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Healthy Alcohol Choices

As the saying goes, ‘too much of anything is not good for health’ and this is also true for alcohol.  When taken in moderation, alcohol may have some health benefits such as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease or ischemic strokes.  However, excess alcohol consumption* (defined as more 7 units per week (for women) or more than 14 units per week (for men)) is associated with the following health issues;

  • Liver disease (such as cirrhosis or liver cancer)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hypertension
  • Heart failure
  • Certain cancers (such as breast, stomach, liver or oral cancers)
  • Accidental death such as road traffic accidents

Click to view CardioSmart video on Alcohol Guidelines

Alcohol Measure by Units

The term ‘UNIT’ is a simple way to express the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink.  One unit equals 10ml (or 8g) of alcohol, is defined as the amount of alcohol an average adult can process in 1 hour (although this can vary from person to person).  You can use ABV (Alcohol By Volume) to calculate the exact number of units you are drinking.  ABV is measure of the amount of pure alcohol as a percentage of the total volume of liquid in a drink.  For example for typical bottle of wine, ’12% ABV’ means 12% of the volume of that drink is pure alcohol. 

To calculate how many units in a glass (150ml) of wine, multiply the total volume of the drink (in mls) by the ABV (usually around 12%) and divide the result by 1,000

12 (%) x 150 (ml) ÷ 1,000 = 1.8 units in a glass of wine

To calculate how many units in a can (320ml) of beer, multiply the total volume of the drink (in mls) by the ABV (usually around 5%) and divide the result by 1,000. 

5 (%) x 320 (ml) ÷ 1,000 = 1.6 units in a can of beer

These are the average ABV for the more popular drinks consumed;

  • Beer around 5% ABV
  • Wine around 12% ABV
  • Sake around 16% ABV
  • Tequila, Gin & Vodka around 40% ABV
  • Whisky around 46%
  • Brandy around 40-60% ABV

Alcohol Measure by Calories

Don’t forget that alcohol has a high amount of calories which can make you gain weight and make you less fit.   Do take alcohol in moderation if you are trying to adopt a more healthy lifestyle or keep better control of your health conditions such as diabetes.

Type of DrinkCalories
1 glass of wine123
1 can of beer154
100 ml of whiskey250
100 ml of brandy220

Alcohol should be avoided in;

  • During pregnancy (to avoid harming baby development)
  • During breast feeding
  • Liver disease or fatty liver disease
  • When taking certain medications such as anti-histamines, anti-depressants, sedatives or sleeping pills, steroids, warfarin and some antibiotics

Discuss your diet plan with your doctor, dietician or nutritionist to help you eat  more healthily

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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