Recommended alcohol intake

The risks of overindulging in alcohol have been widely publicised, but sometimes knowing just how much is safe and within the guidelines, can be tricky.

The size of a wine glass is not what it use to be, the amount in a shot glass seems to be at the bartender’s discretion and ‘one beer’ can be anything from a small can to the 750ml bottle.

One standard drink/unit of alcohol equals 10 grams of pure alcohol. The alcohol measurement of beverage is nothing to do with the amount of liquid, but a marker of the amount of pure alcohol present.

As a rough guide, one standard drink is equal to:

  • One 330ml can of beer, at 4%
  • 100ml table wine, at 12.5%
  • 30ml shot of spirit.

In any one week, the Alcohol Advisory Council of NZ recommends the following maximum units of consumption:

  • For males: 21 standard drinks
  • For females: 14 standard drinks.

These recommendations allow for a little less than two bottles of wine for a woman and three for a man.

But it is the way in which these weekly limits are consumed, which is often the problem.

In one drinking occasion, it’s recommended:

  • A man consume no more than 6 units
  • A woman consume no more than 4 units.

The number of units in a drink will vary depending on the alcohol percentage of the beverage. All alcoholic drink bottles should be labelled with the number of ‘standard drinks’ in the bottle.

As well as keeping to the daily recommendations, it is also important to aim for two or three alcohol-free days.