|What counts as "one drink"?|
All drinks are not created equal.
When you start to think about your drinking, you’ll want to start out by having a method of figuring out how many drinks you typically drink.
To do this, you’ll need to know one thing -- what makes up "one drink"? Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? You might say that one beer is one drink, or one glass of wine, or even a single shot of hard liquor. But, how big is that beer? What kind of beer is it? How high did you pour that glass of wine? How much alcohol is in that shot?
Believe it or not, there actually is a standardized way of measuring "one drink."
Defining a “Standard Drink”
In the United States, a standard drink is any drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol. To give you a practical sense about what this looks like, take a look at the following chart:
What affects the individual is the amount of actual alcohol in the drink, and not the type of drink itself. It doesn’t matter whether you drink shots of hard liquor, a bottle of beer, or “just a glass of wine” – the result is the same if you are drinking the same amount of pure alcohol. That means that drinking one glass of wine is the same as having one shot of whiskey. Each one counts as “one drink.”
The Strength of a Drink
Another complicating factor is that the alcoholic content in the same types of drinks can actually vary quite a bit.
Don't Forget About Size!
The other thing to pay attention to is the size of your drink. You might order a large glass of wine thinking that you’re getting a bargain, but the amount of alcohol in the large wine glasses can measure up to one third of a bottle!
Take a look at what the standard amount of wine looks like in two very different wine glasses:
The first glass looks to be half full; that second glass looks almost empty, though. And, they both contain the same amount of wine, and the same amount of alcohol. It would be tempting to fill that second glass up much higher, but in doing so you'll be drinking more drinks.
If you’re interested in seeing how many standard drinks are in different sized containers, take a look at NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking site.
Using the Standard Drink Measure
Now that you know what a standard drink is, you can use that to figure out how much you really drink. Check out this page to try out a couple of tools that will help you to count the number of standard drinks you've been using.
Once you have done this, you are ready to estimate your drinking pattern.Share
|Last Updated on Thursday, July 14, 2011 11:57 AM|