Have you ever ordered a glass of wine, beer or a shot of liquor and when it arrived, thought, “that’s it?” The likely reason is because most restaurants measure their drinks, but when we pour our own drinks, we often overestimate what a standard drink size actually is.
In the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment clinic, we have a “Pour Me a Drink” kit that we use to help people accurately measure their own drinks. Initially, almost every person who participates in this activity pours more than the standard measurement.
In Germany, drinks are measured in liter portions, so a half liter of beer is actually 16.9 ounces while a standard beer is measured at 12 ounces. All drinks are not created equal, but thankfully there is an equation you can use to determine how many standard drinks you consume.
To calculate drink equivalents, multiply the volume in ounces by the alcohol content in the percentage and divide by 0.6 ounces of alcohol per drink. For example, the drink equivalent for 16 fluid ounces of beer at 6 percent alcohol is calculated by multiplying 16 by 0.06 and dividing that 0.6, which results in 1.6 standard drinks.
Moderate alcohol use is defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as up to one standard-size drink per day for women and up to two standard-size drinks per day for men and only by adults of legal age.
To ensure that you stay within or below these parameters, it is important that you are aware of what a standard drink size is and what it looks like. Some wine and beer glasses come with an etched line that shows you where to stop pouring in order to stay within these limits.
You can also measure your drinks by using a Solo Cup. The measurements are not exact but the cup gives you a general idea of where to stop pouring.
In comparison to low or moderate alcohol consumption, high-risk drinking involves four or more drinks a day or eight or more drinks per week for women and five or more drinks a day or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
Excessive drinking increases the risk of many chronic diseases and violence. Individuals should not consume any alcohol if they are or may become pregnant, taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medications, or those who are recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.
Additionally, mixing alcohol and caffeine is not recommended because it often leads to drinking more alcohol, becoming more intoxicated than you realize and increasing the risk of alcohol-related adverse events.
The benefits of moderate versus extreme alcohol use are vast, including better health and reduced risky behaviors.
The choice of whether or not to drink is yours. Many people in the military choose to drink in moderation or do not drink at all. For example, a survey collected with 30,000 service members found that members under 25 tend to use moderation and make good decisions concerning alcohol use. If you decide to drink responsibly that means:
• Never drinking and driving. Drinking alcohol can lead to poor judgment. People will sometimes decide to drive after having a couple drinks and then get arrested with a blood alcohol content of 0.06 because they feel buzzed but not drunk.
• Having a safe transportation plan and never getting in a car with a drunk driver.
• Having multiple backup plans in case your initial plan fails.
• Eating before you drink.
• Alternating alcoholic beverages with water or soda.
• Identifying the number of drinks you will have in advance and stopping at that point.
• Knowing the early signs of being intoxicated — mild speech, memory, attention, coordination or balance impairments — and stop drinking when you feel any of them.
• Being supportive of your friends who choose not to drink.
If you are having any difficulties drinking alcohol in a healthy, responsible way, call at 479-2390 or 06371462390 for help.