When it comes to alcohol, many of us are uncertain as to how much we should be drinking. Just how many grams of alcohol is safe and healthy? And how do these grams translate into actual drinks? This post helps to explain how much you should be drinking and what you can do to keep within this limit.
What’s the weekly recommended limit?
In the US, it’s recommended that men drink no more 196 grams of alcohol per week and that women drink no more than 98 grams per week. This equates to about 14 standard drinks for men and 7 standard drinks for women. This limit is recommended to reduce the long-term health problems of heavy drinking such as liver damage, heart disease and cancer.
A ‘standard drink’ contains 14 grams of alcohol. Your average can of beer, average 5 fl oz glass of wine and average shot of spirit each classify as a standard drink.
In other words, if you’re a man and you have more than 2 cans of beer per day, you’re exceeding the recommended limit. Anything more than 2 bottles of wine throughout the week is also exceeding the limit.
If that sounds quite restrictive, you may be shocked to hear that many experts recommend drinking even less than this. Regularly drinking more than 100 grams per week has been linked to a lower life expectancy, and some countries have a recommended weekly alcohol intake that is half that of the US for this reason. Following the less-than-100g-per-week rule would essentially mean no more than 1 can of beer or glass of wine per day.
How much can you drink before driving?
If you’re driving, you should be particularly careful as to how much you drink. In many states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. For most men, drinking more than 3 ½ standard drinks is likely to put you over the limit.
Most states take a zero-tolerance stance against drivers under 21. If you have drunk any alcohol and get into a car, you could be breaking the law.
Driving under the influence is a serious crime. The penalty for your first DUI could be severe – in some states, it could include a fine, a driving ban or even jail time. In most cases, it’s safer to drink no alcohol if you’re going to be driving. Alternatively, leave the car at home if you’re out drinking.
When does a drinking habit become a drinking problem?
Many of us drink regularly, but when does regular drinking become an unhealthy addiction? Some would argue that regularly drinking more than the weekly recommended intake makes you an alcoholic. Others would argue that getting into legal trouble because of drinking alcohol – which includes a DUI charge – is a sign that alcohol has become a problem.
There are many different signs that alcohol may have become a problem. In fact, you should probably consider cutting down if any of the following apply:
- You’ve noticed health problems as a result of drinking alcohol
- You’re neglecting responsibilities as a result of alcohol such as forgetting appointments or underperforming at work
- You treat others poorly after having a few drinks
- You regularly embarrass yourself after drinking alcohol
- You put yourself in dangerous situations or cause yourself injuries when under the influence
- You make reckless financial decisions as a result of alcohol such as buying things you don’t need or risking too much money gambling
There are so many forms of support out there if you think you have a problem and are struggling to cut down. Don’t be afraid to try apps, support groups or even rehabilitation treatment services.