Binge drinking is not a new phenomenon. I would dare to suggest that it was alive and kicking throughout my 1970’s experience and beyond. Discussions on our drinking habits moved on another step last week as the focus of alcohol misuse began to hone in on the over 60’s, many of whom are suspected of turning a blind-eye to the effects that their regular ‘snifter’ might be having on their bodies or the lives of those around them, choosing instead to see it as nothing more than a harmless quaff at the end of the day. However, it would appear that little or no attention is truly given to the number of units consumed as the contents of a bottle of wine is emptied into irregular sized glasses amidst the jollity of yet another relaxing evening. I’ve done it myself, on many an occasion: home from a long day at work, start cooking and out comes the corkscrew for my ammeter ‘Floyd’ chill-out experience, often having far too much Merlot or Pinot Noir long before anything is ready to eat. I’m sometimes surprised that dinner ever manages to land on the table in a fit state. Yet, surely it’s all alright? After all, I’ve had a busy day and I need to relax. Like any discussion on the use or misuse of alcohol it’s all too easy (in my experience) to excuse ones consumption all in the name of Rest and Recuperation. Why shouldn’t I treat myself? Well, in the cold light of day, my ignorance of a genuine understanding of the units system could do with a severe overhaul: this is what I found and in terms that a simple soul such as me might understand. Men – a pint and a half of 4% beer per day (3-4 units). Women – the equivalent of 175 ml (or 0.31 pint) glass of wine per day (2-3 units). Oh, and saving up your weekly units so you can drink them all on a Friday doesn’t count.
What are the recommended safe limits of alcohol?
Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. Pregnant women. Advice from the Department of Health states that … “pregnant women or women trying to conceive should not drink alcohol at all. If they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, they should not drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk”.
You can work out your alcohol units for yourself with this handy sum.
Strength (ABV) x Volume (ml) ÷ 1000 = No. of units.