How Much Alcohol Am I Consuming?

How Much Alcohol Am I Consuming?
  • Dr. Taylor Wallace
  • December 12, 2017

There’s no shortage of booze during the Holidays!  Did you know that many drinks contain more alcohol than one might suspect, making it easy to over-consume!  The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women… assuming you’re over the age of 21-years.

But what exactly is a drink?  Toby Amidor recently explained the concept to a group of leading dietitians.

A drink-equivalent, the term used to describe what most of us consider one drink, is 14-grams of alcohol.  This is equivalent to:

  • 12-ounce beer that contains 5% alcohol by volume (ABV)
  • 5-ounce glass of wine that contains 12% ABV
  • 1.5-ounces of 80 proof (40% ABV) distilled spirit like vodka

How do you calculate how many “drink-equivalents” are in your drink?  Try this simple equation:

Drink-equivalents = (%ABV x ounces consumed) / 0.6

For instance… lets take my favorite beer, a 12-ounce bottle of Blue Moon Belgian White with 5.4% ABV.

Drink-equivalents = (0.054 x 12) / 0.6
Drink-equivalents = 1.08

That means if I consume two Blue Moon’s then I’ve exceeded my daily limit as a male.  Imagine how complicated this gets with distilled spirits at a dinner or bar!  It gets really complicated… so its important that you are savvy.  Research shows that consuming alcohol in moderation may have some health benefits, however going overboard can greatly increase your risk of chronic disease.

For more information on moderate consumption visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  The American Society for Nutrition also has a fact sheet on alcohol consumption (click here).

Remember to drink responsibly.  Avoid alcohol if you are going to drive, may be pregnant, are under 21 years of age, have a history of alcohol abuse, have certain medical conditions, take certain medications, or if you had a doctor tell you not to consume.

 

 

Categories: Nutrition
Tags: alcohol, drink-equivalent

2 thoughts on “How Much Alcohol Am I Consuming?

  1. Hi Taylor,

    Cheers to your article about wine. I think that California wine is “mo’ betta'” than other types of alcohol, and hope you can visit us at UC Davis to do some personal research about that.

    Happy holidays!

    Robert

    1. Hey Dr. Hackman – I’d love to get out to UC Davis sometime! I’ve actually never seen the facility but heard very good things… and of course I never turn down a glass of California vino! Have a great week!

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