Belfast Telegraph

How much is sensible drinking?

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

I know that there are guidelines on how much one should drink each week but I think they’re really confusing.

I’m female, in my twenties, so as I understand it I should be sticking to about 14 units a week.

However what’s a unit? I drink mainly white wine and I’ve noticed on the bottles that the alcohol content varies from about 6.5% to 13%. RC


Rather than think in terms of a weekly intake, it may be easier to remember that women should not exceed two to three units a day (men, three to four units).

If you exceed that on a regular basis then you're running health risks.

There's quite a complicated formula for working it out if you really want to understand exactly what you're drinking.

The percentage figure you quote is a measure of alcohol by volume (ABV), and if you multiply the total volume of a drink (in ml) by its ABV then divide by 1,000, you'll get the units.

It's probably easier to think in averages though and as a lot of wine is about 12% ABV, you could estimate that a small glass is 1.5 units; a standard glass is two and a large glass (250ml) is three.

So one large glass of wine on a night out is at the top end of your daily limit!

The easiest way of monitoring your intake would be to go to the NHS website ( and from there look through the section on alcohol.

Belfast Telegraph


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