Drinking alcohol is usually associated with pleasure, unwinding and being sociable. However drinking too much alcohol can be detrimental to your health therefore it is important to drink responsibly and in moderation.
How and when we drink alcohol can affect our behaviour to others therefore drinking responsibly means:
The Government has set sensible drinking guidelines for men and women to help us to measure how much we drink- and work out how much alcohol is too much.
Men- 3-4 units a day for men (and no more than 21 units a week)
Women- 2-3 units a day for women (and no more than 14 units a week)
Guidelines are daily rather than weekly, as 'saving up' units and drinking heavily on one or two nights a week is not considered moderate. This has become known as binge drinking and may lead to health problems.
These guidelines are set for an average healthy adult and don't apply to people with conditions which may be affected by alcohol such as those with untreated high blood pressure or those taking medications which do not combine well with alcohol.
Young people can't cope with alcohol physically or emotionally as well as adults. That's why it is against the law for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol and why M&S ask for proof of age from those who look under 21.
A standard unit measures the amount of alcohol, not the amount of liquid you're drinking.
One unit is 8g of alcohol which is typically half a pint of beer or a small 125ml glass of wine. The alcohol content of your drink is also influenced by alcohol strength and the size of the measurement (a 250ml glass of wine can contain nearly 4 units and a 13.5% double vodka or whisky will contain 2 units - home pours of spirits are likely to be more generous) so keep an eye on how many units are in your drink - you could be drinking much more than you realised...
Your body breaks down alcohol at a rate of roughly one unit per hour - and there's no way you can speed this up.
The short term effects of drinking too much are well known. It affects your speech, your body, your judgement, your behaviour, your personality and your perception. It may also disrupt sleeping patterns and cause nausea and vomiting.
The other short term effect of drinking in excess is the hangover! Hangovers are primarily a result of dehydration so it is important to keep hydrated with soft drinks or water and to drink plenty of fluids the following day to replenish stores.
One of the longer term effects of drinking in excess is weight gain. Alcohol contains almost as many calories as fat gram for gram, so if you're looking to reduce your weight cutting down on alcohol may be a good place to start!
Long term heavy drinking, may also lead to serious health damage. Men who drink more than 3 to 4 units and women who drink more than 2 to 3 units a day a day run an increasingly significant risk of illness and death from a number of conditions, including liver disease, stroke, some cancers, hypertension accidents and alcoholism. Personal consequences can include the loss of a job or family breakdown.
Extreme drinking can lead to an increased risk of being a victim or perpetrator of crime or assault, alcohol poisoning, passing out and accidental death.
Enjoying a drink forms an important part of many of our social lives, when entertaining at home, relaxing and unwinding.
To keep within your limits you could try to:
Our drinks are labelled with unit information to help you keep track of your alcohol intake. We also sell a range of non alcoholic drinks.
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