How much do you drink?

Food politics
NHS drink tracker application

Do you know how many units are actually in a glass of wine?

Do you know the difference in alcohol content between a large glass of red and a pint of strong beer?

The answers to both of these questions is probably ‘no’.  Either that, or your guesses  are way off the mark.  Mine definitely were.

It’s fairly safe to say that many people grossly underestimate the amount of alcohol they drink…especially when asked by their doctor.  Not really knowing, or at worst deluding yourself about the amount you drink doesn’t seem like a very good place to be in.  Isn’t it better to know?

This app from the NHS is a great way to get a better grip on the number of units of alcohol in your drink.

That’s useful on the basis that if you know about the number of units in your drink, you can make more informed choices about what you drink, how often and in what quantity.

There’s also an iPhone app that mirrors this functionality, but tracks your consumption over the weeks and months, producing some seriously scary graphs.  It’s easy and quick to use – just tap through a couple of screens and you’ve logged a drink.

A month’s worth of actual data on what I drank scared me so much that I didn’t touch a drop for the next month.  It wasn’t lots, but it was more than I thought…

It also caused me to measure how big our glasses were, but maybe that was going a bit too far.

Health advice on alcohol consumption has shifted slightly in the past few years, so you see more emphasis on ‘units per day’ rather than ‘units per week’.   Previously, the NHS worked on a set number of units per week as the maximum advisable intake, but found that too many people either saw this as a target or ‘saved up’ their units for a huge binge on a Friday or Saturday night, blowing all twenty-eight odd units in one spectacular night out.

Their current approach is to recommend a daily limit of three or four units for men and two or three units for women, on a regular basis…small amounts, regularly.

The idea behind this is to discourage the binge mentality and encourage a more moderate and paced approach to alcohol, which is generally healthier.

There’s plenty of advice about safe drinking limits, the effects of excessive drinking and what to do if you think you’ve got a problem here. J6BKA9ACZKU7