Understand how many units of alcohol your favourite drink contains
Drinks with little or no alcohol are recommended. But, alcoholic drinks are consumed by 21% of British adults. If you consume alcohol on a daily basis, you might be interested to know how much alcohol you should ideally limit yourself to. You might notice the volume of these drinks. But these drinks are very diluted. You can't simply drink pure alcohol because it would be very toxic and can burn your mouth.
Moreover, alcoholic beverages are available in a variety of dilutions and volumes. How do you find out the quantity of pure alcohol that you consume? The answer to this question lies in understanding the one unit of alcohol.
One unit of alcohol
Counting alcohol units and understanding the amount of pure alcohol taken daily will help you to keep a track record of your daily alcohol intake.
One unit of alcohol is equal to 8g of pure alcohol. In volume equivalent, it is equal to 10ml. This calculation is based on the finding that one unit of alcohol consumed by you will take one hour to be completely eliminated from the body (on average). The health risks of alcohol increase as you regularly drink more units.
Whenever you purchase an alcoholic beverage from the market, you may not notice an ABV percentage label on it. This ABV refers to the strength of the alcohol and can tell you how many units are present in this drink. Let's understand it.
Alcohol By Volume (ABV)
This unit measures the alcohol present as a percentage of the whole drink. Take out the bottle of your drink. You will find out some reading followed by an 'ABV' or 'VOL'.
For example, a 10 ABV wine means 10% pure alcohol is present in the drink. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the standard drink contains approximately 0.6 ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol. The drinks are adjusted to be given in half an imperial pint (284 ml) or a full pint (568 ml).
How to calculate alcohol units?
The calculation of alcohol units is very simple. It will enable you to find how many units you need to limit your consumption to according to your age and metabolism. The formula goes as follows;
Strength of the drink (ABV percentage) * Total volume of the drink (ml) /1000 = Total units
For example, if you are going to drink a small glass of wine (almost half a pint) and it reads ABV 12%, the number of units will be;
12 * 284/ 1000= 3.408 units
This is for a standard glass of wine. For a large glass, the calculation is as below;
12 * 568/1000= 6.816 units
To minimise the health risk associated with alcohol, you should follow UK's drinking guidelines. The NIH recommends that for better safety, both men and women should not take more than 14 units per week. This recommendation is for the healthy average adult. Other factors like body weight, health status and nutrition should be considered.
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