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It’s not too late to try the ‘Dry January’ alternative

It’s not too late to try the ‘Dry January’ alternative

If you already slipped up on your New Year’s resolution of cutting alcohol for “Dry January”, it’s not too late to transition to a “Damp January”. The more flexible version of the trend allows you to enjoy alcohol in moderation but cuts back on your overall alcohol consumption.

Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks for men and one drink for women a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, reducing your intake even less than the recommendation and extending the trend outside of January can help you experience more health benefits and can lead to a healthier lifestyle long term.

Both “Dry January” and “Damp January” are beneficial if they bring about more awareness of your relationship with alcohol. “Damp January” is a healthier approach because it helps you develop healthier drinking habits long-term, rather than cutting out alcohol for just one month.

Even if you aren’t quitting cold turkey, you can still experience the following benefits:
  • Less liver inflammation and scarring
  • A reduction in heart muscle damage
  • A lesser risk of developing cardiomyopathy
  • A decrease in your cancer risk
  • Potential weight loss
  • Prevention against accidents and injuries
  • Less heartburn and indigestion
  • Better absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Improvement in sleep quality and mood

Research shows that drinking alcohol in low to moderate amounts seems to be okay for most adults and may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, scientists are unsure if it is controlling your alcohol intake that is reducing the risk or if people who drink alcohol in moderation also just happen to engage in many other healthy habits such as healthy eating and regular exercise.

In addition to heart disease, many other diseases can benefit from this lifestyle change such as liver disease, diabetes, gout and cancer.

Taking steps to improve your health, like cutting back on alcohol, may even prompt you to make changes in other areas of your life such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing stress.

If you have questions about how to make changes to your lifestyle to improve your health, schedule an appointment with your provider.

Heather Klug is a registered dietitian at Aurora Health Care.

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  1. Damp January is an excellent idea for those of us who haven’t been successful with Dry January to feel hope and confidence in improved alcohol use practices! Love this–it’s not a failure, it’s a new opportunity!

  2. Hi Cindy! Love the way you are looking at this! Cutting something out completely can be very hard. Sometimes the better approach is to figure out how to minimize something vs total elimination. For things that are OK in moderation like alcohol, this seems to be the good middle-ground approach. Come up with a limit for how many drinks you’ll have (aim for less than usual amount) and then think of strategies to help you handle temptations to drink more and to handle comments from others.

  3. I’ve only been drinking dry red wines…..have I been doing this wrong? dang…

    • HI Marc,
      Thank you for reading the article. Red wine certainly will be higher in antioxidants. You’ll want to keep moderation in mind, even with red wine, due to the potentially harmful side effects from either drinking large amounts of any alcohol in a sitting or drinking frequently for a longer period of time. Keeping alcohol to small amounts is the most important thing. Moderation is one drink per day for women and two for men. One drink for wine = 5 ounces!

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About the Author

Heather Klug
Heather Klug

Heather Klug, MEd RD is a registered dietitian and cardiac educator at the Karen Yontz Women's Cardiac Awareness Center inside Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI.