What are the guidelines for health and drinking alcohol?

Click on the items below for more information:

The advice for healthy amounts of alcohol is the same for men and women. To keep the health risks from alcohol to a low level, if you drink most weeks:
  • do not drink more than 14 units a week regularly
  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several alcohol-free days each week
  • 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Although the standard units are listed below, different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol and glass sizes can vary. Often we are drinking more than we think!The strength of alcoholic drinks is described as % ABV (alcohol by volume) so the volume that will provide a "unit" also varies. The following drinks all contain 1 unit of alcohol:
    1/2 pint of beer, lager (3.5%vol)
    1 (25ml) measure of spirits (40%vol)
    1 small (125ml) glass of wine (9%vol ) (NB: most wine is 11-13%)
Despite containing less sugar, diet products still contain large amounts of alcohol. "Light" and "low alcohol" beer and wine do contain less alcohol but can also contain a lot of sugar (10 - 20g CHO for a can or bottle of beer and up to 50g sugar in a bottle of alcohol-free wine).
  • Remember that alcoholic drinks are also high in calories, so could be considered if you are aiming to lose weight.

Please see more information about calculating your usual alcohol and calorie intake and what is healthy on the links below:

NHS alcohol support

Drinkaware unit and calorie calculator

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