The recommended alcohol limits from the Department of Health are no more than 14 units for both men and women, and it’s advised that we have two to three consecutive days off alcohol every week.
With recent reports that women are drinking every bit as much as men – and some studies say younger women are even out-drinking men – we’ve got some tips to help you cut down.
1. Think outside the wine bar: instead of automatically arranging to meet friends there after work, schedule in a film, a pilates class or do the continental thing and head for the coffee shop.
2. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water, to slow you down and prevent dehydration.
3. Find an alcohol-free drink you actually like. Try these Healthy Food Guide mocktails.
4. Know how much you’re drinking. That means counting units, not drinks (one drink does not necessarily equal one unit). Half a bottle of white wine with a 13% ABV has almost five units and 341kcal. Do this every day and that’s almost 35 units in a week. Check the units in popular drinks here.
5. Keep a booze diary for a month – most people are surprised at how quickly the units tot up. You can also create your own drinks diary at drinkaware.co.uk.
6. Don’t top up your glass before it’s empty, so you can gauge the amount you’re having.
7. Opt out of all cocktails and punches. It’s hard to tell how much alcohol is in them.
8. Don’t be coerced into drinking to please others. Tell little white lies if you need to.
9. Drink from your non-dominant hand. It will seem a little uncomfortable, so it will make you more aware of how much you’re drinking.
10. Download the British Liver Trust’s free Spruce app (spruceapp.co.uk) for help with goals and alcohol-free days.
Concerned about your liver health?
Ask your GP to refer you for a liver function test (LFT). This is a simple blood test to determine whether you have an increase in enzymes that may indicate problems with your liver. For more information on alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), including symptoms and diagnosis, go to nhs.uk.