The Alcohol Units Challenge

How many of us really know how many alcohol units we drink each week? If you’re not sure then you’re in good company!

We took to the streets of the North East, inviting people to take part in an “Alcohol Units Challenge”. Participants were quizzed on their knowledge of the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) low risk weekly drinking guidelines, as well as their understanding of how many units are in a glass of wine or beer.

The results were surprising, with clear shock about how easy it is to exceed the “low risk” limits of drinking, potentially putting health at risk. Only one person knew the current Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for men and women and everyone underestimated the units of alcohol in drinks.

The fact is, the CMO guidelines recommend no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s the same as no more than six standard glasses (175ml) of wine, six pints of average-strength (4%) beer, or seven single measures (25ml) of spirits. It’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days.

Regional figures show the participants in our challenge are not alone. Shockingly, 4 in 10 adults in the North East are drinking enough alcohol to increase the risk of developing a number of serious mental and physical health conditions, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. What’s more, the majority of drinkers in the North East underestimate their intake and many are not aware of the alcohol guidelines or the risks.

There are lots of simple tips you can follow to ensure you stay within the low risk weekly drinking guidelines, such as:

  • Take at least three drink free days each week
  • Alternate between alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Download the free Try Dry app to help keep track of your drinking throughout the week

For more advice on managing your alcohol consumption, check out our support page

Watch the Alcohol Units challenge video




Track your units, calories and money saved during Dry January,
and set your own goals for cutting down year-round.

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