How many units do you drink ?

Most heavy drinkers will try a dry January to detox after the festivities, but this can be short lived come February, as most will make up for lost time. If we can learn to moderate our alcohol intake then perhaps we won’t need to have a dry month to ease the conscience.  The RDA of alcohol per week is 14 units for men and women.

Units can be difficult to monitor with various sized drinking glasses. One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. This is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. This suggests that within an hour there should be, in theory, little or no alcohol left in the blood of an adult. This will vary from person to person.

The number of units in a drink is based on the size (volume) of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength. If you want to calculate your unit intake use this formula.   Calculation: Percentage of alcohol times the volume divided by 1000.

Strong larger

5.2% vol. per can (568ml). 5.2 x 568 / 1000 = 2.9 units

Bottle of Red Wine

13% vol. 750 ml. 13 x 750 / 1000 = 9.7 units


  • Try to spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you drink regularly.
  • If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
  • 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine (NHS UK).


Single small shot of spirits* (25ml, 40%)                          1 unit

Alco pop (275ml, 5.5%)                                                       1.5 units

Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, 12%)          1.5 units

Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (3.6%)              2 units


*Gin, rum, vodka, whisky, tequila and sambuca. Large. (35ml) single measures of spirits are 1.4 units. How many units do you drink per week?


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