If you’re one of the many who have signed up for FebFast this year, then you are probably counting down the days until your ‘fast’ is over.
FebFast is the great Australian ‘pause for a cause’. Participants choose to quit alcohol or sugar for the month of February in an effort to raise funds to support youth programs across the country. In addition to raising funds, many Australians use this as a kick-start to a healthier version of themselves.
Whether you have chosen to give up alcohol or sugar for the full 29 days (that’s right, it’s a leap year!), no doubt you will feel challenged along the way.
During these challenging times, it may help to think about the health benefits of giving up alcohol or sugar.
Health benefits of a month without alcohol or sugar
According to the FebFast website, most participants feel healthier after a month without booze or the sweet stuff. They report sleeping better, having increased energy levels, are more productive at work, and of course, save a great deal of money!
- 62 per cent lose weight
- 81 per cent save money and invest it in something like a holiday
- 86 per cent become more aware of how alcohol and sugar impact their health
- 60 per cent are more productive at work, enabling them to have more time with their family and friends
- 44 per cent sleep better, thereby gaining more energy
Backed up by research
The above claims are not without scientific backing. A pilot study by University College London found that participants who abstained from alcohol for one month had reduced blood pressure and improved cholesterol and insulin resistance. This in turn leads to better live health and a reduced risk of developing diabetes. [i]
A further study from the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital found that children who gave up sugar for nine days exhibited significant health changes. These included a drop in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin, as well as improved liver function.[ii]
So the next time you find it hard to resist reaching for a beer, or downing a chocolate bar, remind yourself you are not only contributing to a good cause, but doing something positive for your health.
For further information visit the FebFast website.
[i] Andy Coglan, Our liver vacation: Is a dry January really worth it?, New Scientist published 31 December 2013; accessed 5 February 2016, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129502-600-our-liver-vacation-is-a-dry-january-really-worth-it
[ii] Juliana Bunim, Obese Children’s Health Rapidly Improves with Sugar Reduction Unrelated to Calories, University of California San Francisco, published 27 October 2015; accessed 4 February 2016 https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/10/136676/obese-childrens-health-rapidly-improves-sugar-reduction-unrelated-calories