How Much is Enough?Being the ripe old age of 28 I thought it was finally time for me to start looking at the amount I drink and how that fits in with the 'government recommended levels'. My issue with these levels when I was younger was that they always seemed to amount to pretty much half a pint per fortnight which was just plain ridiculous and caused me (and I'm sure half the young people in the country) to completely ignore them. My feeling was (and remains to a degree) that if you want to have any hope of people meeting a target like that, it at least has to be a realistic one!
I'm the sort of man who works hard, has a busy life, gets to the gym two or three times a week and enjoys a couple of beers when he gets home to help relax and put the day behind him. I'll also happily go to the pub a couple of times a week and drink three or four pints. Most people would say that's fairly normal - I haven't been properly drunk in nearly a year, I just drink to relax, socialise and because I plain like the taste. However apparently this amounts to an average of about 32 units of alchohol per week, 50% above the recommended level for men. Really? I don't feel like a booze-hound... I don't feel the great compulsion to hang around street corners causing fights... I've not lost bladder control in well over a decade...
Yet still, the numbers don't lie - You're looking at a recommended limit of 21 units per week as a man and only 14 as a woman (coupled with the reported increased risk of breast cancer for pretty much any drinking). In real terms for men that's less than a beer a night on weekdays and three on weekend nights and for women it's a large glass of wine per night.
You know what though, despite being a chunk less than what I drink at the moment, it no longer seems unrealistic. Keeping within the limits I can still have a beer when I get home after a long day, I can still go out at weekends. I'm not a student any more and don't have crazy parties or pub-crawls every other day so I can look after my health without really changing my lifestyle. That has to be a good thing :)
For more information Bupa has a weekly units calculator to figure out your own consumption.