HomeHealthDry January, a month of alcohol-free lightness. Seeing is believing

Dry January, a month of alcohol-free lightness. Seeing is believing

Il Dry january - a month without alcohol - is a collective challenge that aspires to involve as many people as possible.

That is why it is worthwhile to experience a month of lightness and find out how to do it, even with the help of the Try Dry app.

Dry january, a month off

Dry january is based on a simple principle, do not drink alcoholic beverages throughout the month of January. A nice opportunity, after the holidays that record the highest consumption, to give a break:

- to the organism, compared to the only 'non-nutritive nutrient'. That is to say a substance with a good 7 kcal / g (equal to those of butter), which does not contribute to nutrition and rather disturbs it, hindering digestion and metabolism, (1)

- to the mind, which does not need variable alterations of the state of consciousness to express itself at its best (quoted by Frank Zappa) nor to mitigate depressive symptoms. That alcohol, in spite of transient euphoria, instead aggravates. (2)


Seeing is believing - maybe even with non-alcoholic drinks alternatives to traditional ones (eg. beer, wine e appetizers 0% alc. vol.) - the authentic lightness of a month in sobriety, for the body and mind. It only takes a few days to feel the difference, and that's what explains the success of the campaign.

Immediate benefits

Alcohol Change, protagonist of Dry january in the UK, it offers candid survey data on participants in previous editions. 86% save money, 70% sleep better and 66% feel more energy. In addition to brighter skin. Immediate benefits, without tricks.

 conducted by Royal Free Hospital and published on British Medical Journal (Mehta et al., 2018), shows how a one-month break can lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. In addition to reducing the risk of diabetes and the levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood. (3)

The app and the coaching

La app Try Dry - for Apple devices e Android - and the coaching means Email offered by Alcohol Change UK they offer stimuli to those who take part in this collective challenge. (4) With practical and effective support, available to everyone.

'Live without alcohol for 31 days shows us that we don't need alcohol for have fun, relax or socialize. It helps us learn the skills we need to manage our drinking. This means that for the rest of the year we will be able to decide better when and how much to drink, so as to avoid slipping into drinking more than we want'(Alcohol Change UK).

Unforgettable wellness

Six months later the 'sober January', over 70% of the people who followed it continue to drink healthier. In addition to having increased levels of well-being e general self-efficacy, as shown by research conducted by the University of Sussex on 4.232 participants (de Visser et al., 2020. See note 5).

Public Health France - the public research institute that created the NutriScore - commissioned a qualitative study based on interviews with participants and non-participants in the Dry January 2020 in France. For many of the participants interviewed, follow up Dry january it was 'easier than expected', with a number of benefits:

- 'a feeling of energy, of being fitter, partly linked to better sleep’,

- 'weight loss, better digestion, better skin’,

- 'but the most important thing seems to have been the pride of having accepted the challenge!'. (6)

Awareness, social pressure and support

'Participants have often become aware of the place of alcohol in society and in their lives, have been able to take stock of their consumption by identifying the drinks they really wanted and breaking the automatisms, rethinking certain habits (new activities), reassuring themselves about their ability to control their consumption and to resist the pressure of those around them.(6)

Social pressure is the first obstacle encountered in France by the participants a Dry January 2020. ‘In the social and sometimes professional sphere, when one is not drinking, it is common to be faced with misunderstandings, derisions, rejections, criticisms ... Some men have also realized that alcohol is often associated with virility'. Mutual support between participants, such as that of close people (partner, colleagues, friends), it is therefore important to succeed in the challenge. As well as following qualified advice. (7)

Short-sighted market

The market is shortsighted. Alternative drinks are still limited, scarcely available, unattractive or even too sweet or too expensive, according to French consumers. Unavailable in food service and in food delivery, we add.

The culture of drinking without alcohol it has spread with unexpected success in a country of heavy drinkers such as England, as we have seen. (8) While in Italy it is still difficult - indeed almost impossible - to order a non-alcoholic beer with pizza, the world goes on.

Seeing is believing.

Dario Dongo


(1) Alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules by decreasing the secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. It also impairs the absorption of nutrients, damaging the cells that line the stomach and intestines and disabling the transport of some nutrients in the blood. And when nutrients are digested and absorbed, alcohol can prevent them from being fully utilized by altering their transport, storage and excretion. V. NIAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, USA), No. 22 PH 346, Oct. 1993. https://bit.ly/3sUR9on

(2) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Coronavirus, why eliminate or minimize the consumption of alcoholic beverages. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.4.20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/salute/coronavirus-perché-eliminare-o-ridurre-al-minimo-i-consumi-di-bevande-alcoliche

(3) Gautam Mehta et al. (2018). Short-term abstinence from alcohol and changes in cardiovascular risk factors, liver function tests and cancer-related growth factors: a prospective observational study. BMJ Open 2018; 8: e020673. doi: 10.1136 / bmjopen-2017-020673

(4) Dry January (2022). Alcohol Change, UK. https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january

(5) Richard O. de Visser, James Nicholls (2020). Temporary abstinence during Dry January: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy. Psychology & Health, 35:11, 1293-1305, doi: 10.1080 / 08870446.2020.1743840

(6) Société française d'alcoologie (2020). Évaluation qualitative du Défi de Janvier - Dry January 2020 Logiques d'engagement et expériences des participants. Alcoologie et Addictologie, n. 43/2021

(7) V. https://www.vivre-cancer.fr/actualites/relever-ledefidejanvier/

(8) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Quality zero alcohol bubbles, the unexpected success on the UK market. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 3.1.20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/bollicine-di-qualità-a-zero-alcol-l-inatteso-successo-sul-mercato-uk

(8) France: the «dry january» between the absence de soutien de l'État and the poids des lobbies viticoles. RFI. 2.1.22, https://www.rfi.fr/fr/france/20220102-france-le-dry-january-entre-l-absence-de-soutien-de-l-%C3%A9tat-et-le-poids-des-lobbies-viticoles

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.


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