What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Alcohol

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Did you ever stop to think those happy hours were actually making you less happy? Easing off alcohol—for even just one month—has been found to make influential changes in people’s health.

Not only can you make serious progress toward increasing your chances of losing weight, but you can also lower your cancer risk, boost your heart health, and even have better sex when you stop drinking.

If you drink alcoholic beverages frequently, you might be interested to know how your body may change if you cut out beer, wine, and liquor for a while. Whether it’s for a day, a week, or even a month, it can make a difference.

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You’ll Eat Much Less

According to an Appetite journal study, people who drank only half a shot of alcohol (20 grams worth) ate 11 percent more than those who abstained and experienced more cravings for high-fat foods. That’s right: Just half a drink can make you hungrier. And that can lead to a domino effect.

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You Can Lower Your Risk of Liver Damage and Diabetes in Just One Month

In 2013, 14 staffers at New Scientist magazine whose drinking ranged from eight to 64 12-ounce bottles of beer per week took a short-term break from alcohol. Ten people gave up the booze for five weeks. Another four didn’t.

Doctors at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London tested their blood before and after, and discovered that the teetotalers’ liver fat—a predictor of liver damage—fell 15 to 20 percent! The abstainers’ blood glucose levels—a key factor in diabetes—also dropped by an average of 16 percent!

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You’ll Sleep Better…

Though booze can make you fall asleep initially, it disrupts shut-eye. That conclusion was reached by a review of 27 studies on the topic. Another recent study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain. If you want restorative sleep, those waves don’t help. Once you give up alcohol, however, you’ll get better sleep and start feeling more refreshed and sharp.

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You’ll Have More Energy To Speed Up Weight Loss

Getting better sleep makes you eat better. According to a 2013 study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, drinking booze results in shorter, less quality sleep, which caused study subjects to shift from eating carbohydrates to eating fats.

And each 30-minute deficit of sleep caused the subjects to eat 83 additional calories, on average! So not only will a Dry January ensure you’re refreshed from additional shut-eye, you’ll be more likely to eat energy-boosting carbs instead of slug-making fatty foods.

If you average an additional hour of quality sleep, you can look forward to saving almost 5,000 calories in 30 days—about a pound and a half!

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You’ll Eat Less During the Day

A study in the Nature journal found that booze can trigger cravings. How does that work? Agrp neurons, which are usually activated by starvation and result in intense hunger, were found to be triggered by alcohol consumption.

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