Know your weekly alcohol units - how many units of alcohol per week is too much?

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Whether it’s having a pint in the pub with friends or pouring a glass or two of wine after a long day at work, it can add up. The NHS recommends that both men and women don’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week at the absolute maximum. But what are units and how can you tell how many units are in what drink? Read on to find out.

Before you start calculating alcohol units, you need to know what a unit means…

A unit of alcohol is simply a measurement to represent the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink. One unit is the same as 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. This means that within one hour there should be little or no alcohol left in the blood of an adult, although we’re all different so this'll vary from person to person.

Which drinks get you closer to the recommended weekly alcohol units limit?

The size of a drink as well as the type and its alcohol strength will all impact the number of units in it. For instance, a pint of strong lager has three units of alcohol, whereas a pint of of lower-strength lager has just over two units. Similarly, one standard (175ml) glass of wine (red, white or rosé) equates to 2.1 units of alcohol, but a larger (250ml) glass of wine contains three units. A 440ml can of beer/larger/cider, on the other hand, has 2.4 alcohol units in it. The image below helps indicate how many units are in common drinks.

Alcohol units in different drinks.

Why is it important to keep a close eye on how many units of alcohol per week you have?

The odd small glass of red wine is often seen in the Mediterranean diet, an approach to food and drink which may bring social and wellbeing benefit. If you do decide to drink, the key message is to keep under 14 units a week and spread it over three or more days to reduce the health and wellbeing risks of alcohol.

If you'd like some help reducing how much alcohol your drink, check out our 8 simple ways to reduce your intake.

🚨 You should avoid alcohol entirely if you’re pregnant, have liver disease, or if you’ve been advised to by your doctor.

Why not take the Alcohol Consumption Check in the Food section of the Evergreen Life app to discover how your drinking habits are affecting your health and wellbeing?

Written by
Anna Keeble BA MA

Meet Anna Keeble, Head of Content and Wellbeing Expert at Evergreen Life.

Article updated:
May 11, 2022
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