What is a unit of alcohol – Alcohol and You Northern IrelandAlcohol and You Northern Ireland


What is the definition of an alcoholic unit? – Get a working knowledge of units

Getting to know what is a unit of alcohol can at first seem tricky to understand, read on to get to grips on the new UK guidelines for alcohol and how to best make use of them to safeguard your health.

The volume of pure alcohol in an alcoholic beverage is measured in units of alcohol. They are used as a guideline for alcohol intake in various nations, including Northern Ireland

In the United Kingdom, a unit of alcohol is defined as 10 millilitres (7.9 grams). It is sometimes stated that a unit of alcohol is provided by a small glass of wine, half a pint of beer, or a single measure of spirits. Such assertions may be misleading since they do not take into account the different strengths of different wines, beers, and spirits.

What are the suggested alcohol limits?

According to the government’s unit recommendations, there is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol intake. The unit requirements are the identical for men and women, and neither is encouraged to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.

This is how 14 units appear:

6 pints of beer with a 4% alcohol content

6 glasses of wine with a 13% alcohol content

BUT don’t ‘save up’ your 14 units, it’s best to spread evenly across the week & have regular drink-free days.

A unit-by-unit guide…

If you’re expecting a child, you shouldn’t drink any alcohol at all

Reduce your short-term health risks by:

Keeping the overall amount of alcohol consumed in a single session to a minimum

Slow down your drinking and alternate between meals and/or water

Beers, that is

A half pint (284 ml) of beer with a 3.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) contains nearly one unit; however, most beers are stronger. Beers in pubs in the United Kingdom typically have an alcohol content of 3.5%–5.5%, while continental lagers have an alcohol content of around 5%. A pint of such lager (e.g., 568 ml at 5.2%) has nearly 3 units of alcohol instead of the often reported 2 units.

Wines, to be precise

Two units of alcohol are included in a medium glass (175 ml) of 12% ABV wine. But, bigger quantities (large glass 250 ml), which contain three units, are frequently available in British pubs and restaurants. Red wine has a greater alcohol concentration (on average 12.5%, but up to 16%) than white wine.

Spirits are alcoholic beverages

The majority of spirits sold in the United Kingdom have an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% or below. In the United Kingdom, a single pub measure (25 ml) of spirit comprises one unit; however, Northern Ireland uses a larger 35ml measure, which carries 1.4 units of alcohol.

Alcopops, alcopops, alcopops, alcopops

The majority of alcopops have 1.4–1.5 units per bottle. A 275ml bottle of WKD, for example, contains 1.4 units of alcohol, whilst Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice both have 1.5 units.


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