Giving up alcohol for January? Your liver may not thank you for it, say experts

Lewis Smith
Monday 02 January 2012 01:00
Comments

Had too much to drink over the seasonal festivities? Thinking about giving up in January to clean out your system? Don't bother, warn medics, it's a waste of time.

Promises to give up alcohol for a week or two, perhaps for a whole month, are common in the New Year but are being described as medically futile.

As drinkers begin their DIY "detox" programmes by giving up alcohol, the British Liver Trust is preparing to launch a series of roadshows designed to focus public attention on the growing problem of liver damage.

Dr Mark Wright, a consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital, claims such short-term abstinence can be damaging because it engenders a false sense of security.

He said: "Detoxing for just a month in January is medically futile. It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.

"It makes about as much sense as maxing out your credit cards and overdraft all year, then thinking you can fix it by just eating toast in January. The figures just don't stack up." Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: "You are better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only."

The warning was made as researchers reported that people are kidding themselves in that other area which also tends to crop up in new years resolutions – healthy eating. A study by Slimming World found that almost 20 per cent of people in the UK are "in denial" about being obese.

A quarter of the population falls into the category of being obese but, according to the dieting company's annual survey, only 6 per cent of people believe they are. Dr Jacquie Lavin, head of nutrition and research, said: "This worrying new data reveals the complex psychological issues associated with being overweight."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in