You may not be aware of it but many common beverages can add inches to your waistline especially if you drink them regularly. Fatty and carbohydrates-rich foods aren’t the only ones that can make you gain weight but also these thirst quenchers and mood uppers as well. IN PHOTO: People toast with beer mugs in Munich in this September 21, 2010 file photo Reuters/Michaela Rehle

The festive season is the time when most people indulge. Drinking becomes common even if one is not actually a regular drinker. While it is great to have fun and spoil yourself once in a while, the effects of going over the top with alcohol will impact your health in the long term. Keeping this in mind, the Alcohol Concern and Public Health England (PHE) are asking people to start the New Year on a good note and opt for a 'Dry January' instead.

'Dry January' is a campaign that urges people to quit drinking for a month. This period will cleanse the body and help people lose weight. The campaign targets social drinkers and not those who are alcohol dependent. In a press release, Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said that people who took part in 'Dry January' last year reported that the campaign influenced their alcohol consumption in the remaining months. Over 17,000 people saw a lower daily consumption of alcohol and drank less often than they did before.

Fenton also stated that the consumption rate increases drastically this time of the year due to New Year and Christmas holidays. "We really want to encourage people to be more mindful about the health harms of alcohol intake and what they can do to be more moderate drinkers and reduce the harms from alcohol," he said.

There are several health and lifestyle benefits of opting for a 'Dry January'. There are lesser hangovers, you will lose weight and save your earnings. The charity also threw light on the other health benefits of alcohol, which include better quality of sleep and healthier skin and hair. However, the charity made it quite clear that the liver may not benefit from a month-long break.

Jackie Ballard, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said that this does not mean people would have to quit drinking forever. It just is a time for people to reflect on their habit and analyse their drinking patterns. It is a well-deserved break for your body.