Friday 17 February 2012

Change4Life: Don't let the drink sneak up on you

The Department of Health's latest Change4Life campaign for adults is to get us all to watch how much we drink. I know that this is an area I need to look into. They have done a fun little video to get us started:

Most of us know that we should try and stick to the recommended limits:

Women: should not regularly* drink more than 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day. That’s no more than a standard 175ml glass of wine (ABV 13%)

Men: should not regularly* drink more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day. That’s not much more than a pint of strong lager, beer or cider (ABV 5.2%)

* “Regularly” means drinking this amount most days or every day.
ABV is the percentage of alcohol in the drink.

It's ever so easy at home to exceed these guidelines - if you open a bottle of wine and drink just half that's about 4.5 units of alcohol! If you want to know how much you have drunk then use this handy calculator:

They have also given some useful tips to cut down:

Top tips – ways to cut down on alcohol

Getting started

Take a booze break

Most people don’t drink alcohol every day, but if you do, try having a couple of consecutive days in the week when you don’t drink at all. Just make sure you don’t increase the amount you drink on the other days.

Cutting down at home

Out of house, out of mind

If it’s in the house, then we're likely to drink it! Simply stop stocking-up on alcohol when you’re doing the shopping.

Label it!

If a glass tends to mean drinking the whole bottle, try putting a label on the bottle saying “just one glass”…

Cork it!

.. .or, you could try using a bottle stopper instead.

On a night out

Make a plan before you start

Set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to drink.

Set yourself a budget

Only take out a set amount of money to spend on alcohol.

Start later

Turn up later and you can drink less. But don’t drink at home before you go out.

Take your time

Drink at your own speed. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with others.

Give it a miss

If someone’s getting a round, don’t feel like you must have a drink.

Sit one out

Buy yourself a soft drink when it’s your round.

Replace your usual

Try a smaller glass, or a lower-strength drink, or add a mixer.

A ready-made excuse

You can always tell your friends you’re cutting back on drinking to watch your weight. That one always works!

Stay hydrated

Drink a pint of water before you start drinking and avoid using alcohol to quench your thirst.
Swap your usual for…

A smaller drink

You can still enjoy a drink, just have less. Try a smaller bottle of beer over a can or a small glass of wine rather than a large one. Wine glasses today are bigger than ever and can easily hold a third of a bottle.

A lower-strength drink

Instead of a strong beer or wine, go for one with a lower alcohol content (ABV).

A drink with a mixer

Get more out of your drink by adding a low-calorie mixer to make it last longer.

A soft drink or a glass of water

Take a break between drinks and have a low-calorie soft drink or glass of water in between, which will also help you stay hydrated.

A drink with a meal only

Try only drinking at home with your main meal. And not before or after you’ve eaten.
A cup of tea or coffee

When you get the urge to pour yourself a glass, switch on the kettle and enjoy a cuppa instead. The chances are you won’t feel like an alcoholic drink afterwards.


  1. Very sound advice. I'm sitting here with a galss of wine and, having read this, I will not be having a refill tonight.

  2. I'm switching to buying the mini bottles of wine - 187ml in each and within limit. You can drink a whole bottle without guilt!

  3. A bottle of wine is 9 units? Is that right?

  4. 9 is the average for a standard bottle! scary thought..


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