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What is the recommended amount?

The low risk weekly guidelines

It can be a bit tricky to understand and remember how much alcohol is in drinks, and how this can affect our health. The low risk guidelines can help with this, if you choose to drink.

No-one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but by sticking within these guidelines, you can lower your risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:

  • Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
  • Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
  • If you're pregnant, the safest option is not to drink at all.

If you want to cut down how much you’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

Counting the units

There is one unit of alcohol in each of these:

  • half pint of regular beer, lager or cider
  • 1 very small glass of wine (9%) 125ml
  • 1 single measure of spirit
  • 1 small glass of sherry
  • 1 single measure of aperitifs.

If you regularly drink more than the recommended guidelines over a long period, there are the following risks:

  • men could be four times more likely to have high blood pressure
  • women could be three times more likely to suffer a stroke
  • liver damage, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • cancer of the mouth, throat cancer, cancer of the oesophagus or larynx, and breast cancer in women
  • increased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • depression, memory loss, brain damage or dementia
  • stomach damage
  • potentially fatal alcohol poisoning.

 For more information visit the One You website.


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