What’ll it be? Whether it’s vintage wine, craft beer or strong, golden liquor on the rocks, we all indulge now and then. But you can have too much of a good thing – so how can you drink less and still have a good time?
Know how much alcohol
One standard drink contains 10g of pure alcohol, but the average alcoholic beverage is usually more. Check the label on the bottle (or ask the server) to find out the amount of alcohol in your drink – is it more than a standard drink?
Know your limit
Know your limit before you start drinking, and pace yourself for the night. It’s recommended that men have no more than two standards in the first hour and one drink every hour thereafter. For women, one drink in the first hour and one drink every hour thereafter is recommended.
Keep up the water
The first drink of the night always seems to go down too easy. After practically ‘inhaling’ that first delicious beverage, the temptation to go for a second is strong. But water is vital to controlling your alcohol intake. Try this tactic: when you first arrive at the bar or restaurant, order a glass of water. Then order your first alcoholic drink and do your best to savour it and make it last. Stick to the one-drink-per-hour rule, and alternate each alcoholic drink with water, juice or soft drink.
It’s all in the glass
Drinking from a smaller glass can decrease the amount of alcohol you consume. In a recent study, participants who used wide glasses while pouring a drink, poured 11.9 per cent more alcohol than subjects using narrow ones. Also, those holding the glass as opposed to leaving it on the table resulted in a 12.2 per cent bigger serving – most likely because it is more difficult to judge how much is being poured.
When drinking beer and wine, use a glass marked with the standard-drink line if available. Avoid refilling your drink before it is finished, so that you know exactly how much you’ve had.
Drinks containing a lower amount of alcohol are a good way to cut down how much alcohol you consume. With many great-tasting choices being available, such as cider and light beer, it’s easy to do.
‘Low alcohol’ drinks are drinks that have an ‘alcoholic strength by volume’ (ABV) of 1.2 per cent or less. ‘Reduced alcohol’ drinks contain an alcohol content lower than the average strength of a certain type of drink – e.g. wine with an ABV strength of 5.5 per cent is a reduced alcohol wine, as opposed to a low alcohol wine.
Take a break
If you’re a heavy drinker and would like to reduce your consumption, you might consider cutting out alcohol completely for a period of time. A detox of the strong stuff over a few weeks can lower your alcoholic tolerance, meaning you’ll drink less when you get back to it. Afterwards, you can reintroduce alcohol using the tips in this article.
Find out more about reducing your alcohol intake at the Department of Health.
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