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Alcohol and health: what you
need to know

For most of us, the odd glass of wine or beer is associated with pleasure, socialising and relaxing. And when it's consumed in moderate amounts, alcohol can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, drinking to excess can have an adverse affect on our health and wellbeing. Here's the lowdown...

Beer bottles and a glass of beer

Alcohol and your health

Alcohol contains seven kcal per gram (almost as much as fat, which contains nine kcal per gram). What's more, it can act as an appetite stimulant, which may lead to weight gain. Cutting back on the amount you drink can significantly help to reduce your calorie intake.

The health risks of alcohol outweigh the potential benefits. Long-term exposure to high alcohol intakes can lead to high blood pressure, liver complications and weight gain, in turn increasing the risk of many health conditions such as heart disease, liver complications and some cancers.

How much?

Current guidelines for alcohol consumption are no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for both men and women. This equates to around six pints of beer, six glasses of wine or six double gin and tonics. It is also recommended that you don’t ‘save up’ these units for one or two days, but instead spread them over three or more days. Pregnant women are also advised not to drink alcohol.

Drink (average ABV) Measure Calories (kcal) Units
Lager (5%) 1 pint (568ml) 244 2.8
1 small bottle (330ml) 142 1.6
Wine (13%) Regular glass (175ml) 159 2.3
Large glass (250ml) 228 3.2
Double gin and tonic Large (50ml) 160 1.9
Double gin and low-calorie tonic Large (50ml) 106 1.9

Wine bottles and glasses on a tray
Tips on cutting down

Tips on cutting down

There are lots of simple ways to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume. Try diluting your drinks, adding diet lemonade to lager to make shandy, or soda water to white wine for a spritzer. Choose smaller sizes or low-alcohol wines and beers, and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks. When pouring at home, use a measure instead of freely pouring, and stick to single measures.

How can we help?
We actively support Drinkaware in helping people to make better choices about drinking. Our alcohol provides units and calorie information on the labels to make it easier for you to monitor your alcohol (and calorie) intake. We’ve also developed a range of lower-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

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