New Scientist staff have teamed up with Rajiv Jalan at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School (UCLMS) to investigate (DRY January) the benefits of giving up alcohol for a month.
On 5 October, 14 members of the New Scientist staff – all of whom consider themselves to be “normal” drinkers – went to the Royal Free Hospital in London for many tests. For the next five weeks, 10 of them drank no alcohol while four continued as normal. On 9 November, they returned to the hospital to repeat the tests.
There had been no significant changes in any of the parameters measured for the four people who didn’t give up alcohol.
But the changes were dramatic and consistent across all 10 abstainers.
Liver fat fell on average by 15 per cent, and by almost 20 per cent in some individuals.
The blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 16 per cent on average, from 5.1 to 4.3 millimoles per litre.
Total blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, dropped by almost 5 per cent, from 4.6 to 4.4 mmol/l.
Ratings of sleep quality on a scale from 1 to 5 rose by just over 10 per cent, improving from 3.9 to 4.3.
Ratings of concentration soared 18 per cent from 3.8 to 4.5.
The only negative was that people reported less social contact.
Source: New Scientist