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Women and alcohol

Be in the know about alcohol limits


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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Did you know that alcohol affects men and women differently?  It's not sexist, it's fact. One reason is that women have more body fat and less water than men. This means that alcohol is less diluted in women's bodies. Also, women's livers take longer to break down alcohol than men's, so women may get drunk faster.

Even if you're the same weight as an average man, your body will still take longer to breakdown alcohol. So, it's important that women don't try to keep up with the rate men drink at.

  • Low risk drinking recommendations are measured in alcohol standard drinks. A pint is two standard drinks and a pub measure of spirits is 1.1 standard drinks. A glass of wine or beer is one standard drink. 
  • Men shouldn't drink more than 17 standard drinks a week and women shouldn't drink more than 11 standard drinks. Your drinking should be spread over the week. It's not healthy to drink all your standard drinks in one night!
  • Men should drink less than six standard drinks at any one time and women should drink less than four standard drinks at one time. Drinking three or more standard drinks a day puts women at risk.
  • So, health wise that means men shouldn't drink more than three pints on a night out and women should only drink two pints. If this sounds like very little, then you normally drink too much.
  • If you can drink large amounts without getting drunk it doesn't mean it's okay. You've developed a tolerance for alcohol by drinking a lot and this means that you're regularly drinking more than the low risk limit.
  • Drinking a lot over the years damages our bodies. It can affect a woman's ability to absorb vitamins and can lead to internal organ damage.
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Published February 26th, 2013
Last updated October 27th, 2015
Tags drink alcohol women's health
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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