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Alcohol units guide

Safe drinking levels



To keep health risks to a low level, it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week. For adults who drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.

Low risk drinking

‘Low risk’ is not regularly exceeding 14 units per week, spread evenly over the week. This level of consumption represents a low risk of long term or short-term health harm for a healthy adult.

Increasing risk drinking

Increasing risk means drinking in a way that raises the risk of ill health from drinking alcohol. For both men and women, this means regularly drinking more than the low risk guideline of 14 units per week and up to 35 units for women and 50 units for men.

Higher risk drinking

Higher risk drinking for women is regularly drinking more than 35 units per week and for men regularly drinking more than 50 units per week. People in this group are likely to already be experiencing health damage from their alcohol use, even if it is not yet evident.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking really means drinking enough on a single occasion to get drunk (The technical definition of binge drinking is drinking 6+ units (women) or 8+ units (men) in a single session)[footnote 18]. Drunkenness can lead to risky behaviour and an increased risk of injury.



How much is a unit


  • 1 unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol which is the amount of alcohol an adult can process in an hour

  • Absolute volume ABV is a measure of the amount of pure alcohol as a percentage of the total volume of liquid in a drink.  E.g. wine 12% ABV strength (ABV) x volume (ml) / 10 (as 1 unit is 10ml of alcohol

  • So 175 mils of 13.5% wine is 175 x 13.5% is 23.6mil which is 2.4 units.


  1. 2-3 glasses max five times a week.  You are going to look at the measures – Drinkaware states that a typical strength medium (175ml) glass of wine has around 2.3 units so by having 2 glasses of that 5 times a day that will be 23 units a week or 3 would be 34.5 – this is half the units you would have typically drunk before as a bottle of 13.5% wine is 10 units

  2. You are going to pay particular attention to the feeling you are having after that second glass

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