Long weekends often mean getting away with family and friends for a short retreat, sometimes supplemented with alcohol. With the growing market of micro-breweries and local distilleries, there are lots of new beverages to try. Plus, the vibe at these local establishments provides a great social atmosphere. But what is a safe amount of alcohol to drink?
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), low risk drinking for women is defined as no more than 3 drinks in a day or 7 drinks in a week and for men is defined as no more than 4 drinks in a day or 14 drinks in a week. Women have a higher body fat percentage and differences in the activity of enzymes that help break down alcohol compared with men. As a result, they reach higher blood alcohol levels than men with the same amount of alcohol consumption.
It can be surprising to look at how the size of a standard drink is defined. This diagram from the NIAAA denotes the fluid ounces in each drink:
Most restaurants and bars serve beer in 16oz glasses, which exceeds the standard drink size for beer. Not to mention, many craft beers are about 7-8% alcohol by volume, which is more similar to the definition of malt liquor. The recommended quantity for this is only 8-9oz.
Large wine glasses can also lead to a heavy pour. A standard bottle of wine contains 750mL, which is about 25oz. By the definition of a standard drink, there are 5 glasses of wine in a standard wine bottle.
Alcohol can also interact with many medications due to the metabolism by the liver. When starting a new medication, ask your provider about how it might be affected by alcohol consumption.
This Labor Day weekend, remember to stay safe while you’re enjoying your time with family and friends. Be sure to have a designated driver, use a rideshare, or take public transportation when planning to consume alcohol.