To Detox or Drink-tox?

The answer is always Drink-tox, though a recent wrist injury in Portugal and handfuls of questionable pain medication forced me into an actual detox.

Now, I’m back to drinking and it’s about time.  However,  avoiding alcohol got me thinking about “Sober January” and other alcohol “cleanses” that seem to be all the rage amongst drinkers. Mostly I wondered, do any of these short-term practices actually improve health?

Let’s look to science for answers!

Oh wait, there’s hardly any science that actually backs up these detox diets because the overwhelming majority of liver research has been done on people suffering from liver failure.

However, some research from said miniscule body on healthy livers does show that a meager two weeks off the sauce can reduce fat on the liver (often a precursor of liver failure) and increase brain function.  One point for team teetotaler.

According to one Sober January participant, the practice makes him, “A slightly less-shitty rec league ice hockey player.” Another point for team teetotaler.

On the other hand, some British studies have shown  that abstaining for a set period of time (like January)  can be harmful because it encourages an “all or nothing” mentality surrounding alcohol, leading to binge drinking. These scientists also argue that the practice discourages alcoholics from seeking formal treatment. One point for team moderate drinking.

Also, humans have been drinking since the discovery of fermentation 10,000 years ago and thriving ever since. Another point for team alcohol.

It’s a tie! After seriously considering all the science here, it clearly remains that drink-toxing is the way to go. All wines have health benefits, beer can be used as a fiber substitute, and whiskey can help your body absorb vitamin C.

Remember, mixing prescription pain medication and alcohol is a bad idea. Otherwise, remember that nothing in the world tastes quite like Champagne.

The Detox Uncorked:


Laura Loves: Nicolas Feuillate Brut Reserve Champagne, a toasty and pear-scented wine that’s my go-to post a 2-week or 2-hour detox.

Proof: The Science of Alcohol by Adam Rogers for an interesting and in-depth look at booze from behind the scenes.

Fun Facts: Your liver doesn’t just filter alcohol, this organ is responsible for over 500 processes, including digestion and hormone balance.

This Article from Esquire on drinking yourself healthy.  (spoiler alert: Whiskey is your friend).


  • September 23, 2014
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