Alcohol units

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Eating a blood pressure diet

Eating a blood pressure diet

Lifestyle and high blood pressure: The practical stuff

Q. What is a unit of alcohol?

A. A unit of alcohol is:

• 1/2 a pint of ordinary strength beer or lager
• a pub measure of a shot of spirits (25 ml)
• a pub measure of sherry or fortified wine (50 ml).

The recommendations for men and women are to drink less than 14 units a week. 

Some manufacturers are starting to label their products with unit values so that you can work our how much you are drinking more easily. But it can still be difficult to work out exactly how much you are drinking. For example, some bars and pubs automatically serve wine in large glasses and spirits in double measures which means that you will be drinking far more than you think.

Other issues worth bearing in mind are:

  • many stronger lagers and beers may have more than one unit of alcohol in each half pint, which means that a pint may be more like three units than two
  • drinking at home may mean that you pour yourself a larger measure than those you would get in a pub.

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