavors and natural ingredients, while steering away from its lack of
alcohol. Research shows that drinkers are becoming more open to the idea of non-
alcoholic beer, but there's still a long way to go.
beernexus.com - SPECIAL REPORT
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