A word in your ear - January 5, 2012

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ANDREW Volstead would have been proud of my rather stark decision on New Year’s Eve.

That’s right I decided to give up booze for a whole two months.

Not that Senator Volstead could care less, given he died 14 years after America’s most “noble experiment”, which carried his name as the Volstead Act, was scrapped because Americans wanted a beer.

Prohibition has long passed into the memory, never to be tried again on the other side of the Atlantic.

But plenty of us Brits do it every January – the post-Christmas detox.

I for one have always avoided such seemingly feeble acts of repentance following a Yuletide gorging on anything from bottled real ales with the amusing word Piddle or Widdle in the title to, at a push, a blended whisky (but, only when nothing else is on offer).

But this year I have decided to give it a go.

Maybe it was my recent hitting of 40, maybe it was the fact January and February are always very quiet for me, but why not?

Then, just three days into 2012 I found out why not.

Anyone else read the headline “Thinking about giving up in January to clean out your system? Don’t bother – it’s a waste of time”?

Typical. Most years of my adult life, those where the partaking of strong continental lager was my hobby of choice, there have been health experts everywhere telling me to “give up son, give your body a breather”.

Now it appears such actions are, to quote medical experts from Southampton, of all places, “medically futile”.

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 short-term abstinence can be damaging because it engenders a false sense of security.

He said: “Detoxing for just a month is medically futile. It feeds the idea you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.”

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, added: “You’re better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the year than remaining abstinent for January only.”

The warning was made as researchers reported people are kidding themselves in that other area which also tends to crop up in New Year’s resolutions – healthy eating.

A study by Slimming World found almost 20 per cent of people in the UK are “in denial” about being obese. Crikey, it’s a bundle of laughs this 2012 ain’t it?

It’s enough for anyone to turn to drink. Well not me. I’m undeterred, and will continue with my own prohibition-style detox.

The makers of Chilean Merlot or Spanish Rioja will take a hit no doubt, but I for one am determined to make it to Spring with a new spring in my step.

If I do that I may just go to the pub to celebrate. . . with a cranberry juice of course.