know your al

We measure the alcohol content of a drink in units. One UK unit is 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. Learn more about units

Unfortunately you definitely can't just count each drink as a unit of alcohol. The number of units depends on the strength and size of each drink, so it can vary a lot.

For instance, a unit could be half a pint of normal strength beer (4%), a single 25ml measure of spirits or a 125ml glass of wine (9%). However, many single drinks are stronger or in larger containers and are typically between 1.5 and 3 units each.

Use the calculator opposite to work out how many units are in your drinks.

Because of the risks to health:
  • men should not regularly* drink more than 3-4 units a day
  • women should not regularly* drink more than 2-3 units a day.

*Regularly refers to drinking most or all days of the week at these levels.

Drinking 1-2 units of alcohol a day on a regular basis may offer some protection against coronary heart disease

However, drinking more than this amount is not protective. Regular exercise and a good diet may have similar beneficial effects and offer wider health benefits for all ages.

Regular use of alcohol above the recommended limits can actually lead to a number of health problems. These include damage to the heart muscle, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.

Alcohol is also high in calories and can lead to weight gain. Therefore we don't recommend that you start drinking to protect your heart.

If you have further questions or would like help with alcohol-related issues:

Calls are a similar cost to 01 and 02 numbers, lines are open Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm

View alcohol units chart