Nice ‘dranquilo’ in the month of Dry January: What’s in it? | NOW

It’s that time again: The dry January 2021 has started and 30,941 participants have registered with IkPas in the Netherlands. The government supports the Alcohol Free Month initiative and has launched the Dranquilo: Break Your Drinking Habits campaign. And that is necessary, according to Martijn Planken from IkPas. “Every glass is a risk.”

Figures from the Trimbos Institute show that 11 percent of people drank more in the past year. According to Planken van I fitIn the Dutch version of Dry January, most of the drinkers are home drinkers. “And now that this group is more at home, they’re more likely to be encouraged to drink.”

“Most people are unaware that alcohol increases their risk of cancer, dementia, or miscarriages.”


According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, someone who drinks more than four (woman) or six (man) glasses a day at least once a week is a heavy drinker. “Most people are unaware that alcohol increases their risk of cancer, dementia, or miscarriages.”

From the investigation Alcohol Knowledge Monitor The Trimbos Institute, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), shows that many people underestimate the personal harm caused by alcohol consumption.

Planken confirms the risk: “Wherever the alcohol flows, there is a possibility that cancer will develop, such as esophageal and stomach cancer. And also liver disease. There are many processes that are influenced by the substance alcohol.”

The gastrointestinal liver doctor Martijn ter Borg from the Maxima Center says the liver becomes inflamed when people drink too much. “If there is too much inflammation, long-term scars will develop and you can develop liver cancer.”

Few people notice an inflamed liver. “This is lazy. The liver is constantly damaged and with very bad damage you are already late. Then you get fluid retention and the varicose veins in your esophagus can bleed. We see this regularly.”

Dranquilo: Take it easy

Despite the health risks, alcohol consumption is increasing, but there is a will to decrease or even opt for total abstinence. The alcohol test, conducted in 2019 by the VWS miniseries and the Trimbos Institute, found that 16 percent of Dutch people are considering drinking less in the future.

This trend was already noticeable before the corona crisis. Then 41,000 people signed up for the IkPas campaign. “It’s less this year, but that’s only because of the limited advertising budget this year,” says the campaign manager.

“People feel fit, lose weight and sleep better. And they notice that within a short month. “

Martijn Planken, IKPas

The fact that many people want to drink less is positive news, although the official advice of the Health Council since 2015 has been: Do not drink. This is also one reason why the Dutch nutrition center completely removed alcohol from the wheel of five four years ago. The government doesn’t want to go that far. Last year she launched the “Dranquilo” campaign, a derivative of the Spanish word “tranquilo”, which means “take it easy”.

The campaign is part of the National Prevention Agreement that the Ministry signed with 70 institutions in November 2018. It sets out ambitions and goals for a healthier Netherlands in 2040. One of these goals is to combat excessive alcohol consumption.

After two weeks it gets better

This is how Planken sees it: “It is an indication that it is also normal not to drink.” People will only experience this if they are completely abstinent for a month.

“It really takes you at least four weeks to experience the benefits. The first two weeks you feel less good and then you feel better again. People feel fit again, both mentally and physically. They lose weight and weight, too they sleep better. And they notice this within the last month of IkPas. “

In addition to the physical effects, it also makes participants aware of their alcohol consumption. “The upside is that 70 percent of the people who do it drink 30 percent less than before.” This is the result of the annual impact survey by IkPas.

“If you consciously think about what you are doing, then you have it sharp again. And that’s not an unnecessary luxury for a risk substance like alcohol. “

Martijn Planken, IkPas

Ter Borg says that awareness is the good thing about Dry January: “Stoppers then notice that they are psychologically addicted to it. They are still inclined to have that glass of wine. If they lose weight and feel better, it will continue to affect them for the following months if they keep drinking less. “

Planken recommends doing this every year. “If you think consciously about what you are doing, then you have it sharp again. And for a risk substance like alcohol, that is not an unnecessary luxury.”