1. Skip to content

Alcohol - Know Your Limits

Alcohol units can be a minefield, how much is a measure? Does the strength change the value? Is there a standard size or bottle? How much is a safe amount to drink? What is binge drinking?

There's no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are low.


Anyone who regulaurly drinks increases their risk of developing health problems such as liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attack are some of the numerous harmful effects of regularly drinking more than the recommended levels.

What is one unit?

NHS guidelines

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

Fourteen units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. There is no safe limit of alcohol to drink.

If you want to work out the units in a alcoholic drink yourself use the formula:-

ABV (%) x Volume (ml) ÷ 1000 = Units

ABV stands for 'alcohol per volume' and refers to the strength of an alcoholic drink. This is given as a percentage .

Examples of units below all are worked out using the average strength.

Alcohol Unit Calculator - Alcohol Concern

Binge Drinking

Refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. Binge drinking defination is consuming eight or more units in a single session for men and six or more for women. It increases the risk of heart attack, being sick and vomiting, passing out unconscious with the possibility of inhaling on your own vomit and suffocating. It could put you at risk and harm, your easily confused, your noticeably emotional, and reaction times slow down. Aim to slow down your pace when drinking, substitute a soft drink for an alcholic one and avoid drinking to get drunk. There is no safe limit of alcohol to drink.

Top Tips

  • Don't do rounds- you will drink less if you opt out of a round, buy your own drinks, it will save you money and save you putting on additional pounds as the calories in alcohol can be high.
  • Easy swaps - change your drink to a non alcoholic one or chose one with a lower ABV (%) rating.
  • Add more mixer- this lowers the ABV (strength) of your drink and the units plus calories. It will make your drink last longer and you will drink less.
  • Measure out your drink - often people at home use large wine glasses or pour generous amounts of spirits. By measuring your drink you can keep a track of what your drinking.
  • Weekly diary - track how much your drinking and any sneaking drinking after work or at home.
  • Take a break - aim for at least 2 days in the week where you don't drink any alcohol.
  • Don't skip meals- eating before drinking will slow down the effect of alcohol on your body and how much you have to drink, remember to stay hydrated. Don't substitute thirst for drinking more, plan to have a soft drink first.
  • Avoid the offers - question if you really need that crate of beer or box of wine, avoid stocking up which will lead to you consuming more later on.
  • Choose an alternative - try exercise, read a book, listen to music, do a puzzle, paint your nails, something to distract you from turing to alcohol.

Useful links