Long Read

What are the benefits of Dry January?

What are the benefits of Dry January?

What is Dry January?

According to Alcohol Change UK, “Dry January is the UK’s one-month booze-free challenge that helps millions reset their relationship with alcohol every year.” (1) After the festive season being such a traditional booze-heavy season, Dry January is a challenge whereby you go the whole of January not drinking any alcohol. After all the festive glasses of wine and pints of beer, wouldn’t you quite enjoy a month of being hangover free?

A month free of alcohol is the brilliant way to reset your relationship with alcohol. Typically, it only takes 3 weeks to break a habit, so this could be your route to happier, healthier drinking long-term. (2)

Why do people do Dry January?

There are many different reasons people do Dry January for different personal reasons. Some people do Dry January to save money, for different health benefits, and to be hangover-free for a month, etc. Next time you are with friends or at work, why not ask ‘Has anyone done Dry January before?’ and ask them what benefits they experienced.

What are the immediate effects?

According to the NHS, the immediate effects of cutting down include:

  • feeling better in the mornings
  • being less tired during the day
  • better looking skin
  • feeling more energetic
  • better weight management. (3)

Can you save calories by doing Dry January?

According to the NHS, did you know that “the average wine drinker in England takes in around 2,000kcal from alcohol every month.” It is reported that a standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine is 126kcal, and a pint of 5% strength beer is 215kcal.  (4)

According to Alcohol Change UK, during Dry January in 2019, 88% of participants saved money, 71% slept better and 58% lost weight. (5) So what are you waiting for?

Can being alcohol free boost your mood?

The NHS reported on a case study with Joanna, who was someone who drank no more than a couple of glasses of wine a day, and so she did not see herself as a heavy drinker. After challenging herself to do Dry January, this is what she had to say about the benefits she personally experienced –

“I was in bed snoring shamelessly before 10pm and awake before the alarm at 6.15am. My skin was looking better. I had more energy and was proud of myself for sticking at it.

Although weight loss wasn’t my main goal, I lost 5lb [2.3kg] in the first month, and have now lost nearly 10lb [4.5kg] and banished 3in [7.5cm] of muffin top from my waistline.”  (6)

Tips to avoid alcohol during Dry January

  • Try alcohol free drinks
  • Track in an app or planner
  • Tell your friends you are doing it; you will be more likely to commit if others also know you are doing it
  • Do with a friend to help motivate each other and track each other
  • Stay hydrated with water

Dry January will boost your mood

Will doing Dry January help me on my Exante weight loss journey?

If you are starting exante this January to kick-start and help your weight loss journey,* then you may be following the exante 800 plan? With only 800 calories a day on this very low calorie diet, alcohol is what could be classed as ‘empty’ calories meaning they have no nutritional value. (7) Why not kickstart your year this January by starting the exante diet plan to contribute to weight lossand challenge yourself to Dry January also to help reap all the benefits associated with this challenge?



*Substituting two daily meals of an energy restricted diet with meal replacements contributes to weight loss


1 – https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january

2 – https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january/why-do-dry-january-1/why-do-dry-january

3 – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/tips-on-cutting-down-alcohol/

4 – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calories-in-alcohol/

5 – https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january/why-do-dry-january-1/why-do-dry-january

6 – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/dry-january-joannas-story/?tabname=alcohol-facts

7 – (https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/calories/calories-in-alcohol/)

Aimee Heeran

Aimee Heeran

Writer and expert

Aimee graduated from the University of Bristol in 2019. It was during her time at University that her love of fitness and nutrition truly began. She’s always loved an active lifestyle from a small child. Aimee frequently enjoys going to the gym, regular hot yoga classes and going for long country walks. She loves trying new activities and in the last 12 months has tried jet skiing, horse riding, and her first 10K race.