About Moderation

Socialising over a good whiskey or cocktail is an enjoyable pastime enjoyed by millions around the world. But, as with all enjoyable things, moderation is important.

Drink moderately and responsibly to avoid negative impacts on your health and the health and wellbeing of others. Crucially – don’t drink and drive.

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What is moderate drinking?

The US federal government Dietary Guidelines defines moderate drinking as consuming up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

The Dietary Guidelines define a drink as 1.5 fluid ounces (45ml) of 80-proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol) such as rum, vodka, gin and whiskey; 12 fluid ounces (around 350ml) of regular beer (5% alcohol); or 5 fluid ounces (around 150ml) of wine (12% alcohol).

Why are the guidelines different for men and women?

In addition to an average body weight difference between men and women, women also have less water in their bodies. Therefore, if a woman and a man of the same size and weight consume the same amount of alcohol, the woman will reach a higher concentration of alcohol in her blood.

Who should not drink?

Alcohol abuse can cause serious health and other problems. Even drinking in moderation may pose health risks for some people, and some people should not drink at all.

According to the Dietary Guidelines, there are circumstances in which people should not drink alcohol at all. This includes:

  • People who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels
  • Anyone younger than the legal drinking age
  • Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant
  • People taking medications that could interact with alcohol
  • People planning to drive, operate machinery or take part in any activities that require attention, skill or coordination, or in situations where impaired judgment could cause injury or death.


Visit DrinkInModeration.org for information on alcohol and health.

For more information on the Dietary Guidelines, please visit www.health.gov/DietaryGuidelines

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