How many units of alcohol do I drink?

It can be tricky to work out the number of units in an alcoholic drink. We’ve made it easier.

Counting the units of alcohol in your drink can be a useful way to understand how much you’re drinking. The recommended maximum number of units per week for both men and women is 14. That is about the same as six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. But it can be difficult to know how many units you’re consuming, so we’ve made this handy table to help you keep an eye on your alcohol consumption.

Drink Approx. Volume Approx. Strength (ABV) No. of Units
Single measure or small shot of spirits 25ml 40% 1 unit
Large measure or shot of spirits 35ml 40% 1.4 units
Alcopop 275ml 5.5% 1.5 units
Small glass of wine 125ml 12% 1.5 units
Glass of prosecco or champagne 125ml 12% 1.5 units
Bottle of lager, beer or cider 330ml 5% 1.7 units
Can of lager, beer or cider 440ml 5.5% 2 units
Pint of lower-strength lager, beer or cider 568.3ml 3.6% 2 units
Standard glass of wine 175ml 12% 2.1 units
Pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider 568.3ml 5.2% 3 units
Large glass of wine 250ml 12% 3 units


How to calculate the number of units in alcohol

The values in the table are approximated, if you want to be more accurate, there is also a calculation you can use to work out the alcohol content in a specific drink. The alcohol content is measured in ABV - alcohol by volume. ABV measures the amount of pure alcohol as a percentage of the volume of the drink. The ABV is usually given as a percentage on the outside of the bottle, but might also be written as ‘vol’ or ‘volume’. If you’re drinking at a bar or restaurant, you can ask the bartender to check the alcohol content for you.

To work out the number of units in a drink, you should multiply the total volume of the drink (in ml) by its ABV (as a percentage) and divide the result by 1000. So the equation is:
Units = (strength (ABV) x volume (ml)) ÷ 1000
For example, a large glass of wine is approx. 250ml. Red wine has an ABV of 12%. Therefore: (12 x 250) ÷ 1000 = 3 units.
So we can work out that the glass of red wine contained 3 units. 



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