Elderly couple and woman

Drinking alcohol is part of our national culture and so it's easy for us to feel that we know all about it – but how much of what we know is based on fact and how much is just a myth? Although a couple of drinks might not harm your body, too much drink can have serious consequences – on your health, relationships and career.

How much is too much ?

Alcohol is normally measured in units, where half a pint of lager roughly equals one unit. As drinks vary in strength and size, different drinks contain different number of units.

Men can safely drink 3 to 4 units a day, but not more than 21 units a week.
Women can drink 2 to 3 units a day, but shouldn’t take more than 14 units in a week.
Don’t forget! If you’re pregnant or about to drive, it’s best not to drink at all.

How many units are in your favourite drink ? Use the Drinks Checker to find out how much you drink


Calories in Alcohol

Did you know that a glass of wine can have the same calories as four cookies? How about a pint of lager – surprised to hear it’s often the calorific equivalent of a slice of pizza?

Calories from acohol are empty calories, they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of vitamins and minerals but not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to our diet.

Check out how many calories are in your favourite drink


Short-term effects

*Hangovers  *Sexual difficulties like impotence  *Slowed breathing and heartbeat

*Loss of consciousness *Increased risk of accident and injury


Regular over-drinking

Most people who suffer from health problems because of their drinking are not alcoholics, but rather are those who drink heavily over a number of years. Many suffer few immediate consequences of their drinking, but cumulatively it takes its toll. 6,000 deaths from coronary heart disease in men each year are directly due to alcohol..

In Wales, alcohol misuse leads to some 1600 hospital admissions each year for alcohol-related liver disease.

Regularly drinking more than the recommended number of units over a long period can lead to complications like:

 *Certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer  *Memory loss, brain damage or even dementia

 *Increased risk of heart disease and stroke  *Liver disease, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer

 *Stomach damage  *Potentially fatal alcohol poisoning


Read more : Don't let drink sneak up on you


Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant ?

Drinking alcohol during you pregnancy could result in exposing your unborn baby to harm. To protect your baby as much as possible, try to stop drinking altogether, or, cut down as much as you can. Any reduction you can make will reduce the risks to your baby's health.

If you do need to drink alcohol every day, please speak to health professional such as your midwife before you stop. Alcohol is a harmful substance which crosses freely across the placenta to your unborn baby into the baby's bloodstream and can interfere with how the baby grows and develops.

Drinking during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, heart defects, still birth, learning and behaviour problems. The most severe condition linked to alcohol and pregnancy is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

If no alcohol at all is consumed during your pregnancy then there would be no alcohol-related risk to yourself or your unborn baby. Recommended guidelines do not apply during pregnancy, please remember NO ALCOHOL = NO RISK.

View the video


Are you worried about some ones drinking habits ? Contact GDAS (Gwent Drug and Alochol Service ) on tel : 08339 993 577 for free, confidential advice and information. Leaflet