Posted by: rmbrowning | July 3, 2009

Background information on moderation

My next posts deal with the moderate consumption of alcohol.  I thought I would make all the relevant definitions seperately in the interests of brevity.  It is worth noting that these guidelines and definitions differ between countries.  I am using those found in my country of origin.

What is a standard drink?

Firstly, the standard drink equals 10g of pure ethanol.   This roughly equates to:

  • One 330ml beer
  • 30ml of straight spirits (about one shot glass)
  • One 100ml glass of wine (a lot of people overfill their glasses and are actually drinking closer to 2-2.5 standard drinks)

From here.

What is moderation?

The current guidelines say:

  • Men have a daily maximum of 6 standard drinks and a weekly maximum of 21.
  • Women have a daily maximum of 4 standard drinks and a weekly maximum of 14.

It is also recommended that you eat food when consuming alcohol and have alcohol free days each week.  There are also instances when these figures are too high and circumstances where one shouldn’t consume alcohol at all.

You can read the full brief here.

However, I must say that I think that these guidelines are a bit high (more on why later).  Personally I prefer the recommendations of The Nutrition Taskforce which posits a maximum of 30g for men and 20g for women.  Obviously these guidelines are there for a reason as binge drinking is a large contributor of health and social ills.

You can find a quick quiz to test your drinking here.

Connor, J., Broad, J., & Rehm, J., et al. (2005). The burden of death, disease, and disability due to alcohol in New Zealand. Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 118(1213).

Tasman-Jones, C., (2005). Alcohol drinking guideline,Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 118(1218).

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