Drinking too much alcohol or drinking alcohol at the wrong time can be harmful to your body.

Alcohol guidelines

The government advises that if you drink alcohol, there’s no safe level. The Chief Medical Officer’s alcohol unit guidelines say both men and women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 14 units per week.

The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk to your short and long-term health:

  • it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week regularly; this is to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level
  • if you do drink as many as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly across the week
  • if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, the safest option is not to drink any alcohol at all

Sensible drinking habits

If you do drink alcohol, you should:

  • stick to the guidelines
  • have days when you do not drink
  • alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones
  • avoid drinking on an empty stomach
  • avoid buying in rounds, and drink slowly
  • dilute your drinks; mix wine with soda, beer with lemonade; add tonic, soda water or juice to spirits
  • avoid spirits and extra-strong lager or cider
  • avoid drinking at home before going out
  • use smaller glasses

Alcohol units

Try counting the units of alcohol you consume to help keep track of the amount you drink on a weekly basis.

See an NHS chart showing the number of units of alcohol in common drinks.

Also see

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