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What we have to say about your health and well being
Jan 2016
Alcohol Awareness by Hayley Jackson

This page includes information on alcohol including what units are and how to calculate how many units you drink, how many calories common drinks contain, common health problems associated with alcohol and tips on cutting down on how much you drink


Alcohol is measured in units (one unit is equal to 10ml of pure alcohol) and the advice is that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units per day and women should not regularly exceed 2-3 units per day. It is also recommended to have at least 2 days per week completely alcohol free. Binge drinking is defined for men as drinking more than 8 units and for women more than 6 units in a day

How many units are in an alcoholic drink?

The number of units in a drink depends on the type of alcohol and how strong it is. The percentage strength can be found on the bottle/can etc.


Pint of lower strength (3.6%) = 2 units

Pint of higher strength (5.2%) = 3 units

Can (4.5%) = 2 units

Bottle (5%) = 1.7 units


Based on a 12% wine:

Small glass (125ml) = 1.5 units

Medium glass (175ml) = 2.1 units

Large glass (250ml) = 3 units

A 750ml bottle of 13.5% wine contains 10 units


A single shot (25ml) of a spirit = 1 unit


A 275ml bottle of alcopop (5.5%) = 1.5 units

Health problems associated with alcohol:

Alcohol and weight problems:

Many people don't think of the calories they are consuming when drinking alcohol and are surprised to know the calorie content of the alcohol that they drink. The recommended total daily calorie intake for men is 2,500kcal and for women is 2,000kcal

The average number of calories in popular alcoholic drinks are listed below:

Pint of lager: 165 kcal

Pint of stronger lager or ale: 335 kcal

Small glass (125ml) of wine: 95 kcal

Large glass (250ml) of wine: 190 kcal

Bottle of alcopop: 225 kcal

Single shot of whiskey with no mixer: 64 kcal

As well as the alcohol itself, many people drink with sugary soft drinks and chose to eat more unhealthy foods when they have been drinking than they would have otherwise. Therefore cutting down on alcohol can also help you to lose weight

Alcohol is the third greatest risk to health behind smoking and obesity. Regularly drinking over the guidelines can increase your risk of a number of different health conditions. You don't need to be an alcoholic to suffer from harmful effects of alcohol. It often takes many years for the long-term harmful effects to develop. They include:

High blood pressure

Liver disease including cirrhosis and liver cancer

Reduced fertility


Certain types of cancers including the mouth, throat, neck and breast

Tips on cutting down:

  • chose alcohol of a lower strength than you would normally drink
  • when drinking at home, use smaller glasses or fill the glass to a lower point
  • before you start drinking set a limit on how much to drink and stick to it
  • alternate between an alcoholic drink and a low calorie soft drink
  • don't use alcohol to quench your thirst, if you are thirsty then have water or a soft drink
  • don't keep alcohol in the house, avoid buying any during the weekly shopping trips
  • ask a friend to cut down with you so you can support each other

Dry January

Dry January is a campaign that takes place each year where anyone can participate and pledge to drink no alcohol during the month of January

The benefits of staying away from alcohol could include:

  • Saving money
  • Weight loss
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • No hangovers
  • The feeling of achievement once you have completed the month
  • It will also help you to get out of the habit of drinking and help you to cut down in the future

You can find out more information about Dry January here:


For more information on alcohol you can visit the following websites, or talk to your pharmacist or GP




To find out about helplines and local alcohol support groups you can visit:


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Greater Manchester
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