Definition of a Standard Drink

Drinking alcohol has both positive and negative effects on one’s health and social life. Depending on the amount and frequencyof drinking, the effects could be life-altering. Therefore, understanding what constitutes a "standard drink" is helpful for following drinking guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health. Although 1.5 oz. of liquor, 5 oz. of wine, and 12 oz. of 5% beer are different sizes, each counts as a single, standard drink.

For healthy adults, low-risk drinking is considered to be no more than the following:

  • For men, 14 drinks per week (with no more than four drinks in one day)
  • For women, 7 drinks per week (with no more than three drinks in one day)

Negative effects could occur while drinking within these limits if one drinks too quickly, has health problems or is over age 65.

Drinking over these amounts is considered "at-risk" drinking and may lead to accidents, cancer, heart disease, stroke or other diseases. In order to keep yourself and those around you safe, know your limits and risk factors.

Download a pdf of our feature that ran in the Post & Courier

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