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How Much Alcohol Can You Safely Drink?



You don’t have to give up drinking altogether if you are trying to live a healthier life. However, if you do drink, you should obviously monitor your alcohol consumption on a daily and weekly basis. You will be best off if you understand the safe alcohol guidelines and do your best to follow them.

The safe drinking guidelines vary slightly across the world. The International Center for Alcohol Policies lists the guidelines of most developed countries. Here are some of the guidelines:

  • The United Kingdom’s Royal College of Physicians has reviewed evidence over the course the last century and recommends that most women drink no more than 2 units of alcohol a day or 16 over the course of a week. The guidelines claim it is okay for men to drink up to 3 units a day.
  • The United Kingdom’s Department of Health suggests that people not drink more than 3 units of alcohol a day.
  • The United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that women not drink more than 1 unit of alcohol on any day of the week.
  • The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests not consuming more than 2 units of alcohol a day or 9 units in the course of a week.

As you can see, there is no clear consensus on how much alcohol you can consume. However, most health regulators around the world seem to feel it is safe to drink a couple of units of alcohol a day. You will need to use your own discretion or consult with your physician if you have any questions. These guidelines are very general and can’t take each individual’s situation into account.

Your own limits may vary depending on your age, height, weight, gender, ethnicity and any existing health problems you may be experiencing. Women who are pregnant are generally recommended to abstain from all forms of alcohol. New studies have suggested that a little alcohol may be safe during pregnancy, but more research may be needed to confirm those findings.

The amount of alcohol you can consume safely doesn’t depend on the type of liquor you are drinking. If you feel that you can safely drink 2 units of alcohol on a daily basis, then you can have:

  • One can of Budweiser, Heineken or most other standard or premium beers.
  • Half a can of a stronger beer.
  • Two shots of most types of hard alcohol (Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Gordon’s Gin etc.)
  • Two 125 ml glasses of most types of wine.

Understanding these guidelines can help you make healthier drinking decisions. How strictly you choose to follow them is up to you. Consider getting professional help if you are concerned with the amount of alcohol you drink.