Simple Q&A on alcohol and 10 tips to use safely

When it comes to alcohol, most of us have lots of questions. Below we answer some frequently asked questions.

Are there risks associated with drinking alcohol?

Yes there are. Alcohol consumption is associated with liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, some cancers and heart attacks.

What amount of alcohol is safe for consumption to prevent these risks?

The truth is, there is no safe limit for drinking alcohol but there are recommendations, which will reduce the risks of the diseases mentioned herein but not prevent them.

What are the recommendations?

Recommendations vary from country to country. In most countries the recommendations are 3-4 unit/day for men and 2-3 units/day women. Find out from the professionals in your country or your ministry of Health website. They often have such recommendation. Also note that the greater the volume and strength as well as the higher the frequency, the higher the risk of alcohol related diseases.  It is therefore recommended  not to drink alcohol on regular basis.  Recommendations are not for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant as well as individuals below the legal drinking age.

How do I know the number of units for an alcoholic drink?

You can calculate using this formula

Unit of alcohol = Strength  * volume (ml) /1000

The strength of alcohol is the alcohol by volume (ABV) which is mostly written on the label of the can or bottle as % or vol

The higher the strength (ABV %), the higher the unit and the larger the volume the higher the units.

Wow! I am exceeding my alcohol intake, are there tips to help me cut down?

Yes there are. Here are 9 tips

  1. As we like to achieve a target, setting a limit on the amount of alcohol one drinks, will push you to achieve it. Remember to take small steps at a time
  2. Do not stock your fridge with too many alcoholic beverages and if possible not at all, to avoid the temptation of exceeding your limit.
  3. Drink a pint of water before you start to drink alcohol, this way you are less likely to drink above your targeted limits.
  4. Swap strong strength alcohol drinks (ABV %) with lower strength.
  5. Use small glass size for your alcoholic drink to reduce the volume of alcohol consumed.
  6. When thirsty quench your thirst with water to reduce the frequency of alcohol consumption.
  7. Write down the places, events, which contribute to you drinking alcohol and cut down on going to these places.
  8. Avoid the company of binge drinkers and if they are your friends, show them this post and encourage one another to cut down on your alcohol drinking habit.
  9. We all need help at one point or other and who can better help us than our family and friends, so tell them about the target you set.

I cannot do this on my own/I know an alcoholic/I want to quit drinking alcohol entirely

  1. Seek professional help. The best place is to contact your health service.

Last page review: 22/03/2016
Next page review: 22/03/2018


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