Do you know if you’re underestimating how much you drink and putting yourself at risk of alcohol related harm?

Whether you enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner, a beer while relaxing on the sofa, or if you prefer going out for a few drinks after work– keeping track of the amount you’re drinking can slip your mind. Many of us underestimate how much we’re really drinking and therefore underestimate the risks.

What is the health guidance on weekly units?

The Chief Medical Officer guidelines are that men and women should have no more than 14 units of alcohol per week to stay “low risk”.

A single alcoholic drink usually has more than one unit of alcohol in it but can contain up to three units. For instance a large glass of wine can be three units while a pint of 4% beer contains around 2.3 units. 14 units is equivalent to six pints of standard strength beer or six glasses of wine.

Units infographic with text description below
14 units = 6 pints of 4% lager/beer or 6 glasses (175ml) of 13% wine

What are the risks of regular drinking?

The more you drink on a regular basis the risk of developing a range of health problems such as cancers of the mouth, throat and breast increase.

It can take many years for the health harms from regularly drinking alcohol to develop. These illnesses include various cancers, strokes, heart disease, liver disease and damage to your brain and nervous system. They can develop despite drinking for years without any apparent harm.

If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week you’re increasing your risk of death from a long term illness and from accidents and injuries.

What can I do to reduce my risk?

If you’re regularly drinking as much as 14 units a week it’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days.

It’s also recommended you should take at least three drink free days each week and there are many tools that can support you in finding ways to cut down. The One You Drink Free Days app is a simple and easy way to keep a track of the days you drink alcohol and the days you don't and it’s available to download on IOS and Android.

Find out more on how to avoid pouring that first glass.

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